Let’s hope the battle of the juggernauts comes to fruition

Those who love flat racing, and there are plenty of us, can only pray that Kingman and Australia take each other on in the English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday, May 3.

Let’s hope the battle of the juggernauts comes to fruition

If they do then it will certainly rekindle memories of the greatest 2000 Guineas of all time, at least as far as this observer is concerned, that of El Gran Senor in 1984. El Gran Senor was a flying machine, running eight times in total and meeting defeat just once when shocked by Secreto in the Epsom Derby.

When winning the 2000 Guineas, he beat Chief Singer by two and a half lengths, with Lear Fan and Rainbow Quest well adrift in third and fourth respectively. That was some hot contest. Chief Singer, well outclassed by El Gran Senor, went on to become a cracking horse. On his next outing, he won the then Group 2 St James’ Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot by no less than eight lengths.

Chief Singer subsequently dropped down to six furlongs to land the July Cup at Newmarket, before stepping back up to a mile to win the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. Lear Fan followed Newmarket by taking the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville, while Rainbow Quest won the Coronation Cup at Epsom and the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

Rainbow Quest was a four-year-old when successful in the ‘Arc and got the race in the stewards’ room, after being beaten a neck into second by Sagace. I think it was an extraordinary 2000 Guineas and doubt there will ever be another that can be spoken about in the same breath.

But, that said, there is no doubt a battle between Kingman and Australia holds massive promise and is the clash we all want to see happening.

John Gosden’s Kingman was simply superb when making a winning reappearance in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury last Saturday.

He won by four and a half lengths and it’s a long way to be beating a horse, Night Of Thunder, who was only rated 2lbs inferior to him facing into the race.

Kingman shaped as if he has it all. He travelled beautifully through the contest, was totally relaxed and quickened away in the closing stages in a manner that only a top class horse could.

The problem about Newmarket, of course, is that Gosden is adamant Kingman will not be risked on any sort of firm surface. Yesterday he was available at 11-10 with most firms.

Australia was as high as 4-1 and this really is shaping up as the proverbial battle of the juggernauts.

We all know Australia has been the medium of Ballydoyle hype, but there is plenty of substance to what he has done on the racecourse as well.

Had another look the other day at the way he treated Free Eagle in a Group 3 at Leopardstown last September and it was mighty impressive.

Anyway, let’s just hope everything goes smoothly with both horses between now and early May and they take each other on. You suspect, if they do, racing will be the real winner.

Remember a race at Stratford at the end of last month when a horse called Dolatulo was disqualified after winning, a decision with which literally no one agreed?

As expected the Stratford silliness was subsequently reversed on appeal. After the appeal was successful a bookmaker who was standing at Stratford that day, a man called Stephen Rea, had a right go and some of his comments are more than worth repeating.

This is part of what he said: “Now the decision has been quite rightly overturned, what will happen to the stewards who made this awful judgement and the stewards’ secretary who presumably advised them?

“Will they be stood down and replaced on Sunday (Stratford, last Sunday). Will they be sent for re-training?

“The deafening silence from the BHA is probably indicative that neither will happen (it didn’t). These stewards had the benefit of as many replays as they wanted before making a decision and still got it patently wrong.’’

Would love to meet this guy Rea, who doesn’t half make sense. Of course he is absolutely right about stewards and a relevant stewards’ secretary being sent for re-training. It should happen as a matter of course in this country.

Indeed, I would go even further and immediately get rid of stewards, who clearly don’t have a clue. We have had some puzzling decisions in Ireland over the years and trying to understand the way the current “rules’’ are sometimes interpreted is difficult, to say the least.

But will the notion of re-training ever become a runner? Not a prayer. That would require leadership and, anyway, the stewarding system is far too much of an old boys’ club to ever contemplate change.

Was standing outside the weigh room at Tramore on Monday evening and, momentarily, contemplated if the racecourse had closed, as planned, in favour of a brand new establishment.

That new racecourse has fallen by the wayside and, do you know what, it’s just as well. The current Tramore has its place in the game, is part of what we are, and tradition dies hard.

Over the two days down there, Sunday and Monday, people seemed to be having a good time and the sun shining was no great hindrance. The Tramore executive try hard and do a good job and the lesson to be learned is surely that it is really wise, at least a lot of the time, to leave things are they are.

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