2017 Flat Season Review

By Samantha

What a season its been. The sprinters have shone in some amazing battles, the stayers have fought between each other and the middle distance category was as close fought as ever.

It all began on the 6th of May and Aidan O’Brien’s star two year old and Dewhurst winner Churchill ran away with the first classic of the season. The next day, it was still the Aidan O’Brien show as his beautiful grey filly, Winter, scorched the turf of Newmarket to win the 1000 guineas.

Then all eyes were switched to the best Group One of them all- the Derby. The competition was high this year. The Dante was a perfect form booster for the favourite, Cracksman, after the gutsy Mark Johnston-trained Permian won decisively by 3/4 lengths with Benbatl in second. When the weekend of the Oaks and Derby  rolled around, arguably, the best performance was in the Oaks not the Derby when six to one shot Enable bolted up and won by five lengths to the short priced favourite Rhododendron in the driving rain. In the Derby, Aidan O’Brien’s outsider Wings Of Eagles found the ‘golden highway’ and won under Padraig Beggy, giving a spectacular performance. He was later retired after sustaining an injury in the Irish equivalent of the race he won.

Ascot next and it wasn’t short of amazing performances. American superstar Lady Aurelia set fire to the racetrack in front of a bustling Royal Ascot crowd whilst winning the King’s Stand. Later on, the Gold Cup was won by loveable stayer Big Orange. He battled determinedly to the finish under James Doyle in a head to head battle with his long term foe Order Of St George. Then attention turned to the sprinters as unbeaten grey three year old Caravaggio blitzed the field to win the Commonwealth Cup ahead of Harry Angel. Aidan O’Brien won yet another Group One when 1000 Guineas heroine Winter won the Coronation.

Two super sprints followed with the Harry Angel wining the July Cup for Clive Cox and sprint-riding maestro Adam Kirby and the Nunthorpe being won by Marsha in a brilliantly close finish between her and Lady Aurelia. Lady Aurelia was ahead in the final half-furlong and needed the line but Marsha was coming for her under Luke Morris’s strong drive. It was close. Frankie Detorri began his trademark wining routine of shhshing the crowd but he was wrong. Marsha had prevailed!

The two year old races in the latter half of the season were ace. US Navy Flag put his classic credentials out there when winning the Dewhurst for power house Coolmore and younger, less-experienced trainer George Scott’s James Garfield won brilliantly in the Mill Reef. The horse, owned by his father-in-law, is going stateside for the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf.

The season was climaxed in tremendous style at British Champions Day. Stars of the season shone like Cracksman, Hydrangea and Order of St George and old favourite Labrisa Breeze won after struggling to this season.

The only question is- will the jumps season be as good as this?

 

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