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Monday, 10 December, 2018

What we learned from the weekend's racing

Gordon Elliott: is bidding for another big payday at Punchestown
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Is there anything Gordon Elliott can't do?

Fresh from nearly winning a first Irish jumps trainers' championship and a host of big-race wins, Gordon Elliott recorded his first ever juvenile winner at the Curragh.

The impressive length-and-three-quarters victory earmarked Beckford as a potential Royal Ascot contender.

The colt quickened away nicely over six furlongs, and Elliott could be getting himself a top hat and tails for Royal Ascot if Beckford goes for the Coventry Stakes as expected.

Saeed Bin Suroor will be hoping for a better Derby experience

Thunder Snow was supposed to be Godolphin's great hope for the Kentucky Derby, but the dream died as soon as the gates opened when the colt did his best impression of a bucking bronco under Christophe Soumillon.

Best Solution emerged as a viable contender for the Investec Derby after a dominant win in the trial at Lingfield, and he is now as short as 10-1 to win at Epsom. Saeed Bin Suroor and connections will be hoping for a more pleasurable experience this time around.

Best Solution wins Lingfield's Betfred Derby Trial

Appleby has Epsom ambitions as well

Not to be outdone, Godolphin's other main trainer in Britain, Charlie Appleby, showed his employers he could also have a Classic contender in the shape of Sobetsu, who could contest the Investec Oaks.

The filly stayed out of trouble in a rough Prix Saint-Alary to stride clear under William Buick, though her participation at Epsom will depend on the ground being soft enough.

While a phalanx of Aidan O'Brien-trained runners in the Derby and Oaks has become the norm, it would be good to see rivalries renewed between Coolmore and Godolphin on the big stage again. 

Mix And Mingle and Ryan Moore win the Group 3 Chartwell Fillies' Stakes

Moore magic at Lingfield

Why is Ryan Moore one of the best, if not the best, in the world? One of the reasons is his tactical awareness. At Lingfield the stands' rail is often the place to be on the turf course down the straight, and Moore duly took advantage.

With Mix And Mingle drawn closest to the rail for the Chartwell Fillies' Stakes, Moore elected to chart his own course against the rail, while the rest of the field stayed in the middle of the track.

It was a ride that invoked memories of Moore's Eclipse win on Notnowcato in 2007, when he stayed away from the field to win on the nearside. Frankie Dettori, who was aboard favourite Qemah, kept looking over as he knew Moore had the advantage, but was powerless to stop him due to his draw. 

Gordon pushes girl power

It was telling when Hayley Turner said on ITV Racing that she was concerned Josephine Gordon could surpass her achievements in the saddle.

Turner, the first lady of British racing in the modern era is well-qualified to know what it takes to succeed at the top in a male-dominated sport, and Gordon certainly has the tools to continue her ascent.

Josephine Gordon: in the paddock at Newmarket

Aboard favourite Fastnet Tempest for the Victoria Cup at Ascot, Gordon handled the hurly-burly of a big-field handicap with aplomb, guiding the gelding home under a cool ride. Already part of the Hugo Palmer team, more big-race wins like this will invariably lead to further opportunities for Gordon, and perhaps she can overhaul Turner's record of two Group 1s and a Grade 1 in time.

In-foal and still fast

It wasn't just jockeys doing it for the girls at the weekend, as the in-foal Acapulco showed she still possesses plenty of speed when making a winning start for Aidan O'Brien at the Curragh.

The Queen Mary winner for Wesley Ward in 2015, Acapulco is in foal to the mighty Galileo, but before she becomes a mother there could be a chance for her to sign off in style at Royal Ascot in the King's Stand.

Acapulco: smart filly is entered in the Diamond Jubilee

Constable paints a pretty picture

What looked to be a competitive Swinton Handicap Hurdle was taken apart by John Constable for Evan Williams.

The six-year-old dismissed the field by 14 lengths, and he is now going to have a spring campaign on the Flat according to Williams.

Formerly with Aidan O'Brien, there may well be more to come in that sphere, and he could be one to keep an eye on for another big prize.

It was a ride that invoked memories of Moore's Eclipse win on Notnowcato in 2007
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