Racing pundit Tony McCormick from www.irishbigracetrends.com beforetheoff.com and racing radio station racingfm.com looks back on last weekend’s action and forward to the Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday.
Supplemented at a cost of £50,000, Simple Verse was aiming to become the first filly to beat the boys in the Classic since User Friendly in 1992. In unprecedented scene’s following the race, the ‘winner’ cloth was draped over the filly and quickly put to one-side by trainer Ralph Beckett, as it was announced that the stewards would be looking in to the race.
The filly had crossed the line a head in front of the Aiden O’Brien charge Bondi Beach. Colm O’Donoghue and Andrea Atzeni both presented their case with aplomb in the stewards’ room, their arguments were played out to a watching audience live on Channel 4 which made it not-to-be-missed TV. The stewards listened, watched replay after replay of the two incidents and to the disbelief and displeasure of a fair number of racegoers and a large number of my colleagues, clearly talking through their pockets, the placing’s were reversed.
There was more controversy later in the afternoon over in Ireland as Golden Horn won the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes after a dramatic race at Leopardstown. Frankie Dettori’s mount set out to make all, but he veered right 150 meters from the finish, obstructing Free Eagle. Golden Horn, who was still hanging to his right at the finish line, finished a length in front of Found, with Free Eagle close behind in third, unable to recover from the knock. A stewards’ enquiry was called soon after the race, but it only took a short amount of time before it was confirmed that the places would remain unchanged.
Tragedy struck on Sunday in the Irish St Leger, as Michael Owen’s brilliant Brown Panther broke two bones in a hind leg and had to be put down. The seven-year-old, was a wonderful warrior for his owner, earning over £1million in win and place prize-money. This was expected to be his last season racing before taking up stud duties.
I hear Don’t Touch is in tip-top condition as he prepares to put his unbeaten record on the line in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup at the Western meeting on Saturday. The Richard Fahey-trained gelding bids to become the first three-year-old to land the prestigious sprint handicap since Funfair Wane in 2002, yet only made his racecourse debut in May.
I was particularly impressed with his win in the Great St Wilfred Handicap at Ripon last month and he is reported to have being thriving since. Saying that, the last eight winners were, aged between four and six, drawn seven or higher and had an official rating of between 97 and 109, while the last eight winners either won their last race or were beaten no more than 10 lengths last time out.