Sectional Debrief: Royal Ascot, Thursday June 20

Ryan Moore was seen to good effect on Estimate

Simon Rowlands concentrates on the action at Royal Ascot on Ladies' Day in his latest sectional debrief... 

It should have been an advantage to be forwardly placed turning into the straight, and Ryan Moore on the eventual winner Estimate was just that, in fourth only about two lengths down on front-running Earl of Tinsdal... 

The "colour" writers will be in meltdown after Ladies' Day at Royal Ascot provided enough story lines to last a week, never mind a day, but there was plenty for dispassionate analysts to get their teeth into also. 

Firstly, there was the state of the ground, which was extremely quick but apparently safe. Not only did the winner of the Norfolk Stakes, the US raider No Nay Never, break the juvenile course record for five furlongs (with a time of 58.80s), but second and third did too. Useful performers though the trio are, these sorts of things happen only when conditions allow them to.    

There was little danger of a course record falling in the 14-runner Gold Cup, following a steady early pace, and only around seven lengths separated first and last at the 3f marker. As the finishing speeds show, all but the last two home completed at a speed faster than their average race speed (there is some dispute about the overall race time). 

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As it was, it should have been an advantage to be forwardly placed turning into the straight, and Ryan Moore on the eventual winner Estimate was just that, in fourth only about two lengths down on front-running Earl of Tinsdal. 

From that point, Estimate was only third- or fourth-fastest, by our reckoning, but that was good enough to see him home in front. Top Trip posted a similar sectional to Estimate, while Altano and Simenon ran faster still, the latter breaking 36.0s in the process having turned in the best part of three lengths in arrears of the winner.

That is not to say that Simenon was unlucky for sure, as a one-off sectional gives only a snapshot of proceedings and Simenon did come to have every chance in the final furlong. But he ran quickest from 3f out in a race in which that was more difficult than usual, and those are the facts.

By way of comparison, the other winners on the round course ran closing sectionals of approximately 35.6s/105.0% finishing speed (Riposte, 12f), 35.75s/109.3% finishing speed (Remote, 10f) and 35.95s/105.0% finishing speed (Elidor, 12f). It was a day of high-speed finishes, on the round course at least, in other words. 

The eye-catchers on sectionals among those races were Remote and the horse that finished second to him, Shikarpour (35.45s last 3f), in the Tercentenary Stakes, and Space Ship (35.55s last 3f) and Cap O'Rushes (35.45s, last 3f), who finished best of all to be second and fourth respectively in the concluding King George V Stakes, having been out the back turning in. 

Space Ship and Cap O'Rushes can both rate a fair bit higher and have now been added to the "to follow" list on this regular sectional debrief.

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