14 NAPS OUT OF 16 IN THE FIRST TWO: Workforce swerved away Daqman’s nap yesterday but nevertheless made it a fabulous 14 out of the last 16 in the first two. Daqman’s sequence is: 1201121111011122.
100-30 WINNER SAVES THE DAY: His tip for Club Oceanic (WON 100-30) saved most of the bacon, before Daqman gave the one-two in his short-list for the big handicap (the 16-1 winner, Bronze Prince, was 29.0 on Betdaq) but chose to nominate runner-up The Confessor (2nd 10-1). It was that kind of day.
Racing failed itself again – and again – yesterday. First the feeble trying to make a big occasion bigger. Press and television wheeled out its celebs, demanding to know from each if this was a truly great King George. The response seemed more suitable for: ‘Did you like your mother’s karaoke?’ It was yesterday’s cold toast and tea.
Then tragedy. And, as ever, hushed tones, a bit of King George V1 stammering, and the usual platitudes, which boiled down to a banale ‘that was a tragedy’. It’s ‘an awful thing’; a thing which is awful, I tell you, as if you didn’t know.
In the absence of nous by Press or racing authority, as the crowd fell so subdued they couldn’t even cheer the winner, and TV audiences turned to the Norway massacre for the remoteness of it, John Gosden took charge.
In a statesmanlike address, he explained what had happened to Rewilding, why it happens and that the horse felt no pain. It was delivered with aplomb but with an emotional charge and, no doubt unconsciously, reproof.
Reproof for an invisible racing authority, reproof for all the silly telly jingles and chummy chatter that is hushed to the dumb blush of the schoolboy when found out for lack of response when put to the question, reproof that, quite by chance, he had to step forward because ignorance abounds.
Passion. Sensibility for the sport. It’s all there underneath, as Gosden revealed. Only when it is properly projected, whether to laud the occasion, or lament a tragedy, will racing be regarded as a spectacle to be admired, and a humane one.
2.15 Ascot: Not a winning favourite in sight, going back into the last century, though not big SPs either. Haggas, Hannon, Stoute, Hills, all the usual suspects, have won this.
Breeding for speed and cut in the ground suggests that Blue Tiger or Zumbi might win it. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
2.50 Ascot: They raced down the centre all day yesterday but will that part of the track be so cut up that the jockeys pick another path today?
John Hills bagged a decent handicap with Rave and his runner here, Remotelinx, who has been hanging on a firm surface, might do better with cut. Apollo d’Negro finished in front of him in the Spring but his level seems to be class-5.
Blanche Dubawi (holds Camache Queen and Clara Zetkin) has been thereabouts in today’s grade, and Ryan Moore takes over.
Foxtrot Hotel quickened well at Newbury but that was on firm ground, and his sire’s entire progeny has won only three races on soft, so connections will be hoping the ground dries out. Da Ponte has proved that soft suits and the visors might – I said might – give him an edge: 11.0 each way.
3.25 Ascot: Some glass horses are attempting big weight-carrying performances here: of the pair, Burj Nahar is said to be Group class but is living on potential whereas Nehaam has missed Listed and Group-3 success by else than a length each time.
Gosden is needing a second go to kick start the gelding’s season but then his first attempt was in a Group 2 and the stable wasn’t firing like yesterday’s sensational big handicap and King George double.
Warlu ay and Kiama Bay have to take two steps up in grade, while Chock A Block and Prompter have to bounce back, and Aurorian is a bridesmaid. Star In Flight suddenly came good last time but he won his race in a slow time.
Just a pound on Nehaam at 20.0. Something was obviously amiss when he ran in May and it’s not a case, as the Racing Post Spotlight suggests of him ‘coming on for the run’ – that’s 59 days old! – but a case of whether he can start again.
4.00 Ascot: The runners-up have franked the form of the races won by Gatewood and Val O’Hara. Like Groomed, they could go forward after their recent wins, whereas Ivan Vasilevich may have had his fling and paid the penalty in the handicap.
Swindy, winner of a heavy-ground maiden, probably needs more rain but the ground seems right for Grumeti, with Jamie Spencer in top gear this week, though the form of Grumeti’s wins is nothing to write home about. Gatewood is probably good enough.
5.10 Ascot: Not many of these have won at this level and, at 9.9 this morning, Sohraab has a decent chance at the weights of turning around Ascot CD placings with Medicean Man. Duchess Dora, Lost In Paris and Medicean Man are high in the weights now.
BET 2pts win and place DA PONTE (2.50 Ascot)
BET 1pt win and place NEHAAM (3.25 Ascot)
BET 11pts win (nap) GATEWOOD (4.00 Ascot)
BET 1.3pts win and place STEVIE GEE (4.25 Pontefract)
BET 2.2pts win and place SOHRAAB (5.10 Ascot)