Glass Office can foil Australian raiding party
If Ryan Moore and Coolmore are referred to the Monopolies Commission at the end of today’s racing, it would be no surprise.
Such has been their dominance of this year’s meeting that it has left a large number of competitors, Australians included, looking to retrieve something from this year’s Royal Ascot on the final day.
The great mare Black Caviar became the sixth Australian-trained Royal Ascot winner this century when, in one of the most dramatic races in the meeting’s history, she scrambled home in the 2012 Diamond Jubilee. Yet, rather surprisingly, Australia has not produced a winner since.
The Aussies will be hoping that Brazen Beau, the likely favourite, or their other challenger, Gai Waterhouse’s Wandjina, can land the spoils.
But the old theory, begun with Choisir and perpetuated through the evergreen favourite Takeover Target, that a good Aussie sprinter will always beat a good European one, has taken a bit of a dent.
And the impact of bringing a horse halfway around the world in the southern hemisphere’s winter – albeit that their winters are often much better than our summers – should not be underestimated.
For them, it is very much an away match.
Wandjina has been running well over further and may find this all happening a bit quickly for him, but Brazen Beau is a specialist sprinter and comes here on the back of a near three-length victory in the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington, a race previously won by Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Scenic Blast before their Ascot glory.
The four-year-old has been purchased by Darley for stud duties, but is owned by On Track Thoroughbreds, a syndicate of 38.
It includes accountants, bankers and a man who mows lawns for a living.
There does not appear to be a stand-out sprinter among the home team.
Obviously, it would be madness not to mention the Coolmore-owned and Moore-ridden Due Diligence, which was runner-up to Slade Power in this race 12 months ago.
He had a nice warm up over seven furlongs in April and has clearly been prepared for Saturday’s race by Aidan O’Brien.
Dermot Weld’s Mustajeeb has been campaigned over further, but looked back to his very best when tackling six furlongs last time out. The master of Rosewell House is always to be respected when he sends runners to the Royal meeting – as he showed with Free Eagle earlier this week – so this one should be on the shortlist.
However, I believe it may be worth taking a chance on the David Simcock-trained Glass Office, a five-year-old for which it finally all came together in the Duke of York Stakes in May. It was his first win since he was a two-year-old and his first on turf but no surprise to his connections, despite a 40/1 starting price.
He missed all of 2014 after injuring himself in Dubai and earlier in his career was a good fifth in the Wokingham, a race in which three-year-olds seem to be at a huge disadvantage.
But having run only 10 times, it would be a surprise were he not to improve again from York, if nothing else for the experience, and he loves rattling fast ground. There was a good omen yesterday when Simcock broke his Royal Ascot duck.
After wins for Gleneagles and Free Eagle, Eagle Top will be a warm order to make it a congress of eagles at the meeting in the Hardwicke.
Telescope, which streaked away with the 12-furlong contest last year and is one of three Michael Stoute runners, has the assistance of Moore, which is worth a few pounds, and will take all the beating, and Postponed should not be ruled out.
On the basis that Coolmore would not lumber a slow coach with the name ‘Ballydoyle’, this colt can give Moore a winning start to the day in the Chesham and the best jockey of this era can finish the meeting with a winner, too, on the Willie Mullins-trained Wicklow Brave.