The Coolmore stallion Choisir dominated Royal Ascot's two big sprints on Saturday with his only two runners of the day. First up was the G1 Golden Jubilee Stakes over 6f, this was won by STARSPANGLEDBANNER trained by Aidan O'Brien by 1 3/4 lengths from Society Rock in a time of 1 min 12.57 secs. He had been the subject of rave reports all week about the times per furlong he had been recording at home, said to be 9 seconds. After the race O'Brien said "Weve never had anything like this fellow. He works like a quarter horse. You saw today what we see at home - and I dont want to be accused of hyping him. When a horse can do that kind of work, weve never seen it, and he is without doubt the fastest sprinter I have ever trained. To go that fast, furlong by furlong, you dont record those kind of times". Strong words indeed from the trainer of some of the greatest horses we have seen in modern times.
Next up was the Wokingham also run over the 6f and here we had coming into the race a horse who hadnt run for 610 days and who had only run 4 times in her career before. She had preveiously shown she was capable of winning this race when she last ran at Ascot and recorded a time of 1 min 13.10 secs when she was 3. On Saturday she was held up off the pace on the stands rail before being produced by Johnny Murtagh to win this competitive handicap with ease in a course record time of 1 min 12.27 secs. It was without doubt the best sprint performance we have seen for sometime and if she improves from this who knows what she could be capable of, Aidan O'Brien must have looked on in disbelief as the time of Starspangledbanner was bettered in some style by a horse that had been off the track for nearly 2 years.
To see one great sprinter in a day you would count yourself as blessed, but to see 2 within 40 minutes of each other was a memorable day and lets hope we see them both lining up for the July Cup in what could turn out to be the sprint race of the season. Johnny Murtagh having ridden both is the person who has the most insight as to which is best and someone is going to get one hell of a ride on Laddies Poker Two at Newmarket.
What of Choisir, who proved himself to be a great sprinter in his time and now he is truly a sire of great sprinters. Hopefully he will be around for many years to come as he is still only 11 years of age and we will see many more of his progeny gracing the racecouses of the world.