The Aussies have a saying that the Melbourne Cup is the race that stops a nation (for a day), but the greatest racing show on earth, must surely be Royal Ascot, which stops the world for a week. Today was the day.
Proceedings got under way with a staggering performance from Ballydoyle’s Kingmambo colt, Henrythenavigator, who grabbed the cash (and remained unbeaten) in the Coventry Stakes (Gr. 2) for Juvenile colts.
“Henry’s” exertions reminded Team Summerhill of resident sire, Malhub’s big day at Royal Ascot, when he got to meet Her Majesty courtesy of a blockbuster that saw him knock out the World Champion, Johannesburg in the Golden Jubilee Sprint (Gr.1) three years back. We have another parallel to Henrythenavigator in the maiden mare, Deceptive Charm, who was bred on an identical cross (Kingmambo on a Sadler’s Wells mare) the filly having been purchased at Tattersalls December Sales last year. She visits Muhtafal in 2007.
The Three Year Old Colts Championship was thrown into disarray when the dual Guineas winner, Cockney Rebel, failed to make the frame in the St James Palace Stakes (Gr.1), being forced into oblivion with a crunching finish from Coolmore’s Pivotal colt, Excellent Art, who claimed the exacta for Ballydoyle, as he was chased home by Duke of Marmalade (by Danehill).
One local breeder who’ll be looking like a Cheshire cat this morning is Gaynor Rupert, who has three Pivotal home-breds about to go into training from their Franschoek farm, L’Ormarins.