‘Never bet two-year-olds seriously until after Royal Ascot’ was advice proffered in this column several years ago, after events at the weekend I’m likely to exercise even more patience this year; in the last week or so juvenile form just hasn’t made sense and I’m still bleating on about how cold it’s become and indeed how backward so man thoroughbreds seem to be in this first week of June.
Only last Thursday an excellent weather forecast missive was delivered by an experienced BBC weatherman Nick Miller and he left me in no doubt a prevailing jetstream is affecting temperatures; ‘not a time to visit English coasts for sunbathing purposes’ he insisted.
I’m not a ‘climate change’ geek by any means and accept meteorology is all part and parcel of experience; ‘here and now’ is what I’m concerned with and I’ll be particularly circumspect until ‘the feel’ comes back. ‘Never force the issue’ is another piece of good advice and I certainly don’t.
This column is being written on the back of yet another ruined major fixture, for punters!
Epsom, though obviously dramatic, was a disgrace and following dreaded watering and heavy rains Friday the course rode soft and inconsistent; jockeys didn’t have a clue where to go; Pyledriver, magnificently ridden by veteran jockey, Martin Dwyer, won by sticking to the far rail and Frankie Dettori chanced his arm on Aidan O’Brien-trained Snowfall in the Epsom Oaks by tracking the pack which came standside, winning by SIXTEEN LENGTHS.
Ryan Moore was aboard Snowfall when she won the ‘Musidora’ at York last month but he preferred to ride stable-companion, heavily-backed favourite, Santa Barbara, fifth beaten twenty-two lengths; someone rang me immediately afterwards and blurted out, ‘what a judge Moore is, he must feel a right prat!’
This chap speaks his mind and millions of others must have thought similarly but the clerk of the course must take the blame for a debacle played out universally; he issued a ground report of ‘good to firm’ but quickly changed it to ‘good to soft’ which should have been ‘soft’ given the going allowances for the aforementioned group one races were more than six seconds above average!
In these days of rapidly-declining standards this represented a ‘howler’ of huge proportions and the ‘clerk’ should be sacked or face a stern disciplinary warning from the BHA to which Epsom’s management team is responsible.
‘Good to soft’ is forecast for Goodwood today and it rode similarly last month when 81-rated Tiger Beetle achieved a ‘career-best’ over a similar distance around Nottingham; hopefully Sir Michael Stoute’s charge will his ‘break his duck’ in the Maiden Stakes over ten furlongs; don’t oppose.
Selections, Perth, 2.00 Will Carver; 5.25 Master Of The Malt (e.w); 4.40 Tiger Beetle.
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019