Royal Ascot: Alcohol Free wins wet Coronation Stakes – as it happenedSaturday 19 June 2021
Oisin Murphy bounced back from a demotion to win the feature race before being unseated on a wet and wild afternoon
Well that was nearly the meeting that wasn’t but Ascot survived an inspection at lunchtime after a desperate amount of rain and Oisin Murphy will have mixed feelings about that after being demoted into second following the Commonwealth Cup and then winning the Coronation Stakes, before suffering an embarrasing fall from his mount when celebrating in front of the crowd.
The champion jockey will be back tomorrow and so will the great showman, Frankie Dettori, who was the beneficiary of Murphy’s demotion. But they are both going to be overshadowed by the fact that the Queen is going to be there for the only day this week as the fixture comes to a close. Intriguingly, her majesty has a horse running with an outstanding chance in the Wokingham Stakes at 5pm.
That Down Royal business earlier today, a huge gamble away from Ascot ... well, the Racing Post report:
‘The second leg of a monster gamble on two Emmet Mullins-trained horses was successful at Down Royal on Friday as Blackstair Rocco, backed from 8-1 into 10-11, made absolutely no mistake under Mike O’Connor in the 2m4½f handicap hurdle (2.55).
Ascot’s clerk of the course Chris Stickels said at 6pm: “We have had 43.5 millimetres of rain since racing yesterday, which is certainly a 24-hour record for Royal Ascot in my time as clerk.
“Obviously, we ended up with heavy ground, although times weren’t as bad as perhaps I was imagining. It has still been hard work and jockeys reported very soft and heavy ground.
1 Significantly (C Lee) 10-1
2 Boomshalaa (Andrea Atzeni) 9-2
3 Fantasy Master (Ray Dawson) 16-1
4 Dream Composer (Laura Pearson) 13-2
Also: 4-1 Fav Mo Celita
Non Runners: 1,4,9,11,17,18
And they’re off ... Bedford Flyer and Significantly are up there ... Bedford Flyer makes a move ... Significantly and Rebel At Dawn with Boomshala and Significantly going past together and Significantly has won! Another winner for Greg Wood!!
It is tough on Laura Coughlan, who has partnered Mo Celita to four of his five straight wins since April, to be replaced by Oisin Murphy for the filly’s run at Royal Ascot, but Murphy has a rare gift for finding more improvement when riding a horse for the first time and the punters have certainly latched on, making him favourite here at around 5-1. Mo Celita has plenty of form with cut in the ground but another 8lb rise in the weights to a mark of 90 is a concern for a horse that started the season winning sellers.
There are plenty of each-way alternatives and I’ll have a dabble at Karl Burke’s front-runner Significantly, who has a useful draw one off the rail in 24. He has yet to register a win this year, but his second behind Dragon Symbol – first past the post in the Commonwealth Cup earlier on the card – at Hamilton last time is arguably a match for anything his rivals can offer. He also split Creative Force, a runner in tomorrow’s Jersey, and another Commonwealth Cup contender, Jumby, at Newmarket in April.
1 Quickthorn (Oisin Murphy) 7-2 Fav
2 Raymond Tusk (Jim Crowley) 25-1
3 Zabeel Champion (B A Curtis) 17-2
And they’re off ... Tritonic and Quickthorn make fast starts ... Sam Cooke pulling too hard in midfeld and last year’s winner Scarlet Dragon is last ... Zabeel Champion takes the lead ...Win O’Clock is not far off the leaders woth Raymond Tusk and Scarlet Dragon goes from last to first! Zabeel Champion fights but Quickthorn and Oisin Murphy win - what a day for the champion jockey!
Incredible amount of precipitation at Ascot today
The rain continues to fall here @ascot where the total rain for the day has now gone past the 40mm mark. Remarkable daily total and I certainly cannot remember more falling in one day at a high profile meeting. It could easily top 50mm by the end of today.
Johnny Murtagh, sometime ITV racing pundit, really loved winning that last race with Create Belief.
"It means the world to me, my wife and all the staff back home"@JohnnyMurtagh absolutely loves this famous old course!
https://t.co/fJXuj4d6h6#ITVRacing #RoyalAscot pic.twitter.com/JyCoKwUkL6
Commonwealth Cup fallout will run and run ...
Oisin to the media: "Frankie told me I was on the best horse."
Frankie to the media: "I feel very sad that I got it, but I had reason to believe that my filly was still the best on the day."
Several more non-runners here including Grand Bazaar, due to be the mount of Frankie Dettori, with Oisin Murphy’s partner Blackthorn heading the market at around 4-1. He pulled eight-and-a-half lengths clear of his field in a Haydock handicap on good-to-soft ground last time out, but has paid for it in the weights with a 13lb rise. He should have improvement to come, as that was his seasonal debut and he is also making only the sixth start of his career here. It is a fair old hike, though, on the softest ground that he has faced to date and in his toughest assignment yet. Proven mudlarks Sam Cooke and Aaddeey have obvious claims while Mirann, another interesting runner from the Johnny Murtagh stable looked unlucky not to win on heavy at the Curragh last time and will appreciate the step back up in trip.
But I’ll take a chance with Scarlet Dragon instead, even though he is a very tricky sort to catch right. He is winless in nine starts, on turf, all-weather and also over hurdles, since landing this race off a mark of 97 12 months, but his record was much the same coming into the meeting last year, when he came alive for Hollie Doyle to give her a first Royal winner. She is back aboard today and 16-1 looks fair each-way value with several bookies still offering five places.
1 Create Belief (Ben Coen) 6-1
2 Samoot (Jim Crowley) 5-1 Fav
3 Messidor (D McMonagle) 14-1
4 She Do (Ray Dawson) 28-1
Non Runners: 2,3,8,9,17,23,24,28,29
And they’re off ... Divine Light, Create Belief and Messidor are prominent ... Far Hope leads on the other side of the track ... She Do and Divine Light now go on ... Create Belief now shoots clear and they will not catch this one. Romps home!
The field for this filles’ handicap over the straight mile has been reduced by no fewer than eight non-runners but it remains fiercely competitive, with Johnny Murtagh’s Create Belief emerging as the favourite this morning at around 5-1. She posted a good time when winning for the second time in her career at the Curragh last month and should not have any trouble at all coping with the ground. That said, she was 10-1 this time yesterday and the field is full of dangerous opponents, including Sir Michael Stoute’s Samoot, who remains unexposed on turf, and the course-and-distance winner Teodolina, another with plenty of form on soft and heavy ground.
Selection: CREATE BELIEF
1 Alcohol Free (Oisin Murphy) 11-2
2 Snow Lantern (S M Levey) 14-1
3 Mother Earth (R L Moore) 9-2
Also: 4-1 Fav Pretty Gorgeous, 15-2 Novemba 4th
Non Runners: 8,11
And they’re off ... Novemba leads Flirting Bridge early ... they go stands’ side in the straight... Alcohol Free makes ground and is pressed by Pretty Gorgeous but Alcohol Free wins and Oisin Murphy, who lost the previous race in the stewards’ room, makes it clear what he thinks of that as he crosses the line!
1 Campanelle (L Dettori) 5-1
2 Dragon Symbol (Oisin Murphy) 4-1
3 Measure Of Magic (Ben Coen) 11-1
Also: 9-4 Fav Suesa, 33-1 Dandalla 4th
Non Runners: 2,8,10,11,18,20
Stewards’ inquiry result: Dragon Symbol loses the race! Commonwealth Cup placings reversed!! You have to feel for trainer Archie Watson there given his comments and knowing how highly they rate the horse that passed the post first.
Just one non-runner so far in the Coronation Stakes although it is a significant one, with Primo Bacio, a general 7-1 shot overnight, coming out this morning. That leaves a dozen fillies to go to post, including Mother Earth, Empress Josephine and Novemba, the 1,000 Guineas winners in England, Ireland and Germany respectively. The market, though, is currently headed by Pretty Gorgeous, the winner of the Group One Fillies’ Mile last season, who was a long way behind Empress Josephine at the Curragh after racing wide of the main field.
The ground was soft when she won her Group One at Newmarket but heavy at the Curragh, which does make you wonder if she will start to drift in the betting if the rain continues. The real springer in the market, though, is Peter Schiergen’s Novemba, who made all the running to win the German Guineas by seven-and-a-half lengths last time out. She was a 10-1 shot yesterday afternoon but is now down to around 11-2.
