Royal Ascot Postscripts, Day 3: Ryan Moore, Gold Cup & Time Test
All-world jockey Ryan Moore, who had won three on Tuesday and two on Wednesday, continued his almost impossibly hot streak by adding three more to his total Thursday. That tied the modern-day record of eight winners at Royal Ascot.
Remarkably, none of his Thursday trio was favored. Moore guided Aidan O'Brien's Waterloo Bridge to a 12-1 upset of the Richard Hannon hotpots Log Out Island and King of Rooks in the Norfolk. The latter pair had the form in the book, both having beaten eventual Coventry winner Buratino over this five-furlong trip. But Waterloo Bridge was a stealthy type: inconvenienced by rain-softened ground in Ireland, he thrived on this much faster surface, and the pace set-up courtesy of the two Hannon horses. Nevertheless, you'd have to suspect that Waterloo Bridge isn't near the top of Ballydoyle's pecking order.
Log Out Island, who was initially supposed to be in the Coventry, apparently needs that sixth furlong already. A grand stamp of a horse (at least from afar on video), he's worth watching.
Moore foiled another favorite, Pleascach, aboard the David Wachman-trained Curvy in the Ribblesdale. Despite being bumped when trying to rally in the stretch, Curvy took the licking, kept on ticking, and ran down Pleascach to extend her winning streak to four.
I wouldn't hold this reverse too much against Pleascach: the Irish 1000 Guineas heroine pulled early in her first try at 1 1/2 miles and just got outpointed late by a tough, upwardly mobile rival. Curvy had no fewer than three runs at 1 1/4 miles under her belt, including a narrow defeat of O'Brien's well-regarded colt Giovanni Canaletto in the Gallinule. She could wheel back to take on the boys in next Saturday's Irish Derby -- a challenge that has also been mentioned for Pleascach.
Moore's other winner came for Ballydoyle, War Envoy. An underachiever (to put it mildly) this term, War Envoy dropped into handicap company and lugged the top weight of 132 pounds to victory in the Britannia.
For all of his historic success at this meeting, however, Moore rues the big one that got away: Kingfisher in the 2 1/2-mile Gold Cup. Unable to find room until it was too late, Kingfisher finished a what-might-have-been second. At least Ballydoyle has unearthed another high-quality stayer in an otherwise thin year for their older males.
Gold Cup winner Trip to Paris entered in the form of his life, but there were questions about the class climber at this level, and we now know the answer. His connections rewarded for supplementing him here for £35,000, trainer Ed Dunlop could now set his sights on the Melbourne Cup. Dunlop's fantastic servant Red Cadeaux has finished second three times in the "Race that Stops a Nation" -- could Trip to Paris finally win the elusive trophy? Dunlop admitted that Trip to Paris' weight assignment for Melbourne would have gone up now!
Of the others, hitherto unbeaten favorite Forgotten Rules traveled like the winner for much of the way, only to ebb late in a close third. This ground would have been plenty quick for him (I was bracing for him to be withdrawn), but Dermot Weld actually thought he didn't see out the extreme distance. Back in trip on an easier surface, Forgotten Rules promises to regain the winning thread. The September 13 Irish St Leger and a title defense back at Ascot in the October 17 British Champions Long Distance Cup are on the horizon.
But I've saved the day's most exciting winner for last: Juddmonte homebred Time Test, who passed his class test with authority in the Tercentenary, and now boasts a formline that stacks up alongside Golden Horn. He shot clear of Peacock and a couple of others who had previously been beaten by the Derby winner.
Like others in his maternal line, Time Test has had his mental quirks, but trainer Roger Charlton has nursed him into a serious athlete. He's ready for much bigger objectives, and ideally a chance to try Golden Horn.
The other Royal Ascot retrospectives can be found at these links: