Brilliant Barzalona thwarts Camelot's Triple Crown bid
A sell-out crowd of 32,000 racegoers made their way to Town Moor on Saturday with the anticipation of Camelot winning the biggest race in Doncaster’s Flat season, the Ladbrokes St Leger, and with it a historic Triple Crown that has eluded even the best horses since Nijinsky won it back in 1970.
The crowd, however, was left with a sense of ‘what might have been’ after the race itself, where a canny and typically show-stopping ride from the young Godolphin prodigy Mickael Barzalona saw Encke come home in first place with Camelot three quarters of a length back in second. Encke was positioned on the outside of Camelot on the turn into the straight, and consequently he was able to get first run on Camelot and gain an advantage that the Ballydoyle superstar simply couldn’t make up. It was not the Triple Crown-winning performance that was widely expected, but that should not detract from the efforts of Encke, who became the sixth winner of the prestigious race in the famous blue silks. Encke also provided the enigmatic Barzalona, 21, with another big race win to add to his already impressive list, and few would doubt that he shall shortly be adding more after his fine display of quick thinking on Saturday afternoon.
Elsewhere on the card, Toronado claimed his place at the top of many ante-post lists for next year’s Classics after a gritty performance in the Champagne Stakes. Attempting to make all, the Richard Hannon-trained two-year-old fought off the odds-on favourite Dundonnell, who had come into this race after an impressive victory at York’s Ebor meeting. Toronado’s jockey Richard Hughes was full of praise for his mount afterwards, and bookmakers took no chances by making him as low as 10/1 for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
In the notoriously tricky Portland Handicap, Doc Hay, trained by David O’Meara, just got up in the final strides to deny the Kieren Fallon-ridden Face the Problem. Daniel Tudhope made the brave decision to bring Doc Hay towards the stands’ side to race alone for the last furlong with the aim of finding better ground – a tactic which worked tremendously well as the pair flew home to win by a neck. Fallon didn’t have to wait long for a winner, however, as Libranno got him off the mark in the Group 2 race after the St Leger.
Across the sea, the Irish equivalent of the St Leger took centre stage in a competitive day’s racing at the Curragh. Ballydoyle were again responsible for a short-priced favourite in the shape of Fame And Glory, but he could only finish down the field behind the Thomas Carmody-trained Royal Diamond. The race resulted in a four-way photo finish and those involved behind Royal Diamond included the Michael Owen-owned Brown Panther and the consistent Aiken, who is trained by John Gosden. Michael Owen took to Twitter to show his pride in Brown Panther’s performance, and it must only be a matter of time until the Royal Ascot winner gets in front in another big race.
The Godolphin team rounded off a fantastic day with victory in the finale at the Curragh with the recently-acquired Dawn Approach. The Jim Bolger-trained two-year-old justified his skinny starting price in the Vincent O’Brien Stakes in the style of a seriously useful prospect. Bookmakers were equally impressed with the performance, cutting him to as low as 4/1 for next year’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas!
There's loads of prizes to be won on lovetheraces.com, and loads of ways to win them, from imparting knowledge to just looking good.