The stewards have a tough decision to make here ...
Stewards’ inquiry into the Commonwealth Cup! That pair came very close with Dragon Symbol moving towards the runner-up and drifting right in the closing stages. This is going to be fascinating ...
Frankie Dettori/Campanelle currently odds-on to get the Commonwealth Cup on Betfair, 1.82 vs 2.2 for Dragon Symbol to keep it. #RoyalAscot
1 Dragon Symbol (Oisin Murphy) 4-1
2 Campanelle (L Dettori) 5-1
3 Measure Of Magic (Ben Coen) 11-1
Also: 9-4 Fav Suesa, 33-1 Dandalla 4th
Non Runners: 2,8,10,11,18,20
And they’re off ... Campanelle shoots off into the lead ... Dragon Symbol is prominent ... Mighty Gurkha is up there ... and Dragon Symbol hits the front with Campanelle fighting it out and what a race - past the post together!
11/2 Dragon Symbol
9/1 A Case Of You & Jumby
16/1 Fivethousandtoone, & Measure Of Magic,
20/1 Isabella Giles,
25/1 Lipizzaner, & Miss Amulet, & Mooneista,
33/1 Dandalla, & Laws Of Indices, & The Lir Jet,
50/1 Happy Romance, & Mighty Gurkha.
The softening ground has done no favours to the Commonwealth Cup, a race that has established itself as one of the highlights of the week in just a few years since Muhaarar won the first running in 2015. Five of the 21 runners originally declared have now been scratched – Diligent Harry, Method, Saint Lawrence, Supremacy and Sacred – but it is an ill wind etc. etc, and Suesa, the French-trained favourite with winning form on heavy ground and a 3lb fillies’ allowance, is ever stronger in the market at around 3-1. She has done absolutely nothing wrong so far, is open to further improvement and is drawn middle-to-high, where the pace looks to be.
But – and there’s generally a but at Royal Ascot – the French sprinting division is not renowned for its depth and Suesa is nothing like as far clear of this field on ratings as her price might suggest. I’m more than happy to take her on with fast-improving Jumby, and all the more so after the form of his fast-run handicap success at Newmarket last time got yet another boost on Thursday when Perotto, nearly six lengths behind him in fourth place, won the Britannia Handicap.
1 Alenquer (Tom Marquand) 13-8 Fav
2 Tasman Bay (David Probert) 10-1
3 Title (David Egan) 5-1
Also: 9-2 The Mediterranean 4th
Non Runners: 4,8
And they’re off ... Belloccio leads with The Mediterranean running wide ... Tasman Bay is second with Title at the back ... Tasman Baygoes wide as they approach the home turn ... Belloccio still leads ... Tasman Bay and Alenquer come to challenge ...Alenquer hits the front and kicks clear for victory.
Official going now heavy at Ascot
Adayar has been taking a well-earned rest after his exploits in winning the Derby 13 days ago and One Ruler, the first horse from the Classic to put the form to the test, was some way down the field in the Hampton Court here yesterday. But Adayar still looms large over this race, as he was beaten by Alenquer, the favourite, on his seasonal debut in the Sandown Classic Trial. Alenquer is stepping up to 12 furlongs for the first time today, but the German bloodlines in his pedigree suggest that it will hold no fears, even if significant rain arrives, and his overall form is some way in front of anything that most of his seven rivals can muster.
Most are open to improvement, though, and The Mediterranean and Title, the next two runners in the betting, have progressed by the run, while Yibir was also in the Sandown Classic Trial, getting to within a length of the winner and a neck of Adayar in what was something of a blanket finish.
1 Sandrine (David Probert) 16-1
2 Hello You (James Doyle) 5-1
3 Oscula (Mark Crehan) 10-1
Also: 9-2 Fav Flotus
And they’re off ... Flotus not fast away and Oscula races on her own on the stands side ... Flotus now makes ground ...Sandrine and Hello You fight it out ... and Sandrine gallops clear to win.
