Talking Points: Life After Frankie Won't Be Bleak With Magical Murphy Around

Oisin Murphy: showed his class aboard Shaquille |


I don't know about you, but I can't seem to remember a better big-race ride in recent times than what Oisin Murphy produced in winning the G1 Commonwealth Cup aboard Julie Camacho's Shaquille (GB) (Charm Spirit {Ire}).

It would be hard enough to win a middle-of-the-road handicap after blowing the start like Shaquille did. A Group 1 at Ascot? You must be having a laugh. 

The in-running punters agreed and quickly laid Shaquille at odds all the way up to 90 on the exchanges. Ouch. But even when Shaquille got to the quarters of Little Big Bear (Ire) (No Nay Never), the layers must still have fancied the heavy favourite to fight back given the ground Murphy's mount had to make up to get into a winning position. 

That's what made the ride a brilliant one. It was Murphy's reaction to the poor start that ultimately made the difference. While other riders would have panicked and tried to make up that ground lost in the early stages, Murphy kept calm, and never put Shaquille on his head. 

It would be doing Shaquille and Murphy a disservice by saying that the leaders went too quick up front which resulted in a burn up. The early indications on times would suggest that that wasn't the case at all. 

It's best to chalk this down as a top-notch performance from a sprinter on the up and an even better ride from Murphy. 

As for the runner-up, Little Big Bear, one could draw comparisons between him and the former Ballydoyle-trained Ten Sovereigns (Ire), another talented son of No Nay Never

Returning to Newmarket during high summer for the July Cup could see Little Big Bear in a better light, as it did Ten Sovereigns, who also tasted defeat in the Commonwealth Cup before scorching to that memorable success at Newmarket. 

Always Leave Them Wanting More

Call me a miserable fart [I've been called worse], but is it not getting a bit repetitive for television presenters to be willing Frankie Dettori to ride on for another year every time he bags a winner on the big stage?

One well-respected pundit even commented that, 'John Gosden will be tearing his hair out' as he tries to find a replacement for the legendary jockey. 

Okay, we get it, Frankie is box office and is arguably riding as well this year as he has for a long time but is this a narrative that will continue up until his intended retirement at either the Breeders' Cup or the Melbourne Cup? I certainly hope not. 

Britain is in a good place in terms of the talent in the weighroom, as Oisin Murphy demonstrated aboard Shaquille and as the reigning champion William Buick has proved time and time again, season after season. 

There are few professions where the lines between success and failure are more blurred than race-riding. Such a statement was summed up in commercial fashion by amateur jockey David Maxwell after he won the Champion Hunter Chase on his own horse Bob And Co at Punchestown a couple of years back. 

Maxwell said of his riding endeavours, “some days you are the dog, and then others you are the lampost.”

Frankie has been the top dog of the weighing room for the majority of his career. He made his decision to exit the stage while still operating at the top of his game.

They say all great sports stars should leave their fans wanting more and Frankie is clearly doing that at Ascot this week but it would be a shame to see him relegated to the lampost by staying on longer than he feels his body will permit him to. 

Big Bloodstock Agents Bolster Their Reputation 

It can be easy to roll your eyes and scoff at the role bloodstock agents play in this industry. Touring the world spending other people's money, you say? Where do I sign up?

The reality is that the fickleness of this game that we often hear afflicting trainers and riders also applies to bloodstock agents. This is a results-based business and the big agents need to pull the big-race riches out of the bag the same as everybody else. 

That's what made the exploits of Billy Jackson-Stops, Richard Brown, Mark McStay and others noteworthy this week. 

It has been well-documented that Jackson-Stops bought G2 Duke Of Cambridge S. winner Rogue Millennium (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) for just 35,000gns at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale. 

Brown has inherited a major client in Wathnan Racing and his strike-rate has been nothing short of phenomenal with two Royal Ascot winners Gregory (GB) (Golden Horn {GB}) and Courage Mon Ami (GB) (Frankel {GB}) for the new ownership vehicle, the latter going down as an inspired buy after winning the Gold Cup on just his fourth start.

McStay's fingerprints were all over the G3 Albany S. winner Porta Fortuna (Ire) after he recommended Donnacha O'Brien's Caravaggio filly to American owners after she won her maiden on debut at the Curragh. 

The top agents have certainly earned their fee this week. 

Job Done For Tahiyra – And She's Much Better Than She Showed 

The fewer the runners in a race, the more tactical it becomes. We saw that in the Group 1 feature on Friday with Chris Hayes doing his best to keep things simple on the heavy favourite Tahiyra (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}).

The Irish 1,000 Guineas winner may have only won by a length in the finish and had to overcome a stewards' inquiry after she caused what appeared to be minimal interference to the runner-up Remarquee (GB) (Kingman {GB}), but there are many reasons why she can be deemed much better than what she showed at Ascot. 

Tahiyra's main asset is an explosive burst of speed and she did not get to utilise that in the Coronation S. The stronger the pace, the better Dermot Weld's charge will be, and she rates a hugely-exciting miler to follow for the rest of the season. 

With Paddington (GB) (Siyouni {Fr}) likely to step up in trip and Chaldean (GB) (Frankel {GB}) proving that he is in fact beatable, there could be an opening in that division, and it would be fascinating if she were to take on the colts at some stage in the campaign. She looks the real deal.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. The Commonwealth Cup: Pass or Fail for Britain's Youngest G1?
  2. Haggas Has Royal Ascot Aim For The King And Queen's Desert Hero
  3. Oisin Murphy Joins TDN Writers' Room Podcast
  4. Equinox Crowned Longines World's Best Racehorse 
  5. Kentucky Derby Purse Raised By Churchill Downs To Record $5 Million, 50-Race Stakes Schedule Cumulatively Worth $25.6 Million

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.