The flat racing season drew to a close at Ascot after a memorable year which saw spectators return to the races after an 18-month absence. While the coronavirus pandemic perhaps overshadowed the initial phases of a calendar full to the brim with the best horses, jockeys and trainers, once government restrictions were eased and stands once again welcomed back punters and racing enthusiast alike, the season really got going.
We saw plenty of shocking upsets and closely run battles across a number of months, culminating in a great final weekend which certainly lived up to expectations. The horse racing tips from Betdaq found so many races tough to call, especially given the added factor the crowd plays. With that in mind, here are some of the best stories from an exciting flat racing season.
Torquator Tasso wins Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Getting things started is perhaps one of the biggest upset Longchamp has seen in its long, prestigious history. Entering as an 80/1 outsider, it was Torquator Tasso who stole the show in the city of love, with many inside the racecourse left to scratch their head and wonder what they had really just witnessed. For a race like the Arc, with so much heritage and prestige, things like this weren’t supposed to happen.
Despite being named after a famous Italian poet, there were simply no superlatives that would do this performance justice as the Germans took over the French capital, with none of the Parisians expecting anything of Rene Piechulek on his first run at the Arc. The outcome goes to show that in flat racing, on the right day with the right conditions, anything is possible.
Emaraaty Ana shocks the Sprint Cup
From an upset in Europe to one a bit closer to home, few expected anything from 40/1 outsider Emaraaty Ana as he took to Haydock for the Sprint Cup, but it was the Kevin Ryan trained five-year-old who took off quickly and managed to sustain his pace to claim the top prize. It had been a few years since Ryan had tasted real success in a Group 1 race, so no one could blame him post-race when he emotionally praised his horse as they saw off the likes of Starman in a close contest:
“He deserves it, we’ve started riding him patiently and the horse has come alive for doing that.” Ryan said: “I’ve had huge faith in the horse and I’m delighted he’s done it. He’s as good a horse as I’ve trained – his work in a morning is brilliant. All my team at home have done a great job, we’re delighted.”
William Buick and Oisin Murphy’s thrilling title race
It was always going to be close. It was always going to be dramatic. The personal battle between Oisin Murphy and William Buick in the British Flat jockeys’ Championship remained neck and neck with both riders gaining wins at Chelmsford a few days prior to a crucial day at Ascot. The pair tore up the history books and defied all expectations as their healthy rivalry, which was almost overshadowed when Murphy failed a breathalyser test at Newmarket, with both looking to seize the initiative.
In the end it was Murphy who claimed a third straight Championship crown thanks to Mickael Barzalona and Sealiway denying Adayar in the Champion Stakes, putting him out of Buick’s reach in a close affair that will go down as one of the best in the history books.