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Royal Ascot Ratings Update: Older horses

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Adam Houghton highlights the key changes to the Timeform ratings among the older horses in action at Royal Ascot.

Baaeed (134) had looked an outstanding miler in winning the Lockinge and, against several who'd been outclassed there, he probably didn't have to run to quite the same level to gain a fourth Group 1 success in Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes. He left the impression he had more left in the tank if required, though, and the result was never in much doubt as he was just pushed out by Jim Crowley to beat Real World (125) by a length and three-quarters.

Baaeed sets a high standard for the best three-year-olds to match in a potential clash in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, though he has a firmer date in the Juddmonte International at York, no reason on pedigree why he won't be at least as effective over an extra two furlongs.

About 70 minutes after Baaeed's Queen Anne victory, Australian sprinter Nature Strip (133 from 128) produced a performance of very similar merit in winning the King's Stand Stakes, becoming the fifth winner of the race from Down Under and the first since Scenic Blast in 2009. He broke a little awkwardly but was soon powering along in a perfect position just behind the pace-forcer, eased into the lead at halfway and left his rivals for dead over a furlong out, extending his advantage right through the final furlong.

Nature Strip had four and a half lengths to spare over Twilight Calls (118 from 119) at the line and it was a performance which hammered home the difference between a genuinely top-class performer and the rather mediocre bunch that currently contest this division in Britain and Ireland.

The big disappointment was Wesley Ward’s Golden Pal, who trailed in last after botching the start, but even on top form he would surely have struggled to live with Nature Strip, who earned a figure that places him behind only Battaash (136), Black Caviar (136) and Muhaarar (134) among the highest-rated sprinters this century.

Incidentally, Nature Strip’s connections declined the opportunity to try and emulate Choisir and Blue Point by following up in Saturday’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes, a decision they might have been left to rue given how that race developed. Nature Strip’s stablemate Home Affairs ended up finishing well down the field and the winner, Naval Crown (122 from 117), needed to show just very smart form to come out on top in a bunched finish (the first six were covered by a little over a length at the line).

Naval Crown, who really filled the eye beforehand, proved better than ever to turn the tables on stable companion Creative Force (121 from 122) from last year's Jersey Stakes, coming out the clear winner in his group. There is no reason why he won't continue to give a good account, though there are fine margins between the best of the home team in the sprinting division.

Later on Saturday's card, Rohaan (121 from 110) bounced back to form to become the first horse since Selhurstpark Flyer in 1998 to record back-to-back wins in the Wokingham Stakes, weaving his way through under an inspired Ryan Moore to win by three quarters of a length. This was another very smart peformance to defy a BHA mark of 109 – 3 lb lower than in 2021 – and on this evidence he really ought to make more impact at the top level than he managed in the second half of last season.

 

At the other end of the distance spectrum, Moore was once again seen to very good effect when winning Thursday's Gold Cup on Kyprios (125), who became the fourth individual Aidan O'Brien-trained winner since the heyday of Yeats, whose record of four Gold Cup wins remains intact after Stradivarius (121 from 123) failed to match that number for the second year in succession. 

Stradivarius was held in by the winner as the race was taking shape and forced to switch out for a run, closing gradually from there but unable to get on terms with a front pair half his age, both of whom had careers at shorter trips to call upon in a race which tested speed more than stamina. Regardless, for him to get as close as he did at the age of eight is testament to his remarkable longevity, durability and enthusiasm.

As for Kyprios, he has the potential to remain a fixture at the top of the division for a few years yet, while similar comments apply to the runner-up, Mojo Star (123 from 122). A rematch between the first three in the Goodwood Cup would be something to look forward to and don't forget Trueshan, of course, last year's winner who was forced to miss the Gold Cup due to unsuitable ground.

Aidan O'Brien also hit the target in Saturday's Hardwicke Stakes with Broome (124 from 123), but it was his son, Joseph, who trained the winner of the week's most prestigious middle-distance contest as State of Rest (127 from 124) produced a career-best effort to land the Prince of Wales's Stakes. 

A switch to front-running tactics in a race with no obvious pace paid dividends for State of Rest, his effectiveness on firm ground also in his favour, a fourth Group/Grade 1 in as many countries from his last five starts cementing his status as one of the toughest around.

There is no reason to think State of Rest won't give his running in other top races this summer, while runner-up Bay Bridge (126p from 128p) should be able to gain compensation at this level at some point during the season. He left the impression he wasn't fully letting himself down on the ground and there should be more to come from him back on an easier surface. He is likely to stay a mile and a half when the situation demands it, too.

