Qipco Champions Day certainly lived up to it’s name and in Muhaarar we saw a truly exceptional sprinter.
Often even some of the best of the summer speed merchants can be a bit hit and miss.
Brilliant on their day but frustratingly capable of throwing in dreadfully inept performances too.
But this Charlie Hills’ flying machine is the real deal, a very worthy winner in what was the first running of this race as a Group One.
While starting to go slightly in his coat, he was as sharp and sure as a bullet here.
Very often three year olds struggle a bit against their elders in sprints, but it was nearly a clean sweep for the classic generation this time.
Twilight Son chased Muhaarar home with The Tin Man back in fourth while the useful four year old Danzeno was third.
While Gordon Lord Byron won the race last year, generally Ascot has not been a happy hunting ground for Tom Hogan’s veteran.
He had to settle for 12th place this time, one spot behind another former Tipperary trained star Maarek.
So four Group Ones in a row for Muhaarar and he is certainly lord and master of the sprinting world right now.
Dermot Weld has an excellent record at this meeting, yet for all that Fascinating Rock seemed an optimistic entry for the Qipco Champion Stakes.
While game, pacey and consistent, he looked a runner that was always destined to thrive just below the top level.
But Weld does seem to do particularly well with late developers and it’s great to hear that the Rock stays in training next season.
Found came from the next parish to take second and she was out with the washing early and indeed was last turning in.
Whether this was the agreed plan or not isn’t clear.
Either way no blame was attached to Ryan Moore. Now, if it had been Joseph…
Found is likely to stay in training next year where she’ll put it up to the best of them.
However stablemate Tapestry faded noticeably in the Fillies & Mares and it remains to be seen whether she races again.
Jack Hobbs was disappointing while Ribbons never landed a blow and is probably best served by races against her own sex at this stage.
The ground was always against Gleneagles in the QE2 and he was possibly in need of a race too but nothing should take away from the brilliance of Solow.
In total contrast to the Sprint this race has been dominated by three year olds who have won seven of the last nine.
Statistics are very useful in racing, no question about that, but never forget that great horses with great trainers can often knock them into a cocked hat.
Solow went one better than Muhaarar by taking his fifth Group One in a row and this gifted gelding should make hay again next year.
Last year’s Racing Post winner Elm Park looked very special last season but disappointed big time now.
Sadly for whatever reason he has never reproduced the magic this term.
The Charlie Appleby trained Endless Time goes into the notebook after a runaway victory in the Bluebell Stakes at Naas.
Winner of a Goodwood handicap in May – where she beat Simple Verse! – she has had mixed form since, including two contrasting performances at Newmarket.
But this was mighty impressive. It’s no secret that Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen both rate Almela very highly.
And that filly had looked well worthy of their high regard in two runs at Galway.
Yet she was very much playing second fiddle in the closing stages, and the four and a half lengths margin doesn’t really reflect how superior Endless Time was on the day.
Qatar Racing recently transferred Queen Catrine from Charlie Hills to Ger Lyons.
And the move paid quick dividends when she took the Garnet Stakes with some authority, really icing the cake for Prince Fahad for whom it was a weekend to treasure.
Whether she stays in training is still undecided but if Lyons gets his way she most certainly will.
As it is she looks well up to Group 3 class, and with further improvement who knows how far she could go.
Back next Saturday.