Tanya's Blog - June 2015
Flaming June, or so it’s meant to be. For racing it is packed full of fun from the Investec Oaks and Derby to the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate, with Royal Ascot pleasingly placed in the from the 16th to 20th. I’m in the privileged position to be in attendance for each and every one of the aforementioned and I can’t wait.
Indeed during the last Saturday in May I was organising my outfits and hats for Epsom and Ascot, as well as starting to collate the stats for Derby weekend. Earlier in the week I had attended Breakfast with the Stars at Epsom, the course is my local, somewhat of a home win, so getting a sighter before the big weekend was a no brainer and there was the added bonus of viewing some major protagonists for the fillies and colts Classic, plus trying to pick up on the body language of the connections once their respective equine charges had completed their gallops.
I wonder in the near future whether Epsom would be good enough to open up the morning to Racegoers Club members or indeed anyone who wished to attend. Invaluable insight and immense goodwill would be created plus much could be learnt with an ideal appreciation for the undulations and gradients of this purely unique course.
On the eve of the Oaks I’m going to take the opportunity to go to Ascot to watch California Chrome work on the course ahead of his big engagement, what a treat. He is currently in redisidence with Newmarket trainer Rae Guest, where the Racegoers Club is fortunate enough to have a vist arranged on Friday 12th June on the cusp of Royal Ascot. California Chrome is just one of an array of stars on show across five days of the highest calibre racing full of prestige.
I’m sure some of you are like me when these big meetings are on the horizon you sit back and have a quiet nostalgic moment. Fast forward to the present, Ascot and Nick Smith must be recipients of massive praise for the global stars they have acquired to grace the Ascot turf this year. Able Friend, Wandjina, Undrafted, Brazen Beau, Hootenanny, possibly Cirrus Des Aigles, along with California Chrome to name a few. Should be called ‘Racing’s Got Talent’.
Appreciating the enormity of the aforementioned and the draw they all are, for me it is the French filly Ervedya that I am looking forward to more than anything else. Obviously the ground has to be suitable as she is best when there is cut, but she has run on good. When I watched her win the Prix Imprudence at Maisons-Laffitte in April I availed myself of the 14-1 for her to win the Qipco 1000 Guineas. Ok there was somewhat an air of resignation that my money was lost, so it was no surprise to see her go to the French equivalent instead. At least it provided the opportunity to get my money back. She prevailed with an incredibly potent finishing kick and one which could have Coronation Stakes rivals quaking. I’ll have to wait to Friday for her and there are plenty of goodies before then.
Obviously Aidan O’Brien will have a plethora of talented two-year-olds just waiting to earn a quote for next year’s Classics, but three youngsters that I can’t wait to see strut their stuff are Log Out Island, King Of Rooks and Kurland. The first two are trained by Richard Hannon, Log Out Island was simply devastating on his racecourse debut at Ascot, despite playing up badly in the preliminaries it wasn’t to the detriment to his chances. He made all and pulled further clear, speed personified.
King Of Rooks met with defeat on his racecourse debut at Ascot, he was then dominant at Newbury, before exacting revenge on his Ascot conqueror, Steady Pace, in Sandown’s National Stakes in some style.
Indulge me with Kurland, she cross my radar when sitting down to enjoy Newmarket’s Craven Meeting back in April. A beautiful grey filly she won her maiden very easily a race that has in the past thrown up Royal Ascot winners and judging on her performance she can maintain the record. Look out for her in the Queen Mary.
All the fun starts on Tuesday 16th, straight in with Solow v Able Friend v Night Of Thunder in the Queen Anne although Cable Bay may be value each-way after his recent Haydock win.
Then it is time to let my heart rule my head. I feel I’m a huge cheerleader for trainer Edward Lynam. 12 months ago I suggested backing him for top trainer at the meeting and he won with three of his four runners. His Sole Power will bid to win his third straight King’s Stand Stakes. In his stunning seven year career he has won at least once every year, collating five Group 1s his first back in 2010 when landing the Nunthorpe at 100-1, if only we knew then what we know now.
The heartstrings are tugged with more intensity because of the come from behind, cheeky style of his victories and his owners, rails bookmakers, recognise that he has become part of all of us and are grateful for the support. Fingers crossed for what would be an emotional hat-trick and if he does oblige he should be the poster boy for sprinting.
Deep breath as then come the St James’s Palace teeing up dual 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles, could he be usurped by Sir Isaac Newton his own stable companion or can Territories exact revenge? Not a question I fancy working out at this stage.
Wednesday and there is Al Kazeem who I’d love to win the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, while Euro Charline will be the pick in the Duke Of Cambridge after her fourth in Dubai, and then there is the Royal Hunt Cup a mile of pure exhilaration could it be Speculative Bid foiling Mondaliste or vice versa?
Thursday’s Gold Cup and there are plenty queuing up to take the crown of top stayer, obvious selection Forgotten Rules, yet Mizzou, Vent De Force and Brown Panther would have something to say about that. The horse I like is Clever Cookie, still to receive the recognition he deserves especially as this season he has developed into an accomplished individual and has an abundance of charisma, surely there is more improvement to come?
Friday sees the inaugural running of the Commonwealth Cup which could see Limato lining up against Hootenanny, Adaay and Tiggy Wiggy, a race to savour, stopwatches at the ready.
Saturday and it is hard to see anything preventing Telescope claiming his second Hardwicke Stakes, while Mustajeeb may well add the Diamond Jubilee to his 2014 Jersey Stakes, at this point I’m leaning between Telmeyd and Watchable in the Wokingham.
Racecourse Press Rooms are to be my home for the next month at least on a daily basis, and those within them are going to be very important companions and a source of written and word energy. The banter of my colleagues is so important as I feed off their cheek and support. To give you an insight on days there are Morning Lines I tend to arrive at the course and into the press room just before 7am, laden down with all the newspapers, a massive backpack of all things that may be needed but never used, such as stationary, tissues, clipboards, wipes, plasters, hair clips, chargers, spare this, spare that, plus all the reams of stats.
The press room family is a closely knit one, with many different characters some introvert, some outspoken, all of whom are diamonds and a joy and an education to be amongst. Their written and spoken word uplift the racing events and their description is part of the sports history and can often be repeated.
The day unravels with differing stories to be written and spoken about developing throughout, work doesn’t end when I come off air, although it may seem out of sight out of mind, instead it’s back to the laptop keyboard to type with the eventual leaving time from a course reaching up to the likes of 8pm. The whole experience is a joy though there is a fitness level that is needed which I try to maintain on the lead up to all these Festivals, up to seven visits a week to the gym.
At the very least I hope this gives you an idea to some of the runners in this years Royal Ascot. There are sure to be some memorable moments, major market fluctuations, fantastic surprises and dazzling performances, racing takes us on a wonderful journey, long may it continue.