Social Discourse – Monday 8th July

This past week offered us the privilege of seeing the best mare on the planet currently, but also the sadness of losing one of the sport’s TV greats. It was a week of stunning contrast that dominates this edition of Social Discourse, writes William Kedjanyi…


  1. All Hail Queen Enable

We  start at Sandown, and focus of the racing world at this point in time, Enable, is now an Eclipse winner on top of her already glittering CV.

On her first start for 245 days, contending with lighting fast summer ground at a ten furlong trip shy of her best there appeared to be, on paper, a hint of vulnerability. But, in the finish, there proved nothing of the sort.


The Race Recap (In Case You Missed It): Hunting Horn set a decent gallop, with Enable sitting on his heel and Magical in third. The rest of the field, in order of Telecaster, Zabeel Prince, Mustashry, Regal Reality, and Danceteria. Rounding the turn into the home straight, the field began to bunch up.

Frankie Dettori, who had always been travelling nicely, remained motionless as Hunting Horn began to give way, and at one point looked as if he was going to stroll away on Enable, who was showing more zip than rivals who were all proficient at the distance; but, when push came to shove, she kept finding and through the last furlong it was clear – in hindsight – that there was only going to be one winner. Cue an outpouring of love for the majestic five-year-old.


Where next? The King George. Tickets to Ascot might be selling rather quickly…

From the trainer, John Gosden:

“It’s been a long preparation and she’s only started coming to herself the last two weeks. Quite frankly, she’s come here at 85 per cent, maybe 90. I was slightly concerned in the last furlong but Frankie looked after her, it was a lovely ride. He always wanted to be where he was, he was keen to sit there and she’s an exceptional athlete. To come from an eight-month layoff to win an Eclipse isn’t an easy thing. She’s done it all herself and the plan is the King George.”  – John Gosden, speaking to the Racing Post’s Tom Collins


Best Of The Rest: Magical came close, but never really looked as if she was going to seriously threaten Enable, whilst Regal Reality, who once again misbehaved in the preliminaries, was a very creditable third under Kerrin McEvoy. Magical will be given a break and won’t be far away at the top level, and Regal Reality could also be seen in G1 company again next time.

Danceteria ran a cute race to hoover up plenty of cash in a staying-on fourth, and more Group prizes probably await. Mustashry was disappointing again and might need a break, whilst Telecaster was once again well beaten and there are some doubts about him now, though he too may need freshening up. Hunting Horn did his usual good job as the trailblazer.

Zabeel Prince looked as if he was going to be involved before being denied a run, and then faded disappointingly to be last. A return to France could be an option for Roger Varian’s charge.


  1. RIP John McCririck (1940-2019)

Racing saw its heroine shine, but lost a man who, to many, was a hero of the betting ring this week as John McCririck passed away on Friday.

The news brought out a huge wave of tributes for a broadcaster who was famous both inside and outside of racing, and with good reason. It is worth starting out with this brilliant tribute from Brough Scott.

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The best of them, however, might well have been Alistair Down’s obituary in the Racing Post, and Chris Cook’s splendid explanation of the difference between people’s view of his demeanour and his incredible journalistic skills:

  1. Coral-Eclipsed?

You know the drill. It’s a big Saturday with a Group 1 leading the card. Frankie Dettori has fancied rides. At least one of them is favourite. And people are doing the multiples.

It happened at Ascot, it happens every weekend, and it happened again on Saturday when he lined up with a fine book of mounts for Coral-Eclipse day.

Coral – for whom this is the biggest PR day of the year – made the call to accept multiple bets on Dettori – but only offered odds at starting price (SP) on his mounts in races five and six to punters seeking five-folds and six-folds. This, coming after bet365 and Sky Bet refused certain multiples featuring Dettori’s rides, of course, led to be plenty of discussions. Firstly, after the dust has settled, here’s James Knight of Coral:

And the views of others:

In The End: Dettori ended up with a treble after wins for Mojito (4-1), Enable (4-6) and Falcon Eight (10-11). 

The Social Discourse View: Betting nowdays is a game all about choice. Whilst Coral took defensive action – and remember how close they were, along with the industry, to being knocked for six at Royal Ascot – others offered a full service. Let the free market decide?


  1. Too Darn Hot

Once upon a time, there was a champion two-year-old. He went to his three-year-old season. Pretty soon, he came upon a programme. He knocked and went right into the season.

On the programme, there were three races. Too Darn Hot was keen. He went for the Dante, after an interrupted preparation.

“This comeback came at the wrong time!”, his trainer exclaimed.

Nine days later he went to Ireland for the 2000 Guineas there, and finished second.

“This came too soon”, his trainer confessed.

So, he went to Ascot and came to win the St James’s Palace Stakes. He came to win, but ended up third.

“This ground is too soft,” his trainer said.

So, he went to the next three-year-old Group 1 on offer, this time in France.

“Ahhh, this track and trip is just right,” he said happily as his horse waltzed away the Prix Jean Prat.

Now that is stretching things a bit – and perhaps getting this wonderful website in trouble with the great Robert Southey (look him up) but he also did make short work of his rivals in the Jean Prat, relishing a decent surface, strong pace, and the seven-furlong trip. He beat the rapidly progressive Space Blues, whilst in third, making it a 1-2-3 for the UK, was Fox Champion.


From The Horse’s Mouth:

“We saw the real Too Darn Hot today. This is where we are starting our season, we’ve got a long year ahead.” – Lady Lloyd Webber, owner of Too Darn Hot, speaking to the Racing Post’s Scott Burton


“His proper distance is 1,400 [metres] up to an easy mile and we’ll play to his strengths rather than stupidly playing to his weaknesses. He’s not a stamina horse, he’s built like a sprinter. I probably should have been running him in the July Cup next week, I’ve probably got it wrong again.” – John Gosden, trainer of Too Darn Hot, also speaking to Scott Burton

“We got in a nice slipstream behind Too Darn Hot and then tried to pick him up late on but he just quickened away from us. He kept galloping and I’m really chuffed with him. He could even come back a furlong because he does travel very well. He is always the last to come off the bridle but he gets the seven very well and a race like the Foret would be perfect for him.” – James Doyle, trainer of Space Blues, also speaking to Scott Burton

The Raiders: Far Above landed the Prix Kistena for James Tate under an excellent ride from PJ McDonald, making it yet another group prize that British trainers have landed this summer. The money’s there and for the taking…

  1. A Class Act…

Best wishes go out to the ace Sea Of Class, who has had her career ended by a life-threatening bout of colic. William Haggas’s brilliant daughter of Sea The Stars was one of the highlights of the flat season last year, taking the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks in tremendous style before finishing an extremely close second when almost running down Enable down the Longchamp finish.


Hopefully, she can beat this awful situation, and give us all something to cheer after a major blow to the likely quality of many fillies’ Group 1’s this season, and also the Arc.

    6. Elsewhere….

  • Aidan O’Brien pencilled in Derby winners Anthony Van Dyck and Sovereign are set to represent Aidan O’Brien in the King George at Ascot later this month, and Japan, originally set for Ascot, will instead contest the Grand Prix de Paris next weekend


  • Ennbihaar gave John Gosden a record eighth victory in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock


  • Falcon Eight took the Coral Marathon for Dermot Weld after a thrilling duel with Ryan Moore and Mekong on the Eclipse card
  • Winless in her three starts since making a winning debut at Yarmouth in September, William Haggas’ Hidden Message set the record straight in the Coral Distaff, fighting hard to beat Encapsulation by three-quarters of a length

That’s all for this week. Until next time…


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