Social Discourse: Monday 3rd June

This week’s Social Discourse revolves around the four European Group 1’s of the week, and especially the three Classics. They provided more than enough controversy, drama and performance for even the most demanding racing thrill-seeker, and if you happened to miss any of it, look no further. Twitter was abuzz this week… 

  1. Anthony Van Did It

It’s a magnificent seven for Aidan O’Brien, and what a race it was.

At the end of 2 minutes and 33 seconds, this was all that separated the first five:

Credit to the magnificent Laura Wooton for the above shot.



The Heroes Of The Hour:

First, let’s give the groom, Sumith Pathrannelage his due – it almost didn’t happen in The Oaks, but more on that later.

Secondly, Seamus Heffernan, take a bow. The 46-year-old, riding in his twelfth Derby, finally came across the line in front, and did so the hard way. Off a slow gallop, Anthony Van Dyck was being rousted along before they even came to Tattenham Corner, with Sir Dragonet going best of all whilst a host of fellow Irish challengers made their big moves.

He didn’t get a run for about a furlong as Heffernan had to manoeuvre past the retreating Circus Maximus and Telecaster, before Mhadmoon and Sir Dragonet’s challenges, before then taking the time to divert to the inside rail and force himself past a wall of four challengers.

It must rank as one of his best ever wins, alongside his Breeders’ Cup steal on Highland Reel, his all-out drive to win the 2012 Oaks on Was, or his Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes wins for So You Think.


It was apt that he earned O’Brien this triumph, given that the trainer had five of the first six home, but might have failed had it not been for Anthony Van Dyck, Mhadmoon running a sterling race to take second by a nose from Japan.

Heffernan’s quick thinking and strength were also instrumental, as three-quarters of a length separated the first five home; what experience can do for you, even after spending millions and decades at the top, eh?


The Race In Review:

1 Anthony Van Dyck stayed on strongest to get the better of a whole host of runners under a superb Seamie Heffernan ride, giving Aidan O’Brien a seventh Derby, and he’s as short as 6/1 for the King George and 9/1 for the Arc

2 Madhmoon ran a screamer for Kevin Prendergast, preventing O’Brien equalling Michael Dickinson’s achievement of training the first five home in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup; failing by only half a length, he has a very bright future, especially at 10 furlongs


3 Japan ran a mighty race after an interrupted season, defying another major raceday drift and leaving his Dante fourth well behind despite Wayne Lordan dropping his whip. He has potential to be better than this again.

4 Broome came with a rattling late run, as is his custom, and might well have a future going further than this, like a number of the Ballydoyle horses

5 Sir Dragonet did not disgrace himself at all in finishing a close fifth, having come with a powerful and sustained run down the outside, and after just three runs it would be no surprise if he was able to go forward from this too

6 Circus Maximus didn’t handle the track according to Frankie Dettori, but given the way he folded in the last two (after being bumped a couple of time to boot), might also be a 10 furlong horse.

7 Humanitarian was the best British horse, something which will alarm some observers for all that he might well have been the only home-trained contender to run anything like his best form. We might not have seen his best days and he too could be better over further.

8 Norway finished roughly the same distance behind Sir Dragonet as he did at Chester, suggesting he might not be much better than this.

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9 Line Of Duty was reported to need an ease in the ground by James Doyle but this was a second disappointing run and the way he faded late suggests 10 furlongs might be in order

10 Sovereign struggled to get up to the lead early and didn’t appear to set a fast early pace before dropping away

11 Hiroshima wasn’t good enough for the bump he got leaving the stalls to do him any real harm 

12 Bangkok was very keen early and according to Silvestre De Sousa he didn’t handle the track. He’s not one to give up on for the rest of the season


13 Telecaster was the race’s big disappointment, having been keen early with a horse to follow, before settling nicely at the head of the field. He went into the home straight with a decent chance, but was quickly going backwards before being eased. Oisin Murphy said he just ran flat, but he was beaten too far for that only to be the case and this effort can be forgotten.


  1. Anapearler

24 hours before, the Ballydoyle team wouldn’t have been in such a good mood, as his great rival John Gosden got the better of him when Anapurna edged out Pink Dogwood in a tremendous tussle for the Oaks.

Another competitive race on paper proved to be a thriller, with the front two only a length and a half clear of the fast-finishing Fleeting in third and Manuela De Vega in fourth.


There was only a neck in it at the end, so no surprise that people focused on the jockey’s rides. There were strong opinions to be had…

The Verdicts:


The Take: The strongest stayer – and only just – won the race. That’s not necessarily down to jockey error. The best horse… might well have finished eighth (Maqsad).


The Credit and The Glory:

If you’re reading this, it’s possible you know who Taufique Alam is. For the uninitiated, he is the groom of Anapurna, although you wouldn’t have known it from the immediate aftermath of the race:

Quite rightly, many people were up in arms about this, but who saved the day? John Gosden and Rachel Hood.


In behind we had a rough race.

Tarnawa and Pink Dogwood had a bumping match; Mehdaayih then got squeezed by Delphinia; Manuela De Vega, coming under a drive, also slammed into the unlucky on the day favourite. Along came Maqsad, who slammed into Manuela De Vega, ending the chance – if anything – of the unlucky Mehdaayih, with Delphina and Frankellina getting a good shunting for their trouble.


Poor Robert Havlin got no luck, and will have other days, whilst Maqsad, who travelled best into the race, will surely have a bright future dropped back in trip.  Don’t forget Frankellina, who came with a good late run down the outside and who is still very much growing after just the three runs.


  1. Defoe Shoots, Defoe Scores

There was a turn-up in the Coronation Cup, when Defoe clawed back Kew Gardens to cause something of a shock, at least according to the betting, and fulfil a promise that had been years in the making.

When Ryan Moore took Kew Gardens from the very rear to the front of the race, he looked set – as a St Leger winner – to see it out and give Ballydoyle yet another Coronation Cup. However, Defoe snuck up the inside and finished the stronger to emerge the highlight of an Andrea Atenzi treble on the day.

Guess what people were talking about after the race. I’ll leave it to you to find out.


  1. Too Much……. Sottsass

Yeah, I know, that name confused me too, but there was nothing unclear about the method of Sottsass’s victory.

In what was another rough and tumble renewal, Persian King, the Poulains winner and hot favourite, cantered through the race and loomed on the outside, going best with two furlongs to go. He went on and started winning a duel with Motamarris, who ran well to be third, but Sottsass was beginning to find his top gear and when he did so, Cristian Demuro found an impressive response, with the son of Siyouni remorseless in eating the ground ahead of him. He ran out what could eventually be called a comfortable winner.



Motamarris ran a good race in third off a strong pace and enhanced his reputation in losing his unbeaten record, whilst Cape of Good Hope ran on very well for fourth, suggesting 12 furlongs could be on the cards. He improved a good deal on his Epsom Derby trial win.

C’est Genius: Best wishes to Jean-Claude Rouget, who had his fourth Qipco Prix du Jockey Club winner and a third in four years despite being taken ill earlier in the day. Anything Aidan O’Brien can do…..

William Kedjanyi

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