Royal Ascot certainly delivered some smart performances in the six juvenile races.
I’ve ranked each race plus flagged up any beaten horses that it may pay to follow.
Dramatised produced the standout performance of the week. I loved how professionally she raced and, clearly, she had improved in that department from her debut at Newmarket when hanging at the finish.
Danny Tudhope kept things simple and had her to the head of the field before striking for home just over a furlong out. She quickly took a few lengths out of the opposition and, despite Tudhope dropping his stick, she stayed on well, impressing with her laser-like straightness.
Connections said afterwards that she has a touch of the diva about her and that her dam was also not the most straightforward. Provided they can keep a lid on these tendencies – they’ve done a fine job so far – then she surely has the ability to bag a Group One.
The Lowther at York and the Prix Morny were the races nominated by trainer, Karl Burke, in the immediate aftermath but they have not discounted going for the Nunthorpe, where she’d get a huge weight allowance.
Miami Girl ran well to finish fifth and showed that her previous lacklustre eighth at York was not her true form. She lacked the explosive gear change of the winner but kept on well to the line. She has stamina on the dam’s side of the pedigree and can improve again if stepped up to six furlongs.
After his facile, nine-length winning debut at York, I posed the question as to whether Bradsell was as good as he looked given that many trainers and bloodstock agents had passed him over at the breeze-ups sales, where he was sold for £47,000. At Ascot he showed that he was every bit as good as he looked and it’s clear connections have a bargain buy on their hands.
He was drawn wide, on the perceived “wrong side” of the track, and got bumped leaving the stalls. Yet despite all this he travelled powerfully before a big move from his jockey, Hollie Doyle, fully two furlongs out saw him shoot clear.
It’s a long way home at Ascot for juveniles but he stayed on well and never looked like being caught. He also galloped a long way past the stands before pulling up.
The form has a strong look to it with Persian Force, Royal Scotsman and Blackbeard filling the placings.
His trainer, Archie Watson, suggested the Prix Morny or the Phoenix Stakes would be Bradsell’s next target. The son of Tasleet has a glorious mix of speed and stamina and should be feared wherever he runs.
It will be interesting to see if connections are tempted by seven furlongs later in the season, with the Dewhurst a real possibility.
Royal Scotsman caught the eye in third. Paul and Oliver Cole’s colt ran with the choke out in the early stages and failed to see out the trip as well as the few who finished in front. When ridden with more cover, he can improve on this effort, although it’s hard to fathom a scenario where he can reverse the form with the winner.
The most talked about two-year-old race of the week, although for all the wrong reasons.
The failure of winning jockey, Paul Hanagan, to keep The Ridler straight in the closing stages – hampering several rivals and resulting in a ten-day ban - left a sour taste. Sadly, it has also somewhat diminished the performance of his colt, who I’m sure was the best horse in the contest.
The Ridler broke well, travelled smoothly on the far side and picked up smartly when asked. He showed superior acceleration to move clear of his rivals before hanging violently to his left, away from Hanagan’s stick. As a consequence, The Ridler ran further than necessary and this, coupled with how easily he moved to the front a furlong out, convinces me he was a deserving winner.
Connections say they will now work backwards from the Breeders’ Cup. The stiff 5f at Ascot clearly suited him well but 6f on a flat track is surely worth a try. The Gimcrack at York looks like an obvious choice.
Crispy Cat and Brave Nation, who eventually finished third and fourth, were the two most inconvenienced by The Ridler’s wayward path home. I find it hard to believe either would have beaten him but both stuck to their tasks. They are capable of gaining compensation, of sorts, later in the season.
Meditate made fairly easy work of winning this. She travelled sweetly at the head of affairs and, as she had in previous races, relaxed beautifully
She didn’t show explosive acceleration but Ryan Moore wound the pace up gradually on her, easing clear and staying on strongly to the line in the manner of a filly that will stay further in time.
Aidan O’Brien also has Statuette waiting in the wings back at Ballydoyle and I’m sure he’ll be keen to keep them apart for as long as possible.
Meditate sets the standard and it’s going to take a good filly to finish in front of her over six furlongs.
I was disappointed with runner-up Mawj, who appeared unable to hold her position in the middle part of the race. She stayed on strongly to the line, but so did the winner, and I don’t believe an extra furlong would change the result.
I hope she’s better than this as her debut win at Newmarket enthralled me. I won’t give up on her just yet.
Aidan O'Brien scoops the leading trainer award at #RoyalAscot for the 11th time! 👏— Racing TV (@RacingTV) June 18, 2022
The master of @Ballydoyle trained five winners this week - Little Big Bear, Kyprios, Meditate, Changingoftheguard and Broome 🏆 pic.twitter.com/p8sU0vMQ8U
My initial thought is that this was a weak enough contest. That said, the winner, Little Big Bear, is undoubtedly going to stay further than this, given that his dam, Adventure Seeker, was a dual winner at ten furlongs.
That he was able to win here over 5f is testimony to his inherent ability but also suggests there wasn’t a 5f Group-level performer in the field.
I’m sure he’ll now be stepped up in trip and it’s likely that will see him take his form to another level. The Phoenix Stakes would look a logical next step.
Chateau, who finished fourth, remains on my radar. He lacked the speed of the winner but did some good late work. He can improve when faced with an extra furlong.
You’ve got to be in it to win it. Holloway Boy certainly rewarded an enterprising piece of placement by Karl Burke, who admitted he only made the entry to secure his owners some tickets!
Holloway Boy showed a good attitude for a debutant and settled nicely at the rear of the field before swooping with a powerful late run to get up close home.
It’s clear that he has a good level of ability but, given his win was such a surprise to his connections, I’m not sure the bare form amounts to much. I’ll be watching him, rather than backing him on his next start.
Pearling Path, caught close home, ran a great race in defeat. He showed a good turn of foot to move to the front but then exhibited signs of greenness and drifted, which ultimately cost him. A more patient ride from David Egan would have likely seen a different result. I’d fancy him to reverse the form with the winner if they were to meet again.
Alfred Munnings, the hot favourite, was hugely disappointing. He travelled a little too well in the early stages but found nothing off the bridle. This was in stark contrast to his impressive debut win at Leopardstown. I would recommend overlooking his Chesham run and persisting with him a little longer.Add an unlimited number of horses into your Racing TV Tracker and never miss a winner again! Click here for more details.
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