Galileo Gold, Minding, Found and Nyquist. These were just some of the beaten favourites from a scintillating, if unpredictable, weekend of racing.
This isn’t a time to lament those defeats though with those results having further ignited what’s turning into a captivating and highly competitive flat racing season.
And with that, step forward Awtaad, Jet Setting, Fascinating Rock, Exaggerator and many more victorious fancies for Royal Ascot and beyond.
Here’s a run-down of the big talking points…
Get set for a super St. James’s Palace Stakes
Royal Ascot’s one-mile showpiece is shaping up to be some contest in 22 days time.
Three Guineas winners are set to go to post with Saturday’s Irish 2000 Guineas hero Awtaad, Newmarket winner Galileo Gold and French Guineas victor The Gurkha heading the market for this year’s St. James’s Palace Stakes.
Palmer told the Racing Post: “The St. James’s Palace is meant to be the championship decider between the two Guineas winners and if The Gurkha comes as well what a race we have to savour – better than The Derby.”
What next for Ballydoyle’s stable stars?
It’s fair to say Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has had far more enjoyable weekends.
None of his four Irish 2000 Guineas performers were able to land a blow with Air Force Blue putting in another horror performance. A return to sprinting has been mooted with our traders making last year’s champion juvenile a 10/1 shot for the Commonwealth Cup.
And then there’s Minding. The standout Guineas winner at HQ was touched off by bargain buy Jet Setting in the Irish edition, albeit with far more mitigating circumstances.
A blow in the stalls appeared to hamper AOB’s star filly although the man himself wasn’t about to make too many excuses.
Minding remains the even-money favourite for the Oaks in just under two week’s time with stablemate Ballydoyle next best at 4/1.
There was more disappointment to come with O’Brien’s Found beaten into second-place by Fascinating Rock in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
The latter will most likely run again in this autumn’s Champion Stakes at Ascot while Found is the 4/1 joint-favourite for next month’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Nyquist still Belmont-bound despite Preakness hiccup
There might not be another Triple Crown success this year but that won’t dampen the hype ahead of next month’s Belmont Stakes.
Kentucky Derby hero Nyquist lost out to re-opposing rival Exaggerator in Saturday’s Preakness and in doing so surrendered his unbeaten record.
Nyquist’s three-and-a-half length loss in the Pimlico slop had ended hopes of emulating American Pharoah’s 2015 heroics but the result has served to set-up a different kind of season-defining clash.
It’s also swung the pendulum in Exaggerator’s favour with Keith Desormeaux’s charge the 7/4 favourite for victory in New York and Nyquist rated the 3/1 outsider.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.