The Fugue Again Shows She Is Top Class
Anybody who read my blog (writes Phil Smith) after last year’s Ebor Meeting at York will know what a great fan I am of The Fugue. When conditions and circumstances are right for her (a fast pace and good ground) there are very few (fillies or colts) that can match her turn of foot at the business end of the race.
Well last week’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot produced a course record so everything appeared to be in her favour. Of course very few people really expected her to beat Treve. However I was quite hopeful that if she ran up to her best 123 then she would give the French filly a run for her money as Treve had only posted a 119 performance figure on her seasonal re-appearance in the Prix Ganay.
After her scintillating performance there was a temptation to call The Fugue 123 again, indeed the Australian Handicapper on our worldwide international database has done just that and you can see why. However I could see no reason why Magician had not repeated his 123 of last year as he was two-and-a-half lengths ahead of Mukhadram who is a solid and consistent 119. Indeed Mukhadram who was ridden with more restraint at Ascot has produced performances of 118 and above in five of his last six races.
It was then just a matter of deciding what value to put on The Fugue’s 1.75 length victory over Magician. Literally it brought her out at 123 the same as Magician when you take into account her fillies’ allowance. However if we were trying to get The Fugue and Magician to run a dead heat in a handicap next time, then you would call her victory more like 2.25 lengths and she would end up a pound clear of Magician as she won with some authority. I believe it to be The Fugue’s best ever performance.
The Fugue may always be vulnerable in a slowly run 10 furlong race as she stays a mile and a half well so it will be interesting to see how she goes for the rest of the year. She has now beaten the boys on two occasions which is a big deal for the International Handicappers and her 124 is the highest performance figure by a filly in the world in 2014 so far.
I suspect all roads will lead to Santa Anita where I hope she will achieve redemption for last year.
My other terrific performance of the week was by Telescope who produced a Harbinger-esque performance in the Hardwicke Stakes. This was a more difficult performance to evaluate as the opposition although worthy was as you would expect in a Group 2 race of Group 2 level. I had Hillstar performing at 112 which is below what he is capable of but he had a difficult passage in the home straight so I cannot have him running up to his best.
Telescope was ridden almost to the line so I can only call the winning margin of seven lengths as 11lbs. but it still shows him to be a 123 horse and he will clearly take all the beating if conditions are suitable at Ascot for the King George. How much fun would it be if Australia who we also have on 123 turned up to take him on. Who would win?