MRC Chairman Mike Symons blogs from Royal Ascot. Stay tuned for more updates!
Gold Cup Day was undoubtedly Frankie's day, with a masterful ride from one of the best jockeys of his generation. Fine stayers Colour Vision and Opinion poll secured a 1-2 for Godolphin in the Group 1 Gold Cup run over 4000m in very testing conditions. Not known for his winning strike rate in Australia, Frankie had Colour Vision perfectly placed for the entire trip, and whilst others had great difficulty settling their mounts in what was a dawdling run race (most notably Saddlers Rock and the odds on favourite Fame and Glory), Frankie had his mount perfectly poised and relaxed. It seems odd to me that some races in England have pacemakers to ensure a genuine tempo and hence enhance the chances of those favoured to win, yet in the Gold Cup there was no pacemaker, despite the favourite (who races in the same ownership as So You Think) obviously needing a genuine tempo to settle. For those who took the tomato sauce about Fame and Glory, their tickets were worth 5c in the dollar with 1000m to run.
Post race saw a few anxious moments as the stewards contemplated reversing the placings due to some interference caused by the winner to Opinion Poll, ridden by Godolphin's recently appointed and ultimate successor to Frankie, the immensely talented and extroverted Mickael Barzalona. Based on the distinct lack of evidence provided by Barzalona, the odds of the placings being reversed were 100/1 and drifting rapidly. Godolphin had obviously decided that this was Frankie's day and nothing was going to alter his enjoyment of another Group 1 victory at Royal Ascot.
The day concluded with dinner - thanks to our friends at Betfair Australia - at Frankie's restaurant in London. "Sette" (which means 7 in Italian) was named after Frankie's amazing feat when he rode all 7 winners on the card at Ascot approximately 16 years, much to the dismay of the high street bookmakers who still have nightmares about the liabilities they incurred on this memorable day. The food was awesome and the night very enjoyable, catching up with numerous Aussie racing colleagues here in London.
All eyes continue to focus on the sky, with the weather not much better than Melbourne at present as the rain continues to fall. The track was a genuine Slow on day 3 and more rain is forecasted before Black Caviar strutts her stuff of Saturday. Fortunately, the mighty mare has drawn barrier 15 of 15 over the straight 1200m, and as the ground seems to be superior on the stand side where Black Caviar is drawn, she could not have wished for a better marble. The build up to her race has been phenomenal and I am sure plenty of Poms are quietly hoping she gets rolled, but on facts and figures she has lengths up her sleeve. Hopefully Luke slips her some more rein, she wins by 7 and reignites the debate as to who is the best racehorse in the world. Not that it really matters; all those at Ascot this week have been privileged to witness the most devastating win in a group 1 in a long long time when Frankel demolished his opposition on day 1. Personally, I could not say with any confidence that Black Caviar, regardless of what she does tomorrow, would be competitive with Frankel over 1400-1600 metres.
For the record, Her Majesty rocked up in a lime green hat, and the mail on course is that Kate and Will are starters for Saturday.