Social Discourse – 21st July 2019

It was a week in which we argued about the whip (again), Frankie Dettori was the difference between G1 victory and defeat (again), and a US Grade 1 ended with a deja vu stewards’ enquiry (again). It all feels so normal in 2019 but that’s Social Discourse for you, writes William Kedjanyi.


  1. Can’t Catch The Star

Death, taxes and Frankie Dettori Group 1 winners. They’re the three certainties of this summer, so perhaps in hindsight Star Catcher’s win in the Irish Oaks shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

I mean, this is the level of form he was in before the off:

However, if there’s one thing you can’t do, it’s give the world’s most in-form jockey any sort of easy lead. Lo and behold then:


Can’t Say We Didn’t Warn You: All of the Irish classics this year have been won from the front. The signals were there…


Money where your mouth is: The decision to supplement Royal Ascot scorer Star Catcher for the Irish Oaks at a cost of €40,000? Brave at the time, a snip now.


The Man Of The Hour:

Marked For Export: Eight of the last 11 winners of the Irish Oaks have been won by UK-trained runners.


  1. Whip It And Rip It

These are just a small number of the tweets I’ve read on social media over the issue of The Whip in the past week.

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It is quickly becoming the social issue of the summer for racing and one that is ferociously polarising too.


The Big Battle: Perception has never been more key for the sport, and many fear putting off a new generation of supporters. The whip is misunderstood by many, on a number of levels – can minds be changed? And if so, which?


Many have accused the BHA of not educating general racegoers – the sort who are non-industry professionals – enough, so it was tremendous to see this from Ellie Hudson, founder of In The Paddock TV going out into the public and educating them. Do please give it a watch:


 Thoughts? Do get in touch.


  1. Heat And The Haskell

It’s been a hot summer. June was literally the hottest month on record, and July hasn’t been far behind. Indeed, another heatwave is set to come to the UK next week – we could have the hottest day of the year so far. Not a bad time to own a fast ground horse, amongst other things.

In the US, the East Coast has been enduring a heatwave which has sent temperatures into the 90’s, and it affected two of the biggest meetings of the year in the shape of Saratoga’s summer meet and Monmouth Park’s Haskell Stakes.

With fans and horses drained, the decision was taken to cancel all non-stakes races after the first two races had been completed.

Political pressure was applied from the governor’s office to push back the card, with Gov. Phil Murphy involved at one stage, whilst Saratoga and other East Coast tracks cancelled their Saturday meetings. The Haskell would be delayed, eventually going off at 1:05 am UK time.


“Nonetheless, given the heightened concern from the general public in regards to the warmth, and within the curiosity of the protection of the horses and jockeys, we’ve determined to proceed with an abundance of warning, to cancel the remaining non-stakes races and to delay the six stakes races,”  – Dennis Drazin, chairman and chief govt of Darby Improvement, operators of Monmouth Park


  1. Maximum Security, Minimum Margin

So after all that, there was a race for the Haskell. And because it’s 2019, we just simply had to have more drama, so the gods controlling the universe firstly gave us:

  • A thrilling stretch duel where Maximum Security hit the front a full three furlongs from home and then fought off Bob Baffert’s Mucho Gusto to take the win


And then……

  • Another stewards’ enquiry – yes, another one –was called when he impeded the retreating King for A Day, who had beaten Maximum Security in his prep race. The stewards were kinder this time, however, and he kept the race.


  • “After I saw a replay, I knew they would not take him down,” West said. “The other horse was going backwards. That sort of thing happens in 25 percent of the races, and they don’t take 25 percent of the horses down. If they took him down today, I would know for sure that the racing gods had something against me.” – Gary West, owner of Maximum Security, speaking to Bob Ehalt of the BloodHorse


  1. Elsewhere…
  • Rod Millman’s Bettys Hope and Silvestre de Sousa headed Show Me Show Me in the final stride of the Super Sprint at Newbury, with hot favourite Ventura Rebel fourth

  • Roger Charlton’s former Cesarewitch and Northumberland Plate winner Withhold defied a nine-month absence in the valuable Marsh Cup at Newbury and is now one of the favourites for the Ebor

  • On the same Newbury card, there was a surprise International win for the Germans as Waldpfad was an impressive winner of the bet365 Hackwood Stakes, winning by a length and three-quarters from Khaadem, with Keystroke a further neck behind in third as The Tin Man disappointed

  • Fox Chairman made up for two luckless runs at Chester and Royal Ascot with a game success in the Steventon Stakes

  • Romanized came with a late rattle to take the Minstrel Stakes, beating James Tate’s 7-4 favourite Hey Gaman and John Quinn’s Safe Voyage.

  • Roman Turbo showed a good turn of foot to see off his rivals in the Anglesey Stakes

  • There was yet another big race win for Frankie Dettori as A’Ali was relatively untroubled in an impressive success in the Prix Robert Papin at Deauville

  • And Soffia denied a host of British challengers to take the Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday


That’s all for this week – back in seven days!


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