Social Discourse – 27th May 2019

Another weekend, another set of top-class races to review through the window of social media. This week’s edition is going to focus on the races that defined the weekend – namely the three Group 1’s and the small matter of two big British sprints that brought different results for the favourites, writes William Kedjanyi.


  1. Rise of The Phoenix

Before a hoof had been set on the rebranded Curragh – and how glorious it does look now – the Irish 2,000 Guineas narrative was all about two horses. In the purple corner, Magna Grecia, the impressive winner of the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. In the pink corner, Too Darn Hot, second in the Dante and an extremely impressive champion two-year-old last season, who had won the Dewhurst and earned himself a rating of 126.

If you’re reading this, you probably know that neither won, as no horse in the race could touch the mightily impressive Phoenix Of Spain, who was smartly away and always in front to the far side.

When the challenges came – and there were plenty who wanted a crack, most notably Too Darn Hot – he had all the answers and eventually ran out an impressive winner.

Too Darn Soon?

Too Darn Hot loomed up before Spencer and Phoenix really kicked on, and eventually finished second, a very creditable performance given the short amount of time since his Dante second – in itself a hard race on his seasonal comeback.

John Gosden himself admitted this was hardly a tried and tested route for a top horse of his, when speaking to the media in the week:

“Obviously his programme was turned upside down in the spring. He never made the Greenham; he never made the Guineas and he spent quite a long time walking.

“As I told everyone when he went to the Dante, he was 85 per cent and he ran a good race. The distance was a little too far, but he probably laid back a bit far off our pacemaker. I thought the winner won well.

“It was not my intention to go to Ireland, but I thought he came out of the race in great order. He was eating well and was full of himself.

The Bottom Line: It’s entirely possible we’ve not seen the best of this horse yet this season, for all that people will miss the horse of last year.

The Rest: Decrypt ran a fantastic race to take third on the line from Skardu, who also ran with big credit. The pair have just eight runs between them and bright futures ahead, and both ran much better than Magna Grecia, who was one of the first off the bridle and who failed to respond to Ryan Moore’s urgings.

Targets aren’t known for the third and fourth yet, but Ascot could beckon, with either the St James’s Palace or the Jersey Stakes realistic targets. It remains to be seen what was up with Magna Grecia….


  1. Blast From The Battaash

 On this side of the Irish Sea, there was a force of nature somewhere in the Northwest, where Battash was back to his best and once again blazing the turf in the Temple Stakes. Let’s enjoy the closing stages once again.

Charlie Hills’ five-year-old was making it back to back successes in the Temple Stakes, and in doing so brought back a great deal of shine to his reputation, which had taken slight knocks in defeats at the highest level towards the end of last season.

Alpha Delphini was a creditable second and Mabs Cross was third under her penalty, having also lost a shoe.

The next step? It’s time to get your top hats on once again. The King’s Stand beckons.


  1. Well Hello, Youmzain

One of the feature attractions of a super Saturday of racing was Calyx, the 2018 Coventry winner who was unbeaten in three starts and the favourite for the Commonwealth Cup. He was expected to extend his sequence to four on his way to Royal Ascot with ease – indeed he went off 2/13 to beat three rivals in the Sandy Lane Stakes – and all looked well until… Robert Havlin pressed the button.

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Calyx shifted further left than Jeremy Corbyn in the 80’s and suddenly Hello Youmzain, who quickened impressively, was away and not for catching.

The winner is now a dual Group Two winner who is single figures for the Commonwealth Cup – a nice position for Kevin Ryan, who’s excellent with his sprinters – and he goes to Ascot with a genuine claim of being involved.


John Gosden’s View:

From the horse’s mouth: “At the end of the day, we can’t be afraid of one horse. It would be too soon to write (Calyx) off – but we’re just delighted with ours. We had to try the Greenham, to see if he stayed – you only get one crack at these Classics. It was pretty clear he didn’t (stay), so this was the next logical step.

“He’s won two Group Twos now – all he’s going to do is keep improving. He’s been like that since day one – the more racing he gets, the more he’s going to mature. We hope there’s plenty to come. He’s still learning the game. He’s in that [Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot] – it’s the logical step. Let’s enjoy today, we’ll have a chat with the owners and everyone involved.”


Spare a thought…… For those who had Calyx let them down on short Saturday accas…

But not those who were stupid enough to boo a horse. Yes, that’s right, boo a horse.

  1. Hermosa and Hosed

Aidan O’Brien had suffered a rare G1 disappointment on Saturday with Magna Grecia, but Hermosa never looked in danger of failing to complete her own Classic double as she took the Irish 1,000 Guineas in style. And boy, Twitter did like what they saw.

Hermosa, who is now the fourth horse to have completed a Guineas double after Attraction (2004), Finsceal Beo (2007) and Winter (2017), is headed on her travels again – to the Prix de Diane.

Her next challenge? Siyarafina, who won the Prix Saint-Alary in cool style under a relaxed Christophe Soumillon.

Of the rest? 

East was a disappointment, finishing  nearer last than first, with many blaming the quickest ground she’d run on.


Pretty Pollyanna ran a great comeback race to finish a good second, ahead of Foxtrot Liv, who outran her odds to finish a fine third

Iridessa disappointed at Newmarket but stayed on well in the fashion of a horse who now needs at least 10 furlongs.

Fairyland never got into things and might not be a miler, whilst Just Wonderful was well backed but appeared to fold and was a disappointment once again.


  1. Magic In The Horse, But Not The Race

Magical is a wonderful horse, and it’s exciting to think that we might not have seen the very best of her just yet despite her having had plenty of runs already for a top class flat horse.


It’s also fun to see her strut her stuff on the racecourse. However, it’s generally more fun to see her test herself against proper opposition in the right circumstances, and today’s Tattersalls Gold Cup didn’t match that.

In what was essentially an exercise gallop, Flag of Honour set a strong pace, followed by his stablemate, and the other three were out of the race by the time they’d come halfway down the hill. It was not the most riveting spectacle for the racing Twitteratti.


Is the Gold Cup going to stay much longer as a Group 1? Many think it shouldn’t:

Too many races spoil the broth: The d’Ispahan (see below) being run on the same day doesn’t help matters, whilst the Coronation Cup is also in near direct competition just a week after. The Brigadier Gerard Stakes was run earlier in the week and when you add in the Lockinge, there’s an awful lot of options around this distance. Some might even say too many, but it’s not my place…


  1. The Prince of Paris

Siyarafina was an impressive winner of the Prix Saint-Alary, and she wasn’t the only Group 1 winner in Paris yesterday.

In complete contrast to the Tattersalls Gold Cup – sorry Magical – this was a properly contested Group 1, with five top-level winners slugging it out, and Zabeel Prince fought hardest and fought best to get the better of Study of Man, who came with a withering late run to take second.

It was a breakthrough Group 1 for him but it had been on the cards based on his win in the Earl of Sefton Stakes, form which is arguably the hottest in Britain so far this year. Forest Ranger has won the Huxley Stakes, Mustashry the Lockinge, and Elarqam has taken a listed contest at Goodwood in good style since.


Best of the rest;

Second Study of Man will be aimed at August prizes after two good runs to start his season.

Trais Fluors was disappointing at Sandown but can hopefully come back to this sort of form for the rest of the season, and Intellogent, a former Jean Prat winner, ran a good race.

Godolphin’s two representatives, Dream Castle and Wild Illusion, finished only fifth and sixth but were not on their best form and better can hopefully be expected.

Until next time…

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