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The Classics So Far – Ranking The Top Performers From Newmarket & Epsom’s Big Races

The first four Classics have now been and gone, with some stellar performances lighting up the flat season. We have analysed the top performances, including among the beaten horses, from the 1000/2000 Guineas and the Derby/Oaks, as well as previewing where the protagonists may run next.

1. Desert Crown (Derby, 1st)

Getting an exact measure on DESERT CROWN’s Derby performance is not easy. Sir Michael Stoute had expressed doubt before both the Dante and Epsom about how ready this champion may be for his assignments.

In both, he earned the very highest grade. He swept clear at York and then put the Derby to bed in a matter of strides as soon as Richard Kingscote asked him too.  It was devastating, and remarkable too that he drifted just before the off in both starts this season despite ultimately winning both decisively.

There is potentially even more to come from him, a frightening thought for any who may dare cross paths later this season. On the flip side, some have pointed to the runner-up being a 150/1 outsider, with none of his market rivals landing a blow. However, he was 2½ lengths clear and hard-held by the line. In another universe, he may have won by five lengths or more.

Where to go next is now a complex decision. Two 1m4f options in the Irish Derby and Grand Prix De Paris have opened up, as has the potential to pitch him against older horses in the Eclipse at the start of July, as he does not look too short on speed for 1m2f. He is entered in none of those three contests, but supplementing could be an option for any of them.

Alternatively, there is the even more enticing allure of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot at the end of July. He will almost certainly be favourite wherever he heads next, as the yard work back with the ultimate aim of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe to end the season.

2. Coroebus (2000 Guineas, 1st)

His 2000 Guineas success now feels like quite some time ago, but COREBUS is only rated 2lb inferior to Desert Crown on official ratings. The important judges did not see too much in it between them.

Certainly, the Godolphin horse beat more reputable opponents into the places. In Native Trail and Luxembourg, the other two of the three favourites for the race filled second and third, with the trio pulling two lengths and more clear of the field. The clases we hoped for certainly materialised in a way they did not in the Derby.

Coroebus did not run in May, but does look set to return very soon. He is a short-priced favourite for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot next week, which is unsurprising. The winners of both the Irish and French 2000 Guineas were also trained by Charlie Appleby and are uncertain runners in the race, for all they both still hold entries.

Thereafter, Coroebus has another three entries throughout 2022. The Eclipse offers a chance to go up in trip to 1m2f, as would the Irish Champion Stakes further down the line. However, the one that sticks out is the 1m Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, in which he could meet unbeaten superstar Baaeed.

He looked an out-and-out miler with his speed and turn-of-foot at Newmarket. He could end the season deposing an older champion too.

3. Emily Upjohn (Oaks, 2nd)

The first of the unlucky losers on this list, and none were as creully denied as EMILY UPJOHN.

Slowly away in rear, the giant filly, sent off favourite for the Oaks at Epsom, had given the rest of the field at least three lengths. Whatever “Plan A” was for Frankie Dettori, it must have been shelved nearly immediately.

With the front-runners opting to come down the near rail at the top of Epsom’s camber, Emily Upjohn came widest of all, delivering a powerful challenge inside the final three furlongs. Despite swamping the majority of her opposition, Ryan Moore had cajoled a brilliant effort out of Tuesday down the centre too.

The head-bobbing finish went the way of Aidan O’Brien’s filly, but many feel a rematch would be more one-sided. Indeed, though the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot next week could give a more immediate chance at compensation, the Irish Oaks at the Curragh will be an option of more considerable interest.

So taking was her game runner-up effort, that Emily Upjohn was briefly made favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. That was until Desert Crown came along.

4. Tuesday (Oaks, 1st)

It would be easy to get entirely lost in Emily Upjohn’s valorous second in the Oaks. However, it was also a superb performance from TUESDAY, with the third-placed Nashwa over three lengths behind.

Similarly, it must also be said that Tuesday, from the infamously tricky stall 1, was also slowly away and Moore had to bide his time just as much as Dettori for most of the race. As the field swung round Tattenham Corner, Moore switched to the inside of the field, battling up the straight down the centre.

While she fundamentally prevailed with a timely nod at the line, this was still a big step up from the sister to Minding. 1m4f may well prove to be her trip after placed efforts in the British and Irish 1000 Guineas.

