Royal Ascot 2015: Never over-estimate our product and underestimate theirs as Aussie horses flounder   Leave a comment

Royal Ascot 2015: Never over-estimate our product and underestimate theirs as Aussie horses flounder

The meltdown of Aussie-bred, Aussie-adopted Able Friend suggested the bubble of Hong Kong — and the Sha Tin comfort zone within that — means it’s hazardous to step outside it.

Criterion found favourably soft conditions in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney — wher

Criterion found favourably soft conditions in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney — where the Japanese found their wheels spinning — and ran to form with a fifth in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

IT’S half-time at Royal Ascot and time for some sober reflection.

Shamal Wind and Criterion proved, again, that we can never over-estimate our product and underestimate theirs.

That’s not to discredit Able Friend. Pluck Tuesday’s Queen Anne Stakes from the brutally up-and-down straight course at Ascot and plonk it on the outskirts of Kowloon and Able Friend would almost certainly win again.

Yet you could tell the task had beaten him as he wandered up that long, long straight to the starting gates.

If he’d been Mr Ed, he’d have let out a baffled “what the…?’’ when the gates sprung and all he saw was an endless straight line.

The same thing happened to American Animal Kingdom in the same race a few years earlier.

There is truth and myth in our boast that our sprinters are the best in the world; said as if it’s some rule of racing.

Australian trainer David Hayes with Criterion at Ascot racecourse. Picture: Getty Images

Australian trainer David Hayes with Criterion at Ascot racecourse. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Shamal Wind was never going to be good enough to win a King’s Stand.

Only our greatest sprinters win at Royal Ascot. The merely good ones have always failed.

Criterion was never good enough to win a Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

I remember a radio interview with former trainer David Payne before last year’s Cox Plate. The South African was asked if the AJC Derby winner was the best he’d trained. Payne responded “not in the top 10”.

Australian racehorse Criterion is walked around the pre-parade ring before galloping at A

Australian racehorse Criterion is walked around the pre-parade ring before galloping at Ascot. Picture: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Criterion has always been merely one of the pack and in Australia, where good middle-distance horses are either second rung imports or once-a-decade locals, being a member of the pack does not stack up in Europe.

Criterion found favourably soft conditions in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney — where the Japanese found their wheels spinning — and ran to form with a fifth in the POW.

So You Think was one of the greatest handful of horses ever to emerge from this part of the world yet for every race he won offshore, he lost one. He won one Prince Of Wales’s, lost another.

The level of competition is much higher overseas than many parochial Australians are prepared to accept. The legend of Phar Lap was sealed with a brave win on dirt in Mexico and rightly so.

Brazen Beau and Wandjina run in the Golden Jubilee Stakes early Saturday.

Wandjina is a free-wheeling miler who might have a “what the..?’’ moment when the gates spring for the testing straight 1200m.

Brazen Beau is a fair dinkum gun sprinter, as he showed flogging the guns in the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.

But this is Ascot, as a distressed Able Friend discovered on day one. Being a gun Aussie sprinter won’t guarantee Brazen Beau anything in the Jubilee bar a gut-busting gallop.

Originally published as Different story when playing in their backyard

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Posted June 19, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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