Dubai Future (121 from 118) had been well behind Bay Bridge in last month's Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown, but he bounced back to his best with an emphatic success in Tuesday's Wolferton Stakes, defying a listed penalty to win by three lengths. Admittedly, none of the field really have pretensions of operating above Group 2 or Group 3 level, but this form fully entitles Dubai Future to another crack at pattern company.

Saffron Beach (121), on the other hand, is already well established at the very top level and her victory in last year's Sun Chariot saw her burdened with a Group 1 penalty in Wednesday's Duke of Cambridge Stakes. No horse had ever defied such a burden to win this Group 2, but Saffron Beach proved equal to the task, forging clear in the final two furlongs to win by three and a half lengths.

Saffron Beach's performance was one of the best in the race's history, even if several of her rivals failed to fire. She'll presumably go back to Group 1 company after this, where there are plenty of options for a filly with her ability.

 
 

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Free Daily Race Pass (Result)

PONTEFRACT 15:15

Tuesday 05 July
9. THUNDER BEAUTY (IRE) 1st
Daniel Tudhope silk Daniel Tudhope
David O'Meara
4. LET'S (IRE) 2nd
J. M. Sheridan silk J. M. Sheridan
K. J. Condon, Ireland
2. DUBAI LOVE 3rd
Dougie Costello silk Dougie Costello
Saeed bin Suroor
Go to full race

LATEST HORSE RACING RESULTS

21:00 UTTOXETER

1st Kielan Woods silk 2. SAMMYLOU (IRE) 11/112
2nd Sean Quinlan silk 9. FOR JIM (IRE) 33/134
3rd Paddy Brennan silk nk 7. LANDEN CALLING (IRE) 13/82.62f
J: Kielan Woods  
All 10 ran.
FULL RESULT

20:50 FFOS LAS

1st Rob Hornby silk 10. GYENYAME 3/14
2nd Rossa Ryan silk ½ 3. ALPINE STROLL 5/23.5f
3rd David Probert silk 5. TIN FANDANGO 5/16
J: Rob Hornby  
10 ran. NRs: 4 
FULL RESULT

20:40 BRIGHTON

1st Morgan Cole silk 2. ALMODOVAR DEL RIO (IRE) 11/26.5
2nd William Carson silk nk 6. BEAR TO DREAM (IRE) 10/34.33jf
3rd Marco Ghiani silk 1 7. ROSEQUIANO 14/115
J: Morgan Cole (7)  
T: Marco Botti  
All 9 ran.
FULL RESULT

20:30 UTTOXETER

1st Sam Twiston-Davies silk 3. VIS A VIS 8/131.61f
2nd Theo Gillard silk 20 2. SON OF ALICIASLADY (IRE) 11/112
All 3 ran.
FULL RESULT

20:20 FFOS LAS

1st Rossa Ryan silk 3. POSTMARK 17/29.5
2nd Hollie Doyle silk 1 8. AL AGAILA (IRE) 15/82.87
3rd David Egan silk 1 1. CAPH STAR 1/12f
J: Rossa Ryan  
All 9 ran.
FULL RESULT

20:10 BRIGHTON

1st Tom Queally silk 5. IDEAL GUEST (FR) 7/42.75f
2nd Joshua Bryan silk 2 1. ATTACHE (IRE) 3/14
J: Tom Queally  
All 5 ran.
FULL RESULT

20:00 UTTOXETER

1st Sean Quinlan silk 3. CATCHMEIFYOUCAN (IRE) 18/119
2nd Paddy Brennan silk ½ 2. MULBERRY HILL (IRE) 5/23.5f
3rd Brian Hughes silk 5. LATINO FLING (IRE) 11/43.75
J: Sean Quinlan  
All 8 ran.
FULL RESULT

19:50 FFOS LAS

1st Hollie Doyle silk 9. NUSA DUA 10/34.33f
2nd Theodore Ladd silk 3. ZOOM ZOOM BABE 9/110
3rd Richard Kingscote silk 6. DANZA DELLA LUNA 14/115
J: Hollie Doyle  
All 10 ran.
FULL RESULT

19:40 BRIGHTON

1st Marco Ghiani silk 9. THE CHARMER (IRE) 9/43.25
2nd Benoit de la Sayette silk ¾ 1. ARLO'S SUNSHINE 10/34.33
3rd Angus Villiers silk 2 4. ROYAL HEART (FR) 12/113
J: Marco Ghiani  
8 ran. NRs: 2  3 
FULL RESULT
Go to Horse Racing Results