She officially has seven more entries this season, though with two of those being over 1m and the Ribblesdale Stakes only at Group 2 level next week, one would imagine those could be discounted. Instead, the later middle-distance options look more likely.

One of the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes or Sandown’s Eclipse over 1m2f could well be her next destination, but a rematch with Emily Upjohn in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh is not out of the question either.

5. Cachet (1000 Guineas, 1st)

Although she comes out bottom of the British Classic winners, there has been a lot to like about what CACHET has done in 2022.

After winning her trial for the 1000 Guineas in the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes, she led the field throughout in the Newmarket Classic, holding on very gamely late on. James Doyle may have judged the pace superbly, she was still well on top until the very dying embers of the race, when Prosperous Voyage made a late charge.

Back in third, of course, was Oaks heroine Tuesday, so the form was given a boost in that respect. Moreover, she nearly managed to repeat the trick in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) just two weeks afterwards.

With last year’s Fillies’ Mile winner Inspiral and clear-cut Irish 1000 Guineas scorer Homeless Songs both looking set to descend on Ascot for the Coronation Stakes, Cachet is available at a generous price for that contest. She is a better horse than in her juvenile days and another similar run to her Newmarket effort would make her a tricky target to catch.

6. Native Trail (2000 Guineas, 2nd)

Having won the Irish 2000 Guineas since defeat to stablemate Coroebus, it would be tempting to rank last year’s star juvenile a fair bit higher.

However, on his run in British Classics alone, it is difficult to give NATIVE TRAIL any more credit than sixth on this list. Moreover, it should be noted that his official rating has actually dropped 1lb since his first run of this season, when victorious at prohibitive odds in the Craven Stakes.

His second in the 2000 Guineas possibly owed to him being drawn on the wrong side of the track, but though he gained recompense in the Irish equivalent, he was not quite as convincing as he might have been. There is a chance that connections will look to switch things up.

For all that he is entered in the St James’s Palace Stakes next week, that looks the primary domain of Coroebus and there is a strong chance that Native Trail may go up to 1m2f for the Eclipse at Sandown. With that race not a definitive target for any of the above, the son of Oasis Dream could well find that event sets up beautifully for him.

7. Westover (Derby, 3rd)

With the greatest of respect to Derby runner-up Hoo Ya Mal, his second was earned through a perfect trip through the field, only bettered by that of winner Desert Crown. The eyecatcher of those beaten was doubtlessly WESTOVER, one of two unlucky losers for Ralph Beckett and Rob Hornby in the Classics this term.

On his step up to 1m4f after a win in Sandown’s Classic Trial at the start of this season, he found himself boxed in twice in the straight, as Hornby had to wait until Desert Crown, and indeed Hoo Ya Mal, had flown beyond a catchable distance. Eventually switched outside, he fairly flew home, almost catching Andrew Balding’s charge.

Hornby was particularly frustrated that the partnership were denied the chance to have challenged the winner. Though Desert Crown may have had a lot in hand, Westover may have made the race interesting with a clearer run through.

With his effort not having gone unnoticed, Westover shortened substantially for a number of later possibilities. The King Edward VII Stakes may come too soon and Beckett and co may well fancy a tilt at the Irish Derby even if Desert Crown goes there. With that rival not entered for that race, they possess the current favourite.

He is also a clear favourite for the St Leger at Doncaster in September. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe may be on the radar too.

8. Prosperous Voyage (1000 Guineas, 2nd)

She may have only won one of her seven races, but PROSPEROUS VOYAGE may have been most unlucky in a race in which she did not even compete.

She was placed in Group company three times at two, including in the Fillies’ Mile behind Inspiral. This season, her late challenge came just out of time in the 1000 Guineas as Cachet and James Doyle held on from the front.

The second of Ralph Beckett’s vanquished placed horses on this list, she was then set to be favourite for the 1m2f Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary only to encounter travel problems. Beckett must be wondering when the yard’s top horses will get some luck.

Perhaps this daughter of Zoffany will find some soon, with two entries at Ascot next week. Intriguingly, she is a shorter price for the 1m4f Ribblesdale Stakes than the Group 1 Coronation Stakes over 1m, suggesting the step up in trip could well be favoured.