THE Gold Cup produced an exhilarating finish despite the race producing a disappointing time figure as Kyprios (105+) proved the fastest in a sprint finish over the last half-mile to hand Aidan O’Brien an eighth victory in the race.
The race has also been the subject of much debate as to whether Stradivarius should or could have landed a record-equalling fourth win in the race. The evidence of the clock shows it is more likely the Gosden runner was denied second and not victory on the day.
The clearest indication of the slow pace was Earlofthecotswolds still being at the head of affairs as the field headed towards the three-furlong marker, despite his quickening of the pace from a 13.28secs to 12.44secs heading into the final half mile. Meanwhile, the main protagonists were monitoring each other in the last four places.
So, the fact Ryan Moore struck for home first was the first advantage gained as the half-length margin back to Mojo Star (105+) proved to be distance between the pair at the line. The son of Galileo proceeded to clock a closing three-furlong sectional of 35.18secs with his final furlong of 11.84secs faster than his pursuers.
Mojo Star came home in 35.33secs, with the first furlong of the sectionals the fastest of the race as he quickened to lead momentarily before fading slightly to record a final furlong of 12.04secs.
The debate over the relevant finishing position of Stradivarius (104+) pivots around how much ground he lost when switching from behind Mojo Star, although I will offset the loss with his final furlong of 11.95secs being slower than the winner. I would also add, in Frankie Dettori’s defence, he was hemmed on the inside rail because of his draw, which was then compounded by the slow pace.
The final reasoning to my theory is that Dettori could have taken the inside route which William Buick explored on Burning Victory (104+), whose finishing sectional of 35.33secs included a final furlong of 12.04secs.
There was a neck between them at the line so he would have unlikely fared any better.
My verdict is the winner was not for catching on the day although I would also say the fire still burns within Stradivarius.
THE quickest race on the round track was the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes with Magical Lagoon (110+) hanging tough when challenged by the speedier Sea Silk Road (110+).
The daughter of Galileo completed her final three furlongs in 36.62secs which, although slower than Secret State (106+) in the King George V handicap, the difference in overall race time still favours the Jessica Harrington-trained filly.
Having previously shown the same determination in a finish when challenged and narrowly beaten by Oaks fourth Concert Hall, she can continue to progress and would hold each-way claims in the Irish Oaks next month.
To complete the round-track analysis, Claymore (105+) stopped the clock for his closing sectional at 35.30secs as Frankie Dettori aboard Reach For The Moon (102+), again found himself chasing down a rival who was not stopping.
My attention was also drawn to the run of Cresta (100+) as, in the hands of Jamie Spencer, he settled better than previously on his way to completing his race in 35.27secs.
The tracker entries from the King George Handicap should include Deauville Legend (106+), Savvy Knight (104+) and Flying Dolphin (102+).
At the opposite end of the time-figure scale to the Gold Cup, Britannia winner Thesis (112+) recorded the fastest time of the day on either track when adjusted for distance and with his closing sectional as equally impressive, the son of Kingman will have no problem making the step up to pattern races.
Ryan Moore came with a smooth run from midfield, posting a closing sectional of 35.33secs in the process, which compared favourably with Inver Park who covered the same ground in 36.31secs.
As I looked in more detail at the numbers, the performance gained extra credibility for such a strong overall time-figure as the three-year-old covered the final furlong in 12.09secs, which was unrivalled by either The Ridler (12.43secs) or Inver Park (105+) (12.69secs).
However, the data also suggests the winner was not the best horse in the race as Saga (112+) covered the closing sectional in 35.01secs, inclusive of a final furlong of a rapid 11.78secs. On a day to forget for Dettori, the horse was certainly good enough to claim victory on this occasion.
Jimi Hendrix (109+) enjoyed a smooth run through the race from his middle draw before posting a closing sectional of 36.13secs which under normal circumstances would have been sufficient to land a strongly run handicap. Ralph Beckett’s colt will not always have group-class performers chasing him down.
Whoputfiftyinyou (109+) edged out Lawful Command (108+) for fourth and will remain high on my shortlist for future big field heritage handicaps, while the last named can be supported when returning to Goodwood where confidence would be increased further if dropping to seven furlongs.
In such a strong race, I will also highlight the runs of Wanees (106+), Fiach McHugh (105+) and Ribhi (104+) as worthy of closer inspection.
The day started with a controversial finish as The Ridler (98+) crossed his field in the final furlong on the way to a one-and-three-quarter-length victory.
A closing sectional of 34.98secs saw Richard Fahey’s colt home with his superiority through the penultimate furlong confirming him as the fastest horse in the race. The relevant data for the first four home was 11.51secs, 11.65secs, 11.58secs and 11.57secs respectively.