Sky Lantern was fully expected to land the Falmouth Stakes this afternoon but a monster gamble went astray as, despite being carried across the course by the eventual winner (I imagine Richard Hannon currently has the look of a bulldog trying to chew a wasp), Elusive Kate, the English 1000Gns and Coronation Stakes winner was never looking likely to get by John Gosden’s Prix Rothschild winner of 2012.
Bets of £50k were struck and I imagine Clive Brittain type jigs of delight are currently being performed in trading rooms up and down the land.
It was, being a four runner race, always going to be a tactical affair but Richard Hughes was never far off the backside of the all the way winner and when William Buick asked Elusive Kate to quicken two furlongs out it was pretty obvious Hughes was going to struggle to take advantage of the 9lb pull he had with the older filly and big wedges of cash stayed in the bookmakers satchels.
The sectionals clearly showed that they were barely cantering for two thirds of the race and that Buick was quite content to sort this out from the front, confident his filly would go for home when asked and be able to hold off what he must have also known would be a persistent challenge all the way to the line.
A Stewards enquiry was called but only the most optimistic amongst those holding losing vouchers will have been expecting to hand them back to their layers.
My opinion that this seasons three year olds, bar the French trained Intello, are an average bunch is again vindicated but it’s a long season and we’ll see what comes next.