Royal Ascot Talking Points: Wathnan Racing Out Of Luck With Two Near Misses

Wathnan Racing: suffered two narrow defeats on day one but have some big bullets to fire throughout the week |

It was a day that had everything. From Rosallion landing the St James's Palace S. to yet another Australian sprinter showing the Euros how it's done, day one of the royal meeting did not disappoint. Here are some of the talking points.


Faux Pas For The French

Anyone who backed the French raiders Big Rock (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) and Facteur Cheval (Ire) (Ribchester {Ire}) in the Queen Anne knew pretty early that they were not going to get off to a winning start at the royal meeting.

After Christophe Soumillon elected to ignore the rest of the field and make his effort on the far side aboard Big Rock, Maxime Guyon felt it would be best to follow his fellow countryman.

It proved to be a spectacular faux pas for the French raiders and, what's even worse for Guyon who broke from stall seven, is that the winner, Charyn (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), came from two doors down in stall nine.


Big Day For Eustace

That race provided a big moment for trainer Harry Eustace. Despite not winning the Queen Anne, last year's Britannia winner Docklands (GB) (Massaat {Ire}) confirmed that he belongs at the highest level when staying on for second.

A breakthrough Group 1 does not look beyond Docklands on that evidence and Eustace could have a potential candidate to take in big-race international targets.


Wathnan Hitting The Crossbar

Speaking of enhancing your reputation in defeat, Wathnan Racing did exactly that when recent breeze-up purchases Electrolyte (Ire) (Hello Youmzain {Fr}) and Columnist (GB) (Ardad {Ire}) finished second and third in that order in the Coventry.

Bloodstock agent Richard Brown may have been shopping the breeze-up sales with the equivalent of a blank cheque but you still need to come up with the goods.

Had Electrolyte or Columnist raced in the same group as the winner Rashabar (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}), who knows, maybe Wathnan would have been off the mark for the week in the Coventry.

It didn't get any easier for the owners who had to fill the placings yet again in the Wolferton but there are bigger bullets to fire later in the week and one would imagine recent recruit Haatem (Ire) (Phoenix Of Spain {Ire}) will be very hard to beat in the Jersey S. on Saturday.


Unadulterated Speed

How good are those Australian sprinters? By no means a star Down Under, Asfoora (Aus) (Flying Artie {Aus}) picked off the best of the European sprinters in the King Charles III S.

Ed Bethell was left ruing his decision not to opt for the six-furlong Group 1 on Saturday with the runner-up Regional (GB) (Territories {Ire}) after the race but perhaps the trainer was being a little hard on himself.

Meanwhile, Big Evs (Ire) (Blue Point {Ire}) just appeared to be going too fast for his own good by blazing a trail out in front before being swallowed up by the front two.

One would imagine that the Nunthorpe would be tailor-made for Big Evs and he could be hard to beat at York.


The Real Deal

It was billed as a big day for Blue Point, with Big Evs and Rosallion (Ire) holding leading chances in the feature Group 1s on day one, and so it proved with the latter putting in a spellbinding performance to win the St James's Palace S.

Rosallion has now won three Group 1s in three different countries and built on that hard-fought Irish 2,000 Guineas victory with another top-class display at Ascot which can be viewed as something of a coming of age performance.

Of course, Blue Point has some deep Royal Ascot history himself, given he won the King's Stand and Diamond Jubilee sprints within the space of a week back in 2019.

When he joined the Darley roster, it would have been easy to see him siring very fast horses but Tuesday proved that he is not only about speed and precocity. He can get you much more than that and, in Rosallion, he has produced a genuine top-notcher.


Willie In The Bumper

What more can you say about that man? Willie Mullins took the Copper Horse Handicap 12 months ago with Vauban (Fr) (Galiway {GB}), a leading fancy for Thursday's Gold Cup, and who's to say where this year's winner Belloccio (Fr) (Belardo {Ire}) might end up.

Word on the street was that Mullins might not have been bringing his usual power-packed team to Royal Ascot this year but how wrong that proved with Belloccio taking the race with something to spare.

Regardless of the code, be it Flat or jumps, there really is no stopping the Mullins juggernaut.

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