A fascinating juvenile contest to open the proceedings on day four, with eight unbeaten fillies among the 15-strong field and no fewer than 13 arriving on the back of a win last time out. On that basis, it feels a little unimaginative to be siding with the likely favourite in Flotus, but she created such an impression when making a winning debut at Goodwood last month that most of her rivals will need to find a pound or three to beat her even if she runs up to that form, and Simon and Ed Crisford’s filly has as much, if not more, potential for improvement herself as any of her rivals.
Hello You, who made a similarly impressive start to her racing career but did so on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, is certainly within touching distance, while all three of George Boughey’s runners – Oscula, Hellomydarlin and Cachet – must be respected after his exceptional run, with juveniles in particular, in the opening months of the season. The time of Cachet’s debut win at Newmarket last month suggests she might be the pick of them and one for the each-way backers at around 10-1.
Away from Ascot there’s a fascinating story developing at Down Royal where two horses have been backed from 100-1 into evens and 8-1 into 4-7. Both runners are trained by Emmet Mullins.
‘The horse at the centre of the gamble is the aptly named Shake Him Up (2.20), with both Ladbrokes and Paddy Power reporting that they have laid the horse at 100-1.’
We’ll keep you posted ...
Shake him up gamble at down Royal today pic.twitter.com/uykt1QG7Tx
Bit of tinkering, but we’ll be off with the action at 2.30pm
Racing goes ahead today at #Ascot with a full card as planned after an inspection involving officials, trainers and jockeys.
The stalls for the Coronation Stakes will be moved slightly and there will be some rail movements with distance amendments to be confirmed shortly. pic.twitter.com/lcS3jcanel
Right, we can get on with finding the winners now. Those updated non-runners are here ...
Racing at Royal Ascot this afternoon has been given the go-ahead after an extended inspection of the track by officials, trainers and jockeys.
The card was long odds-on to be abandoned on Betfair’s “Will Racing Go Ahead?” market as the inspection began at 12.45. Alternative plans to move some races to the straight course, or run a 10-race card on Saturday, were also being discussed.
Matt Chapman is one of ITV Racing’s presenters ...
I think @Ascot will be on…
Meanwhile, we’ll be getting a decision very soon ...
The inspection party has returned. pic.twitter.com/1IuSxLjlWM
The Queen has a horse thrown-in at the weights in the Wokingham Handicap on Saturday. Hold on ...
We miss the Royal Procession!
Today's Royal Procession is bang average. https://t.co/pZtzeokpYJ
Aidan O’Brien has joined the throng prodding the turf
We await a decision ...
Frankie’s out there now splashing through the puddles. Nice hat!
The tide seems to be turning for racing to go ahead.
The mood seems to be turning more positive here @Ascot.
Ryan Moore is out walking the course now, with the official inspection soon to follow.
The inside and outside of both the round and straight courses appear to be the problem areas, but clever rail positioning may be enough.
It is still lashing down here at Ascot, with half an hour to go before the inspection which will decide whether racing can go ahead on day four of the Royal meeting. Meanwhile, in a lively market on Betfair, with just over £60,000 matched thus far, the odds on racing being abandoned are down to 2-5, while a thumbs-up from the officials is 7-4 against and drifting.
There are seemingly a few options open to the track, with the first and most likely seeming to be that racing will be abandoned for today.
Oh dear, we need an Option 4
The Press Association reporter is taking shelter in his jalopy in the car park ... where none of the traditional picnics are taking place!
There are three options currently open at the moment.
1) Racing goes ahead as planned today (inspection 12.45pm)
2) Racing goes ahead on the straight course with a five-race card including the Coronation Stakes moved to the straight track (two lost races rescheduled to tomorrow)
3) Racing is abandoned today and there will be a 10-race card tomorrow including the Coronation Stakes, Commonwealth Cup and King Edward VII Stakes. If option three is activated, all ten races will be shown on ITV.
Provisional Order of Running for Saturday ten-race card:
2.30pm Commonwealth Cup
3.05pm Coronation Stakes
3.40pm Diamond Jubilee Stakes
4.20pm Jersey Stakes
5.00pm King Edward VII Stakes
6.10pm Golden Gates
6.45pm Queen Alexandra
If option two is activated, the nine-race card will be shown on ITV and the exact order of running would follow.
