Courtesy of Becky Johnston
South Central opens double for America
The Group 2 Norfolk Stakes was the first race on the card of day three at Royal Ascot. The son of Forest Camp out of the Forty Niner mare, Brittan Lee, won his first start at Carlisle by a double-digit margin. Today, he squeaked out a win over the Irish-bred Spin Cycle while English bred Prolific and Flashmans Papers were third and fourth. It sounds foolish to say that the next three looked better than the winner, but that could prove to be the case when the distances become more taxing than the five furlongs traveled today. However, on this day the proud connections, Transcend Bloodstock, trainer Howard Johnson and jockey Robert Winston have the all important royal win while the others will wait for another day.
Early odds for the 2000 Guineas 2009
South Central 30-1
Spin Cycle 30-1
Flashmans Papers 55-1
All-American Gal takes Group 2 Ribblesdale
American owned Michita made good for her Texas based owners Bob and Janice McNair and their Stonerside Farm. The regally bred daughter of Dynaformer out of the Storm Cat mare, Thunder Kitten, loved the firm going, the 12 furlongs and the competition in a below par group for this edition. Take nothing away from Michita as she dispensed with this group in fine fettle.
The winner is the granddaughter of the multiple U.S. grade 1 winner Nastique.
The race had more blueblood, including Changing Skies, the full sister to the recent $10.5 million broodmare purchase Playful Act (Sadler's Wells-Magnificent Style by Silver Hawk). She finished a well-beaten sixth in the nine-horse field.
Andrew Rosen's familiar pink and green silks were carried by tough luck Icon Project (Empire Maker-La Gueriere by Lord at War) who checked in fourth after repeated trouble. The silks are familiar to American racing fans as they were carried by the 1984 two-year old champion Chief's Crown for Andrew's father, Carl Rosen.
Michita was ridden by Johnny Fortune and trained by John Gosden. Gosden spent the late 70's and early 80's in the United States, where he trained champions Bates Motel and Royal Heroine.
Arthur's Girl was second and Hobby was third in the Ribblesdale.
Yeats repeat is a kick!
The champion stayer Yeats won his third consecutive Group 1 Gold Cup today. The seven-year old horse certainly had some detractors which made his supporters happy with a better payoff. Many thought Juddmonte's undefeated, four-year old French import Coastal Path might dethrone the elder Yeats. As the two hooked up on the turn for home in front of the Ladies' Day Crowd, it looked like a toss-up. Then, last year's runner-up, the gray Geordieland (Fr), who was drafting behind the top pair swung out and made the battle a three wide fray with Yeats in the middle.
When it looked as though both of Yeats' challengers might get the better of him, the near black champion pinned his ears and bore down for jockey Johnny Murtagh and drew away to a thunderous ovation. Geordieland was second while Coastal Path checked in third.
All three runners are descendents of the newly retired bloodstock phenom Sadler's Wells. Yeats is a direct descendent, Geordieland through his grandsire and Coastal Path through his broodmare sire.
The real ‘kicker' was on the cool down gallop. Godolphin's Regal Flush made the mistake of coming up the rail inside of an obviously enthusiastic winner. Yeats picked up both hind limbs and broadsided the four-year-old son of Sakhee, making jockey Frankie Dettori shift in the saddle.
The rivalry between arguably the two most powerful racing operations in the world Coolmore and Godolphin is well known. The fact that Godolphin has not had the kind of success that the Irish group has enjoyed over the last couple of years at Ascot was highlighted when Yeats attempted to put his stamp on the Dubai owned colt. No word if the Godolphin color bearer suffered any injury from the sucker punch.
Yeats is owned by Mrs. John Magnier and Mrs. David Nagle which made for a perfect Ladies' Day Celebration. Aidan O'Brien conditions the son of the Top Ville mare Lyndonville.
Day Four (Friday)
Group one Coronation Stakes (Three year old fillies 1m)
Group three Albany Stakes (Two year olds 6f)
Group three King Edward VII Stakes (Three year olds 12f)
Group three Queen's Vase (Three year olds 2m)