Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2)
FOR a horse with a record of eight wins in 24 starts, and one who has travelled the world in a career spanning six seasons, Aidan O’Brien’s Broome has garnered few fans in comparison to others with similar or less impressive profiles.
He may have won over a few cynics with a thoroughly likeable display to take the Hardwicke Stakes under an inspired Ryan Moore.
The easy-to-back 6/1 chance was kept wide of his rivals in the initial stages before Ryan Moore took him to the front, and - staying a few horses wide of the rail - made the rest of the running to win by three and a quarter lengths from Mostahdaf (John and Thady Gosden/Jim Crowley).
At a meeting where the focus was all too often on the mistakes made by jockeys, this was a true masterclass from a rider who is riding with renewed vigour and confidence at present, and all his skills were in evidence here.
Broome could now be aimed at the King George, although given his ownership, another attempt at the Japan Cup seems likely to figure on his agenda.
I recall writing about how a rejuvenated Frankie Dettori regularly outrode a seemingly jaded Moore at this meeting two or three years ago, and it’s been intriguing to see that state of affairs reversed. Dettori’s honeymoon period with John Gosden has clearly ended, while Moore has weathered his own storm in recent times, and now looks to have rediscovered the missing spark of genius which sets the best riders apart.
Such situations are constantly in flux, of course, but Moore’s star is certainly in the ascendant right now, and he has all the experience at the top level required to ensure he can maintain this rarefied standard.
The mercurial Dettori merely needs the confidence a filly as good as Inspiral can inject to rediscover his own mojo. That, as much as the equine stars, gives a sense of expectation for the rest of the season, which promises much on the back of last week’s feast.