Social Discourse – Monday 1st July 2019

It was one of the hottest weeks of the year, with more than our fair share of scorching action on the track. And if the racing results didn’t set everyone alight, the off track debate certainly did. We start this week’s Social Discourse with the Irish Derby, writes William Kedjanyi.


  1. How’s that for Sovereignty?

Yes, that’s a very good question indeed, Samantha. Well, as the results tell us, Sovereign won.

Wait, Sovereign? The 50/1 outsider? The pacemaker?

Yes. See here.


So, as one could see, he led all the way after what appeared visually to be a strong early pace. How could we make sense of this? Maybe, it would be a good idea, to perhaps consult the race timings, data that could be explained by a sectional expert, perhaps.







A blind reading of the race would appear to suggest that Sovereign and Norway started strongly, and escaped the third Guaranteed, by which point they then had too much of an advantage before the rest of the field, who got going what appears to be at least a furlong too late.

In Case You Missed It: A timely reminder about Sovereign’s quality here – or at least what Ryan Moore said about him, as told by Tony Calvin:


The Fix Is In! Or is it?

A rank outsider who was nowhere at Epsom sets what seems to be an unsustainable pace, thus proving far too good for the Derby winner and the runner up. It might not look great for the form book, but a great deal of observers – many of whom had a financial interest in the race – appeared to think there was something more at play.


The Social Discourse View: For all that it was a shock win, there have been more confusing results in racing, and it should be remembered that the jockeys – remember them? They’re quite important – made a major difference. Perhaps those who believe the product is bent… shouldn’t be betting on it?

Anthony Van Dyck, who in the chaos of all this, caught and beat fellow front runner Norway by two and a half lengths, appeared to confirm the Epsom form, suggesting that Ryan Moore’s challenge – perhaps not for the first time in this most crucial of months – was not ideally timed.

Madhmoon, who had done so well to sustain his run at Epsom after passing most of the field following a stumble, didn’t have the same zest, but was better than Broome, who fell out of the stalls and finished a limp sixth.

From The Horse’s Mouth:

Aidan O’Brien:

Padraig Beggy:

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“It was a funny race. They went like the clappers and our horse could never really get into contention. Obviously I’m disappointed and I’d say we might drop him down to ten furlongs. I’ll talk to Angus Gold [owner Hamdan Al Maktoum’s racing manager] and we’ll make a plan.” –  Kevin Prendergast, trainer of Madmhoon, talking to the Racing Post’s Tony O’Hehir

“They went off a real strong gallop and I made a plan to follow Ryan [Moore on Anthony Van Dyck], but he was struggling a long way out. The leader had flown, I was never going to make up that ground and Madhmoon probably didn’t stay. I think the Irish Champion Stakes is the best race for him.” –  Chris Hayes, jockey of Madmhoon, talking to the Racing Post’s Tony O’Hehir


 That’s Stat-tastic:

Padraig Beggy is certainly a jockey with a unique record:


2. Siskinned

Earlier, there was a much clearer case of the best horse winning. Here’s Siskin dotting up in the Railway Stakes:


The next target? The Keeneland Phoenix Stakes back at the Curragh is the next aim and he’ll take the beating there. Here’s Ger Lyons.

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait: Lyons made the call to miss the Coventry Stakes despite an excellent form chance, and he was backed by Juddmonte. It has paid off big time for now and might still reap further rewards down the road. Also, speaking of the waiting game…


3. A Coronation Fit For A Queen

If at first, you don’t succeed, try again. And again. And again. And then try again eight more times.

Because that’s how long it took the incredibly admirable Coronet to win her maiden Group 1, running down the pace-setting Ziyad and stablemate Lah Ti Dar in the shadows of the post. It was a masterclass from Frankie Dettori, who delivered her just at the right time, to right the ‘wrong’ of her being beaten by Waldgeist in this last year.


It was a moment for persistence, and due reward for a horse whose record in ten previous Group 1’s included four seconds, three thirds and a fourth, and she rightly came in for a great deal of praise afterwards.


3, The Legends of St George

It was a red letter Sunday not only for John Gosden but also other British trainers, as they took the four feature races on the card.

Gosden’s Mehdaayih quickly made up for a lifetime’s worth of bad luck during The Oaks when becoming the first British-trained winner of the Group 2 Prix de Malleret since Time On in 2006, and she did so in style, coming from well back to waltz clear:

Headman, the winner of the London Gold Cup who had been forced to miss Royal Ascot on account of the ground, breezed past fellow raider Jalmoud with ease to take the G2 Prix Eugene Adam:

Art Du Val, who had previously landed a conditions event in Dubai, landed the Prix de Saint-Patrick for Charlie Appleby and James Doyle to begin the raid:

A bad sign for French racing? Tim Carroll posed the question, and started an interesting debate:


5. Who’s Going?

A note to end the weekend’s action. The New Curragh, a huge project for Horse Racing Ireland – at a cost of €80m, over four years – held its first Irish Derby over the weekend, but there were not attendances to match:





What’s wrong here?

Some say a move back to Sunday for the Irish classic is the way to go, but more of a worry would be the complaints about the Saturday experience: “sight of lengthy queues for toilets, as well as food and drink, at the ground level of the new Aga Khan Stand” (quote taken from The Irish Times.) Indeed, he was not the only person to notice:

Indeed, in the same paper, Brian O’Connell’s missive reminds us that there is still work to be done:

“It didn’t matter that backstage the jockeys’ loo was a Portakabin, or that the Members’ bar flapped in the wind like a point-to-point tent, just as it will be irrelevant to TV viewers this afternoon that every element of the new facility is state of the art.”

It’s not over yet… watch this space for more updates!


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