Thursday 23 May 2019

Harrington's filly could go on to greater things

Alpha Centauri and Colm O’Donoghue win the Coronation Stakest. Photo: Nigel French/PA
Alpha Centauri and Colm O’Donoghue win the Coronation Stakest. Photo: Nigel French/PA

Marcus Armytage

Horse of the week: Alpha Centauri

Until Friday the meeting had lacked a stand-out horse, particularly as Cracksman had failed to turn up and live up to his billing as best in the world and a few of the talking horses proved to be nothing more than that.

The Coronation Stakes has lost a bit of its sexiness in recent years but pitting the winners of the Irish, English and French Guineas against each other provided a great renewal. Jessica Harrington's big strong filly sprinted home to win by six lengths shattering the track record. She could easily go on to prove herself the season's Champion miler.

Story of the week: Accidental Agent

Bang. The first race on Tuesday, the Queen Anne was won by 33-1 shot Accidental Agent. It was multi-layered; a rags to riches classic with a bit of World War II derring do thrown in and a third generation trainer, Eve Johnson Houghton breaking her Group One duck.

Back in the 1980's Lord Leverhulme, for whom Eve's father Fulke trained, told him to sell Sirnelta, a mare the trainer had bought for him. Annoyed at being told to get rid of her, Johnson Houghton bought her from the owner for his wife Gaie to breed from.

Accidental Agent is the first foal of the sixth generation, was bought back for 8,000 guineas at the sale because no one wanted him and named after Gaie's father John Goldsmith's autobiography about his clandestine work for the SOE and escape from the Gestapo in World War II. Apart from the fun and emotion - which can't be measured - the colt's career earnings stand at £600,000.

Person of the week: Frankie Dettori

Come on, me! The question in the press room, after the jockey dominated the first day and third days, was: "What will we do when Frankie retires?" He has always been a confidence jockey and when he rides one winner another is likely to follow - it was never better demonstrated by his Magnificent Seven in 1997. His skill as a jockey on a horse is matched by his ebullient character off it and he is great value.Of course it is a good job there are not 50 others like him in the weighing room but he is the public face of the sport and whether it is a flying dismount or speaking to Chris Evans on his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show, he is the consummate showman. Hopefully he is good for a few more years yet.

Race of the week: The Gold Cup

There are shorter, faster races but no other race has the pedigree or prestige of the Gold Cup and it consistently produces a good story or thrilling finish. This year there was a tremendous three-way tussle over the last quarter mile between Stradivarius, the young pretender, Vazirabad, who has to be produced late, and Torcedor.

It was John Gosden's Stradivarius who saw it out best, however, winning by three quarters of a length to give owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen a memorable winner 25 years after Assessor finished second in the race for him. Telegraph

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