Talking Points: Moore Weighs In To Defend Auguste Rodin From Critics

Ryan Moore: “As soon as you get beat, they want to have a go at you.” | Racingfotos.com

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There was no shortage of talking points to unpick from Wednesday. From Sands Of Mali bagging a breakthrough winner at the royal meeting to Karl Burke and Wathnan racing enjoying a change of fortune and even Ryan Moore coming out of his shell to defend Auguste Rodin, the action on and off the track did not disappoint. 

Sands Of Mali Puts His Name In Lights

It proved to be a big day for Ballyhane Stud's Sands Of Mali (Fr), who became the first of the freshman sires to get off the mark at the royal meeting when Ain't Nobody (Ire) landed the Windsor Castle. 

Sands Of Mali has had five individual winners in Europe so far this season. Only Sergei Prokofiev, who has seven, is having a better time of it. 

Ain't Nobody was fittingly sold by Joe Foley's Ballyhane outfit at the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale for £30,000 to Stephen Hillen and trainer Kevin Ryan. 

He's now two from two and, judging by Wednesday's smooth success under Jamie Spencer, will continue to fly the flag for his young sire on the biggest of stages. 

Welcome Change In Fortune

What a difference a day can make in this game. Just 24 hours previously, Karl Burke was left cursing his luck when Andesite (GB) (Pinatubo {Ire}) was unable to run in the Coventry. 

However, Leovanni (Ire) (Kodi Bear {Ire}) provided the trainer with a much-needed tonic on Wednesday when confirming herself a hugely classy prospect with victory in the Queen Mary.

Leovanni Provides Another Boost For The Breeze-Ups

Horses sourced from the breeze-up sales hit the crossbar in the Coventry on Monday but Leovanni did her bit to fly the flag for the sector with that stunning performance in the Queen Mary. There should be even more to come. 

Lack Of International Competition A Worry

Sod's law dictates that Wesley Ward will go and win the Norfolk with Saturday Flirt (Mendelssohn) but it must be said that the American trainer's raiding party has not packed the same punch in recent years. 

Ward become the first US-based handler to record a winner at the royal meeting when sending out Strike The Tiger (Tiger Ridge) to win the Windsor Castle at odds of 33-1 in 2009

Since then, Ward amassed 11 more winners, but is now winless at the meeting since Campanelle (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) was awarded the 2021 Commonwealth Cup in the stewards' room. 

International competition underpins meetings like Royal Ascot and, if one thing has been missing so far this week, it has been genuine challengers from overseas. Ward operating in his pomp provided a fascinating subplot to the meeting and it's a pity his raiding squad was reduced to just three runners this year. 

It must be said that the Jose D'Angelo-trained Gabaldon (Gone Astray) ran a fine race when second in the Windsor Castle but the point remains; we need more international runners. 

Running Lion An Important Winner For Howden

Nobody would begrudge David Howden his first Royal Ascot success with Running Lion (GB) (Roaring Lion) in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes. He comes across as a proper good egg and, given how much he puts into the game, it's great to see him getting a result on the biggest of stages. 

Moore Please, Ryan

Is it just me or has Ryan Moore come out of his shell a bit at the age of 40? There was a time when cracking a smile would have counted as the master rider showing emotion. 

Well, he has certainly opened up to the media a bit more in recent times and there was a lot to like about how he defended Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) on ITV Racing after the pair landed the Prince Of Wales's Stakes. 

“He won four Group 1s last year,” Moore told Matt Chapman. “I don't know, people are very quick to knock horses and [Aidan O'Brien] kept the Derby winner in training. As soon as you get beat, they want to have a go at you.”

He continued, “You can never keep everyone happy. He's been a really good horse and done everything beautifully today. He deserved that.”

Questions To Answer After Big-Race Flops

Blue Rose Cen (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}) couldn't land a blow on Auguste Rodin and it would appear that her light is starting to dim.

It will be back to the drawing board for the four-time Group 1 winner and the same applies to her trainer Maurizio Guarnieri after what has been a frustrating week. 

Yeguada Centurion, the ownership and breeding entity of Spanish-based Leopoldo Fernandez Pujals, caused a bit of a stir when removing his horses from trainer Christopher Head at the beginning of the year.  

The disappointing effort of Big Rock (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) in the Queen Anne followed by Blue Rose Cen's below-par run on Wednesday will leave the owner scratching his head.

One Tough Cookie

One of the sights of the week so far was seeing Jessica Harrington looking fit and well in the parade ring prior to Birdman (Ire) (Free Eagle {Ire}) running a fine race to finish third in the G2 Queen's Vase. 

Having been diagnosed with breast cancer last year, Harrington has overcome a torrid time and it is great to see her fighting fit and banging in the winners of late. She's one tough cookie.

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