Road to the winner’s enclosure
SATURDAY 3.40 HARDWICKE STAKES
CRYSTAL OCEAN’S three-yearold career, which included victory in the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, culminated with a fine second place behind Capri in the St Leger at Doncaster. He looked a typical Sir Michael Stoute improver and it proved to be the case. The son of Sea The Stars made his reappearance in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown and justified even-money favouritism under Ryan Moore with a short-head verdict over Fabricate. His next port of call was the Aston Park Stakes, where he faced only four rivals, and this time he started odds-on favourite. It proved a much easier task as he scored by six lengths, again under Moore. Crystal Ocean had just the four opponents in the Hardwicke Stakes and was odds-on for the second successive race. This time he was two and a half lengths too good for Red Verdon. He finished second on his final three starts of the season – to Poet’s Word in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Enable in the September Stakes and Cracksman in the Champion Stakes.