3 Key #ChampionsDay Talking Points

With Ascot hosting the end of season Group 1-fest finale I thought I’d take a look at three key potential talking points.

  1. Is ORDER OF ST GEORGE overraced?

He’s disappointed before here and with six runs under his belt this seaso nthere’s a chance he’s finished for the season. He’s gone to the big well three times this season and ran his heart out each time.

Ryan Moore was to blame for his defeat in the Gold Cup for not reacting quick enough in a slowish run race when a proven lead-kick-and-go merchant in the shape of Big Orange got to the front. He had to really dig deep to even get in a challenge.

The second time he went in deep was in the Irish St Leger which was easier than many would and could have thought. Still, he was made to peak again.

Finally, he was brought to peak for the Arc and ran a blinder to finish an obviously out-paced fourth. He was made to do a lot of running early and never really looked like winning. But that’s the third time since June he’s had to get up for a ‘big one’.

Is he the best horse in the race? Clearly. At the adjusted weights? No, which means he would have to be at his best to win the British Champions Long Distance Cup. At the prices he’s too short based on what we know about his ability to throw in a poor run despite his amazing record on soft ground.

2. What has RIBCHESTER beaten this season?

How many genuine Group 1 winners has he beaten this season in his three Group 1 wins? Five is the answer. If you take out the three ‘tin-pot’ Grade 1 American turf winners it is two — Robin Of Navan (who won a Group 1 at 2yo over 1m2f) and Galileo Gold. The latter didn’t run his race in the Lockinge and hasn’t been seen since so that tells its own story.

So Ribchester has won three Group 1s this season without beating a genuine European Group 1 turf performer. True, you can only beat what’s in front of you but this is the deepest race he’s run in and he’s pretty short on that basis.

3. Did CARAVAGGIO’s Commonwealth Cup win leave its mark?

I’ve rewatched the Commonwealth Cup about five times this week and I can’t get the idea out of my head that in winning that race Caravaggio knackered himself for the middle of the season.

We now know Harry Angel is an incredible sprinter but in overhauling Clive Cox’s colt late on in the Commonwealth Cup, Caravaggio may well have gone too deep into his reserves. That would explain his below par performances in the July Cup and the Prix Maurice de Gheest. He then had a small break and bounced back to winning way’s at the Curragh in good enough style.

I think he’ll put in a good performance today on ground he’s unbeaten on and at a track he’s unbeaten at. Harry Angel may well have improved more than what he was beaten in the Commonwealth Cup but he too is another who has been to the well a fair few times this season.