Ascot 4:25, 6f Group 2 (C&G) (1), "Coventry Stakes"
|1||Strong Suit||1.88||76||2||m||R. Hannon||8||Supp 5/2, BOk, H-2 Erl Drop Back, SFre+1f & H-1, TvCmf-2f+, SBmp-2f, Eff-1.5f+ & Prg, 6th-1f+ Bmp1, QResp-1f, & Ko to Ln|
|2||Elzaam||3||76||2||m||M. A. Jarvis||5||Supp 9/2, 2nd Rank+1f Sttld, SFre+2.5f, Ld-2.5f+, Eff-2f, Ko, 2Cl-1f+, ko, Chalgd Lt Resp, Hdd Ln|
|3||Roayh||22||67||3||m/D||S. B. Suroor||3||Eff Erl Cent-Stds & Ld, 2Clr+1f, SttlPc+1.5f, StackFld+2.5f, Hdd-2.5f+ Resp, Eff-2f, ko, SStall-1f+, Rsp ins-1f PO to Ln|
|4||Samuel Morse||7||60||3||A. P. O'Brien||2||Drift 11/2, BOk, H-1 Erl Drop-in, Mdfld+2f Sttld, Eff-2f, Po, Resp-1f+, PO to Ln|
|5||Klammer||20||57||3||v/G||J. Chapple-Hyam||7||B-1, H-1 Erl Drop Bck SFFH, SBmp-2f+, SwcL-2f Eff, TTR ins-2f HdUp SUnbal, Resp-1f+ & PO to Ln|
|6||Zoffany||4.5||49||3||A. P. O'Brien||6||BkWL, 2nd Rank+1f, Fre & Hld for 1.5f, Eff-2f AvResp, PO, Bmp-1f+, Hmp-1 -2L, Po HnH ins-1f|
|7||Galtymore Lad||20||47||5||m/D||M. R. Channon||13||BOk, H-2 Erl Drop Back, Prg+2f as PcSttl, Eff-2f, Po SHdR, SBmp-1 Resp, Po, Stall ins-0.5f|
|8||Mullins Way (b)||100||45||2||F. J. Brennan||4||B-1 Inx P-2 Ngl, Resp+0.5f, Eff+1f & Prg, Mdfld+1.5f, SFre+2f Eff, Prg to 3rd Hd, Eff-2f+, PO, HgR-1.5f, 5th-1f, Fd-0.5f|
|9||Amwell Pinot||50||41||2||m||A. Bailey||10||BOk, LdgLn Erl, 2nd Rank+1f Ngl, SOutpcd-2f+, SHmp ins-2f -1L, po, Stall ins-1f|
|10||Chiswick Bey||50||40||3||d/N||R. A. Fahey||12||BOk, SFre+0.5f, H-1 +1f Drop Back, Ngl+2.5f, Dv Hd, Outpcd-2f, po, Fd-0.5f+|
|11||Move In Time||66||35||3||m||B. Smart||14||BRh-1, Fre Erl & H-2 Drop Back, Pull to Prg+2f as PcSttl, Eff-2f Resp, PO, 4th-1.5f & Stall, Fd-1f|
|12||Planet Waves||40||23||3||m||C. E. Brittain||15||BOk Wdst PCarrLh-2, Fre Erl & Pull to Prg, 2nd Rank+1.5f, Outpcd-2f+, ModResp, Last-1f+, Eased-0.5f+|
|13||Sheer Courage||14||-4||3||m||H. Brown||11||B-1, H-3 Erl, Drop Last+1f, SwcL+2.5f Cent-Stds, Eff-2f SResp, po, Fd-1.5f, Eased-0.5f|
|NR||High Award||g||T. Stack||9||NR = Vets Cert (Other)|
|NR||Irish Field||M. D. Sanchez||1||NR = No Reason Given.|
||Stall Centre. Field race just stands side of centre track in narrow group of 7-8 lanes wide at halfway. Mixed pace with Dettori making an effort to get to the lead on Roayh and 2L clear after 1F and switching a little right over to the Centre-Stands strip. Then settled the pace after 1.5F and had the field stacking around him by halfway. First 11 through halfway within 3.5L of lead with Strong Suit just over 4L and Sheer Courage (not travelling well from early on) a little adrift at 6-7L back of the lead.
The 'Stacking' achieved by Dettori dropping the pace demonstrated by the progress made by horses on the wings of the narrow spread field from after 1F to halfway. MW move from a slow start to be 3rd on the Centre-Stands side. On the Centre-Far Side GL move from 9th to 5th & MIT 8th to 7th (not sound much but closing up by 2L). These sort of moves untypical with most races pretty static in placing terms after the field has sorted itself out after 1F. Those in second rank behind Roayh effectively shuffled back by being in the centre of the group and unable to go forward as the wing runners went by and pinched in on them.
R. Hills on Elzaam uncomfortable at slower pace and kicked the race off early by heading Roayh soon after halfway. This pair up the pace by 2.5F out and then make full efforts just before 2F out. Extended effort race rather than the normal 2F out effort type.
But, despite mixed pace final extended effort produced enough pressure in race to spread the abilities out. Picture of finish shows a good 'Normal Distribution' with a couple of horses clear and going back to a ruck together and then a tail of weaker ones or those that ran poorly. Field racing in narrow strip up the centre of the course seemed to ensure no obvious bias from what strip the horses raced on. Seems a reliable result to read normally unless one of the horses well beaten had a real excuse.
