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Jamie Lynch: The predictable unpredictability of the Flat season
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Jamie Lynch: The predictable unpredictability of the Flat season

Breaking news out of the blue or making news out of something or nothing, asks Jamie Lynch as the first unsurprising surprise of the 2015 turf Flat season is already ticked off.

It happens behind locked doors, in secret, within the Holy place, where the hallowed electors gather to discuss and determine who will be the next chosen one, a ritual steeped in tradition. Since the revered senators meet in isolation, there are only two ways to inform the public about the outcome: the first is the white smoke, billowing from the chimney on the Ballydoyle tower, and the second is the anointed one halving in price for the Guineas.  

Year on year, the horses are different, but the timing is the same, the process is the same, and the reaction is the same; people rushing around the square, and around the bookmakers, shouting His name, this time Gleneagles.

But perhaps, this time, the reaction is an over-reaction, the news not so newsworthy. That’s because, let’s not forget, Gleneagles was already in pole position, by virtue of an aggressive two-year-old campaign that gave him full opportunity to show his full powers, certainly relative to the other Coolmore coupes on the Guineas grid, John F Kennedy, Ol’ Man River and Highland Reel.

Just as it would have increased the significance if one of those ‘darker’ horses had emerged as the chosen one, it rather reduces the significance that Gleneagles is still top dog, for Newmarket at least.

It’s a break from the more recent Ballydoyle trend, whereby the shadowy horses have been promoted to first lieutenants after the training-ground manoeuvres during the winter. Not to say that Australia, Camelot, Rip Van Winkle or Footstepsinthesand were shadowy horses, but, in their respective years, War Command, Power, Mastercraftsman and Oratorio had all been in the Gleneagles mould of the highest-achieving juveniles.

Whatever the implication, the O’Brien Guineas springer was an unsurprising surprise, the first of many non-revelatory revelations to come in the 2015 Flat season, as predictable as they are pertinent, often interlinked…

The Godolphin stuttering start has already started stuttering, with this week’s news that Charming Thought, their only Group 1 winner in Europe last year, has met with a setback. The ‘Boys in Blue’ have resolved to resurge, but we’ve heard that before, and they’ve been flying in Dubai and on the all-weather in Britain, but we’ve seen that before, and they’ve shuffled their jockeys, but we’ve been there before, including last year when…

Kieren Fallon makes a statement to the effect that he feels as good as ever, as hungry as ever, and the old magic is indeed visible in glimpses, before the mood takes him off again to some far-flung jurisdiction, qualifying him nowadays for the Rest Of The World team at the Shergar Cup where…

Mark Johnston has five of the ten runners in the mile-and-a-half handicap, representative of his summer hot streak at a time when…

Sir Mark Prescott is just moving into second gear, come August, having kept his powder under industrial driers for the first half of the season, not that there’s any masquerading his Ebor horse, like Pallasator last year who, just a few days before York, was the subject of…

A big-money, big-race buy-in by Qatar Racing, to go alongside their top-lot purchase at the Goffs London sale on the eve of Royal Ascot, to go alongside the six-length maiden winner bought back in April for an unheralded trainer who they’ve apparently always wanted a horse with anyway, who makes it to the Windsor Castle Stakes but can’t live with…

Wesley Ward’s brick outhouse of a Royal Ascot-winning juvenile, who breaks the track record and emphasises once again that the racing world is becoming a smaller place, making for international competition like never before, including the now-traditional…

Japanese assault on the Arc, featuring the returning Harp Star, winner of the Sheema Classic under Ryan Moore earlier in the year and locked in a girl-power battle with hat-trick seeking Treve, making it the race of the season and only serving to heighten…

The negativity surrounding Champions Day in Britain, which, with the help of a Khalid Abdullah horse if recent history is any guide, actually turns out to be a success, even if things don’t quite go as planned, such as softer ground or different champion jockey than desired, not that it matters to the best rider who’s busy winning top events all over the world while…

Five-year rumours persist about Ryan Moore becoming first jockey at Ballydoyle, intensified by the early-season weight issues for Joseph, but forgotten about by the time he rode…

Aidan O’Brien’s phenomenal twelfth winner of the Irish Derby, on the same card as the seemingly-cherished seven-furlong maiden that has been the platform for some of their top horses, won last year by Gleneagles who had been one of a number of…

Highly-touted Ballydoyle juveniles beaten on their debut, just the way the team appears to roll nowadays, playing the long game, and you still can bet that…

Aidan O’Brien juveniles clean up in the Phoenix/National/Futurity, whether it’s with one, two or even three separate crack youngsters, each of whom will be under consideration for the Guineas over the winter, under wraps until such time…

The chosen one is announced by halving in price for Newmarket the week before the Lincoln; and that’s the circle of life, the racing life of unsurprising surprises.

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