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Al Aasy Defeat Shows Just How Precarious Life At The Top Can Be

Gavin Beech for Bookies.com

Gavin Beech  | 5 mins

Al Aasy Defeat Shows Just How Precarious Life At The Top Can Be

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'One minute you’re cock of the walk, the next you’re a feather duster.' It's a well-known phrase used to highlight just how quickly things can change in any walk of life.

Step forward Al Aasy, who appeared to have the racing world at his feet when strolling to victory in two Newbury Group 3s earlier in the season.

William Haggas and his team had sights fixed firmly on major prizes like the King George VI, Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and who can blame them.

However, just two runs later, Al Aasy’s career has hit the buffers. A narrow defeat to Pyledriver in the Group 1 Coronation Cup was forgivable given the desperate ground at Epsom but his reversal in the Princess Of Wales's Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket’s July Festival set the alarm bells ringing.

Quicker than ideal terrain on the July Course might not have been to the colt’s liking but in terms of raw numbers he really should have beaten the lesser-rated Sir Ron Priestley, who was conceding 3lb to the heavy odds-on favourite.

In both his races this season Al Aasy has loomed up looking to have the contest at his mercy only to be turned away by what appears to be a tougher rival.

There is no doubt that Al Aasy is a high-class colt but something is missing from his arsenal and it is interesting that he has been described by Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell Estate, as ‘a bit of thug who makes life difficult for whoever is on board’.

This affliction is regarded so severe that merely applying headgear is deemed insufficient – indeed the 4-year-old hasn’t worn an aide of any type in any of his nine career starts.

It is no surprise then, that connections have decided on some drastic action - the cruelest cut of all.

It ruins Al Aasy’s stallion prospects but if he doesn’t realise his potential and win at the top level, he won’t have a stallion career anyway.

There is no doubt that a more tractable Al Aasy, who consents to go to post in a relaxed manner rather than expending valuable energy, could still be a formidable racehorse, in which case it is entirely possible that a gelding operation could be the making of him. So too could a good a good break and some easy autumn ground.

However, connections have been forced into taking a calculated risk that could very easily not pay off.

Al Aasy isn’t the first and won’t be the last potential star to take a wrong turn but he does serve to highlight just how much how many different attributes are required for a horse to reach the top, let alone stay there.

Hurricane Lane Shaping Up To Be a Superstar Colt For Godolphin

Hurricane Lane’s performance in Wednesday night’s Grand Prix de Paris was nothing short of sensational and I would be surprised if Adayar was good enough to beat him again.

Sure, the Derby winner could still turn out to be an absolute monster who carries all before him through the second half of the season.

However, he’ll need to be every bit that monster if he is going to confirm Epsom form with a rival that just goes from strength to strength.

Lest we forget that Hurricane Lane lost both front shoes in the Derby, something that is very likely to have prevented the son of Frankel showing his best form.

He’s certainly made up for it since, showing just how strong a stayer he was to get up late and land the Irish Derby before absolutely thrashing a quality field over the Arc course and distance this week.

William Buick had so much horse under him that he was able to sit close to the pacesetter before kicking in the turbo off the home turn, from which point he was never going to be caught.

Coral reacted by slashing the five-time winner into even money for the St Leger but connections are surely going to be tempted into running this horse in the Arc now (6/1 from 14/1).

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He has proven to be equally effective on fast and slow ground and, unless his stablemate comes out and bolts up in the King George, Hurricane Lane can now assume the title of the best 3-year-old colt in Europe.

If Godolphin could find a way of ensuring the Arc was run at an even tempo then Hurricane Lane could easily go on to even greater glories this term.

If Doncaster's stamina test turns out to be his main autumn target, then the rest are in trouble.

Wordsworth looks the most likely Ballydoyle Leger candidate but he has got nowhere near Hurricane Lane on his last two starts so, even though he is entitled to improve a notch for the extra distance, it is surely too big of an ask to expect him to reverse the placings.

The three-time Group 1 winner now has a genuine chance of overhauling Cracksman (peak official rating of 130), as the best offspring of Frankel. A second victory over the mile-and-a-half track at Longchamp on October 3rd could be the performance that seals that achievement.

About the Author

Gavin Beech for Bookies.com
Gavin Beech
Gavin Beech has worked in the betting industry for almost 20 years and is an experienced sports betting writer and tipster. He has worked for MailOnline and the Racing Post.