Strong Suit has followed the same route that the Hannons have used for the best 6f type they identify early on for many years. Won the same Newbury maiden as Canford Cliffs & Major Cadeaux did on their way way to winning and placing in this race, for example. That pair only managed one later run at 2yo before coming back at 3yo to run in the Greenham Stakes and the 2,000 Guineas. MC won the Greenham and placed in the Guineas and won at Group 2 level over 8F at 4yo. Canford Cliffs didn't win the Greenham, nor the Guineas, but has proved a Group 1 miler since.
Hannon senior was talking about Strong Suit as if he were another in the same mould since before the Newbury win. Hughes said after this win that if he had been beaten it would have been the jockey's fault. He felt he had all the others covered at 2F out and with a clearer run would have won by a clear margin. Being at the back of the stack Dettori had produced meant Strong Suit had to get through two banks of horses to get to Elzaam who had gone 2L clear into the last 1F. A minor skirmish with Klammer over a gap and then smooth progress but ran into the back of the hanging MW towards the last 1F and lost 1L+. Strong, consistent, run in the last 1f to close to Elzaam and lead on the line. Not showing a burst of accleration but a long effort and having a higher cruising speed than the others.
Strong Suit notably mature in physique and attitude and a question over how much he will develop. Is he ahead of the others because he is already physically mature or is he going to continue growing and strengthening? Just average development will mean he is competitive in Group 1 races like the Guineas anyway. Seems not to have the leg problems MC had and his mature attitude suggests he should have a full 2yo season to see how much he can develop.
Elzaam apparently bred in Australia (by their rising star stalion) but to Northern Hemisphere breeding season dates and then sold in Europe. Rather than shuttling the sire across here out of their season. Shorter and bulkier than SS and a fluent mover. Held up behind the leader here having run freely when winning on debut. Good effort to be clear and clear second best to SS. In general a solid result to the race with the two most taking Debut winners of the season over 6f finishing clear of the (British) OR85-98 types. Such a fluent mover you would like to see him allowed to use his natural stride leading rather than stifling it.
Roayh ran better than expected aided by a ride from Dettori that played to his strengths and well placed when the efforts started. But, made a good response to go with Elzaam for 1F and going on well until stalling late. But, trainer Suroor does not run the better ones he has at Royal Ascot and they usually will not even have made their debuts by then. The SP tells part of the story and Godolphin's spokesman was talking about Roayh being a good 'Marker' horse for what else they have. So, unless Roayh develops very well he is a Listed level type and the first two clear in this race were the better class for the future.One caveat with that is that Aiden O'Brien's horses have not been competing strongly overall and his two here ran OK without threatening to win. In general the trainer runs one of two types in the race. The first will be a precocious 5-6f type who might be barely Listed class but is ready. This will be a long SP and is really a 'marker' horse for them. The second is the longer term developer who will be competitive in Group 1 mile races at 3yo. They are here to try to get a '6f Group winner at 2yo' on their CV for their stallion marketing blurb. A defeat for that sort is not a big problem and they will develop well anyway.
Both his runners here have pedigrees which might produce the 8f Group 1 type.
Samuel Morse has two wins in Ireland at 5f including the Listed Marble Hill Stakes. A smaller, readier, type and probably a better version of the more precocious one the trainer sends. Second string on jockeys and a drift in the Market. Ran well enough but unable to go with the first three and plugging on at the finish. Suspect he would need to develop better than average to be a Group player long term.
Zoffany has a less speedy pedigree and a surprise to some extent that Murtagh chose to ride him. Seemed to show some ability to quicken on his second win in Ireland and have something a little different on that. Some excuse for effort here being the worst puller as Dettori played with the pace and Murtagh spent 1.5F before halfway trying, unsuccessfully, to get him to settle. Unable to produce an immediate effort later on and then hampered by Strong Suit at 1F out as that one weaved around MW. Able to raise some sort of response afterwards. Presume he is better than this run showed and a 7f+ developer.
Into the OR85-95 British runners then and a few points of interest. Klammer started next to Strong Suit 2f+ out and lost a minor skirmish with that one for a gap. Then took time to get balanced and organised but responded quite well in the last 1F and going forward at the finish looking ok for longer distances.
Mullins Way ran for trainer F. Brennan who seems to have taken over the Curtis/Blockley horses. Lost on debut at Bath but a good pedigree. Made progress from behind to be 3rd at halfway as the pace dipped and did it quite comfortably. Able to raise a real effort before fading in the last 1F. Indication of real ability or the (lack) of strength in the race behind the first two? Good test of form when he turns up in a maiden.
MIT show more promise than late race fade suggest. Form of Newcastle win has proved moderate but better than the result shows in this race.
Sheer Courage a 10L winner (partly rail bias assisted) for Hannon last time but running for a new trainer having been bought. Never look comfortable and faded. A good indication of one of the hallmarks of the Hannon set-up. Leaving out the high level wins etc, Hannon has a terrific record for turning out calm 2yos that run reliable races consistently. Non runners and withdrawals are rare. When a 2yo underperforms they take it away and when it comes back you mostly know it will be fixed and will run up to form. Sheer Courage goes to another trainer and and he looked a different horse, but not in a positive way.
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