LAST weekend, we learned that Love can conquer all — not necessarily the emotion or behaviour, but the chestnut Galileo filly!
An hour later, Limerick native Emmet McNamara outfoxed his Epsom Derby rivals aboard Serpentine.
Fast forward 24 hours, Donnacha O’Brien became the youngest trainer to ever saddle a Classic winner as Fancy Blue and Pierre-Charles Boudot prevailed at Chantilly in the Prix de Diane.
All that before we even saw Ghayyaith ran his Coral Eclipse rivals ragged – Enable emerging a creditable second but the winner was awesome.
Now, can we match that level of drama this weekend?
Tomorrow, it’s the turn of the sprinters to prove their worth at Newmarket as the highest rated three year old sprinter Golden Horde meets the older generation for the first time in the July Cup.
Clive Cox and Adam Kirby teamed up with Lethal Force to win this race in 2013 and this year they combine with his son Golden Horde, the colt that announced his talents at Royal Ascot by blitzing a competitive Commonwealth Cup field.
He faces another big question tomorrow, is he capable to beating older and more experienced rivals such as last month’s Diamond Jubilee winner Hello Youmzain along with the rapidly improving Sceptical?
The July Cup tends to be a battle of the generations and recent results suggest that the classic generation have every chance of beating the older brigade.
A 6lb weight-for-age allowance plays a major role in attracting three year olds to step up to this grade.
Let’s take the last five years for example, four winners have been three year olds including Harry Angel in 2019 for the Cox / Kirby axis.
The statistics suggest Golden Horde should prevail.
He’s rated 118 – the very same as Hello Youmzain but the weight allowance hands him a serious advantage.
This six furlong dash will be enthralling but it’s difficult to look past Cox and Kirby.
Earlier on the Newmarket card is a Group 2 for juveniles where Aidan O’Brien saddles impressive Royal Ascot winner Battleground.
The Superlative Stakes has produced some smart prospects in the past such as Dr Devious (1991), Dubawi (2004) and Olympic Glory (2012).
Aidan O’Brien has won this race on three occasions including when Gustav Klimt overcame trouble in running to land the spoils in 2017.
This year, his challenger Battleground boasts the best form and arguably looked as though more improvement could be expected when winning the Chesham at Royal Ascot last month.
His main rival could be John Gosden’s Seventh Kingdom who ran out a very impressive winner on debut at Doncaster last month but considering his lack of experience, it will take a brave punter to oppose Battleground.
Sunday’s Prix Jean Prat at Deauville has attracted a strong field, headlined by last year’s star juvenile Pinatubo.
Placed twice from two runs this season, Pinatubo has looked somewhat laboured at a mile and despite finishing a creditable third in the Guineas to Kamako and second to Palace Pier in the St James’s Palace Stake, this drop to seven furlongs could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Last year’s Prix Jean Prat winner Too Darn Hot had a very similar profile to Godolphin’s ace. Awesome at two years but found wanting against improved rivals over eight furlongs.
Too Darn Hot obviously benefitted from his Deauville experience as he would go on to beat Circus Maximus in the Sussex Stakes over a mile on his final career start. Can Pinatubo do the same?
Closer to home, there is a quality card at Cork Racecourse Mallow this Sunday featuring the Group 3 Brownstown Stakes. As is typical for a stakes race confined to females, it has attracted big numbers which makes it all the more difficult to unearth the winner.
I’m opting to side with an unexposed three-year-old, who could be on the improve against some of her older rivals headed in the opposite direction.
Paddy Twomey’s Sunday Sweet was particularly impressive on her seasonal debut at Tipperary last month and with a Group 1 Matron Stakes entry to her name, connections must feel she is well capable of competing at this level.
The yard is currently operating at an impressive 22% strike rate so one can expect this filly to be ripe and ready for her step up in class.