And the likeliest scenario right now it seems is a ten-race card on Saturday ...
Plans under discussion are for straight-course only races today at Ascot or a ten-race card tomorrow
#RoyalAscot #inspection: if racing off today will be the first time at the Royal meeting since waterlogging of 1964; contingencies revolve around races on straight course-only today or 10-race programme, Saturday (saving group-level races)
Official at Ascot will inspect the course at 12.45 to decide whether the fourth day of the Royal meeting can proceed as planned, after “torrential” rain from Thursday evening changed the going from good-to-firm to soft by 7am this morning.
“Following 26mm of rain since racing yesterday and with a few false patches of ground which means the ability to race may be marginal,” the course said in a statement on Twitter, “an inspection has been called for 12.45. We are also looking at options to re-align the rail to avoid these areas.”
Predictable ... and the ground is going to be pretty desperate if the meeting does get the go-ahead
GOING CHANGE ☔
The going at Ascot has now changed to soft, heavy in places pic.twitter.com/ZbiHOUGhgi
Hugh Taylor of At The Races is a shrewd punter and his analysis of this situation is ... it’s too close to call and will be down to the weather gods.
heavy rain in Guildford for last 15 minutes that radar suggests is heading towards Ascot. Radar does suggest just showers after that band has passed through, so probably depends on how it takes that band
It’s a fluid situation ... inspection now set for 12.45pm ... and the betting is now 1/2 that the meeting will be off ... Ascot clerk of course Chris Stickels has also said: “We are going to realign [the areas of track I am not comfortable with] and by moving the rail I would be pretty hopeful, assuming we don’t get much rain. However, we are forecast further showers, some heavy and thundery, which doesn’t help us.”
The @Ascot inspection will now take place at 12.45pm.
Clerk of the course Chris Stickels says: "We have found areas of the track I'm not comfortable with, one bit being down the hill and another turning into the straight."
Officials are reported to be discussing contingency plans now in case they have to abandon today’s meeting.
Update: there will be an inspection at 12.30pm today to see if today’s meeting can go ahead at Royal Ascot. More details to follow ...
A 12.30pm inspection is to take place @Ascot to determine if the fourth day of the royal meeting can take place.
Areas of the track - including down the hill and on the home turn - are giving clerk Chris Stickels cause for concern.
More to follow on https://t.co/cuP9ySCVYv
It’s on a knife edge with Betfair – now 5/6 the meeting is off ... and 5/6 the meeting goes ahead!
Will Ascot go ahead today? 5/6 your pick - pic.twitter.com/wxPxGbbMI5
These horses won’t be running whatever the conditions later (thanks to the Sporting Life website for the update)
3.05 4 Gloucestershire
3.40 2 Diligent Harry 8 Method 10 Saint Lawrence 11 Supremacy 20 Sacred
4.20 11 Primo Bacio
5.00 2 Illykato 8 Mamba Wamba 9 Ready To Venture 17 Lucid Dreamer 23 Rising Star 24 Beheld 28 Riknnah 29 Companionship
5.35 7 Pirate King 10 Tyson Fury 15 Grand Bazaar 16 Lost Eden
6.10 9 Get It 18 Noorban
It’s damp ... and there’s a lot more precipitation in the forecast so hold on to your hats ... especially if you’re heading for the Royal Enclosure where headwear is compulsory
Rain now falling again at Ascot.
Good morning ... are we heading for a 1964 situation? That year Royal Ascot was truncated after heavy rain forced the abandonment of the final two days of what was then a four-day meeting. That is certainly the concern after torrential rain last night forced Ascot into announcing that an inspection could be on the way this morning. Stay here – we’ll keep you posted.
Ascot could hold an inspection of the course before the start of racing on Friday, the fourth day of the Royal meeting, after more than 20mm of rain from Thursday evening changed the going to soft, with more rain forecast to fall throughout the day.
The ground was good-to-firm for the first two days of the meeting, while Chris Stickels, the clerk of the course, applied around 4mm of water to the entire track on Tuesday evening to maintain it at that description. After 2.4mm of rain on Wednesday evening, the turf was still good-to-firm for the Gold Cup card, but the drenching since the last race on Thursday has seen a rapid deterioration.Continue reading...