Boy, were we unlucky!

Beware of hype, especially when it’s coming from those whose only desire is the selling of newspapers.

She came, she saw and, I suppose, conquered, but the massively over-hyped so-called Aussie superstar, Black Caviar, was a bit of a damp squib at Royal Ascot.

An unsuspecting public was subjected to some two weeks of torture on the lead-in to the race, and the mare was probably always going to struggle to live up to unrealistic expectations.

And then when her rider Luke Nolen’s brain closed down for a number of strides in the last hundred yards, prior to kicking back into gear, a major shock was more than a possibility.

In the end Black Caviar managed to hit the line marginally in front and the reality was that she was not worth a whole lot more than the head she had to spare over the French challenger, Moonlight Cloud.

Her bubble had, essentially, been well and truly burst and all the waffle and sentimental garbage that had been foisted upon us was shown to be just that.

Before the race we were told that Black Caviar had settled in great, was doing everything right, had never been fitter and working the house down.

Afterwards, it was a case of not being at her best, was sore and might be retired. Excuses, excuses!

But hadn’t we been here before with another Australian horse, So You Think? Oh yes we had.

He repeatedly failed to get anywhere near what the hype was telling us and we now know that he’s a good horse and nothing more.

Anyway reading the Racing Post about Black Caviar, the only conclusion you could draw was that one would need to be heading towards a degree of insanity to even consider laying the mare.

Well there were plenty who refused to have any truck with such rhetoric and punters were falling over themselves to take her on.

And we found that out when Betfair told us that Black Caviar was the most traded horse in the company’s 12-year history.

Of the £13.2m matched on the win market, £12.6m centred on her. And, for a relatively small investment boy were we unlucky.

Yes, I was one of those willing to lay Black Caviar and would have been several thousand euro better off had she failed to deliver.

I was able to lay her at worse than 1-4, you could lay Black Caviar even shorter at times, and would behave in exactly the same manner given the chance in the future.

She is now 22 from 22 and more power to her. But, as we said here two weeks ago, this was not the second coming and the evidence of Ascot tells us that Black Caviar is in the same league as So You Think: a good horse.

Willie Mullins is an unbelievable trainer, but you have to say he has hit even greater heights over the last few weeks.

At Cork on June 17 he produced an unraced two-year-old — not his area at all — called Blue Bullet to beat Dermot Weld’s Scent Of Roses and Aidan O’Brien’s Performance. Then he took Simenon to Royal Ascot and simply worked wonders with the horse to get him to record two remarkable successes.

On the Tuesday Simenon turned what looked a fiercely competitive Ascot Handicap Stakes into a procession, winning by six lengths.

Then last Saturday, he reappeared, this time in the two miles, five and a half furlongs Queen Alexandra Stakes, and scored by seven lengths.

Simenon had developed into a useful enough hurdler here at home, but who could have envisaged him being so effective over such extremes distances on the flat? Mullins, obviously.

He used to be trained in England by Andrew Balding and won two races on the level for him.

They were as a two-year-old, over seven furlongs at Newmarket and a mile at Ayr. He ran 11 more times for Balding and never won again.

Then at Gowran Park on Sunday, Mullins advertised his indefinable skills again when getting the hitherto most disappointing Peking To Paris to win a bumper by two and a quarter lengths.

There were rumours the horse had improved for whatever reason and he went off 3-1 favourite, after 7s had been available in the morning.

Here’s a winner waiting to happen for you: Henry de Bromhead’s Too Scoops, who made a grand start over flights at Gowran Park last Sunday when beaten a neck into second by Noel Meade’s Maxim Gorky.

If he doesn’t do the business sooner rather than later then I’ll lay Frankel on the next occasion he runs! And that really would be insane.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

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