The Five Biggest Shocks of the Flat Season

2018: Five Biggest Shocks

The curtain on the flat season has nearly fallen, and with only the November Handicap left to run at Doncaster, it’s an apt time to reflect on what has been a magical, history-making season. From Enable’s Arc and Breeder’s Cup Turf heroics to Stradivarius’ Millionaire breakthrough, the flat has certainly given fans a 2018 to remember. Of course, no season goes by without some hiccups and surprises, and here are the five biggest shocks of the 2018 Flat season.

1. Alpha Delphini, 2018 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes

It was billed to be the fastest horse in the world’s defining moment, gaining vengeance from his defeat at York 12 months previously, but the Battaash bubble well and truly burst on the Knavesmire again. It was left to the northern contingent of Mabs Cross and Alpha Delphini to fight out a pulsating finish.

It was heartbreak for the Mabs Cross team, but adulation for everyone associated with Alpha Delphini, who was an unconsidered 40/1 shot but prevailed in a photo finish by a mere pixel on the click of the camera.

The north had yet again struck in their most prestigious sprint race, and while the shock of Battaash’s defeat remained in the air in the aftermath, nobody could begrudge how fitting the success was for Alpha Delphini and co.

It was Bryan Smart’s first top level victory since Tangerine Trees in the 2011 Prix De L’Abbaye and on a more emotional scale, jockey Graham Lee’s first since returning from a successful battle against depression.

(Credit Racing UK)

2. Billesdon Brook, 2018 Qipco 1000 Guineas

Cast your minds back to the blistering bank holiday weekend at the start of May, Saxon Warrior roared away to win the 2000 Guineas and many expected team Ballydoyle to double up in the fillies’ version with Happily.

History was made in the race, however not in the way anyone at the Rowley Mile. Unfancied chestnut Billesdon Brook, whose best form to date was a weak group three win at Goodwood and a fourth in the Free Handicap two weeks earlier, stormed to an al-the-way success under Sean Levey.

In the process, not only did she give trainer Richard Hannon a second classic success, but became the longest-priced winner in 1000 Guineas history at 66/1.

Racegoers were left scratching their heads to where that performance came from, with her beaten rivals including the dual group one winner Wild Illusion, and classic winner Laurens, who in fact caused the next biggest shock…

(Credit ITV Racing)

3. Laurens, 2018 Matron Stakes

On good ground, Alpha Centauri was nearly unstoppable. Nearly.

The grey had pulverised her opposition all Summer, and the Irish Champions Weekend was expected to crown her the Queen of the Mile division. But, just as earlier in this piece, a tough, gutsy northern horse had other ideas.

Laurens put up one of the most teak performances, as she had done all year, to fend off Alpha Centauri’s challenge to silence the Irish in the crowd, which many rarely do.

Her price of an unconsidered 10/1 was no doubt an insult, especially given she was a three-time, classic winner by this stage. Nonetheless, only a hardy few will have seen Laurens dethroning the Queen, and in turn, becoming one of the most durable and well-liked horses in training.

(Credit RTE Racing)

4. Masar, 2018 Investec Derby

The hype surrounding Saxon Warrior was raging. The son of Deep Impact’s 2000 Guineas win had already prompted many astute racing experts to declare him the first winner of the triple crown since Nijinsky. Oh how wrong were they.

Saxon Warrior wasn’t meant to be, Roaring Lion didn’t pass the extreme test, but under-the-radar Masar did, giving Godolphin their first ever success in the Royal Blue.

He was a 20/1 shot in the morning, and still only went off at a hefty 16/1 by post time, yet Masar powered away on the downs, to the delight of few racegoers who had a simple sum on him.

The race was one of the highlights of the season, and it was a real shame that shortly after, Masar was ruled out for the season with injury, and wasn’t able to confirm his Derby form against the stars that came out of the race.

(Credit Racing UK)

5. Poet’s Word, Prince of Wales’s Stakes

The final shock seems to follow a familiar theme to many: all the hype, no performance.

That was the case with the lacklustre Cracksman, who found the improving Poet’s Word too good on the day in the blistering Ascot heat.

While being a typical Sir Michael Stoute improver, many expected Cracksman to bounce back from another previous lacklustre performance. But it wasn’t to be, in James Doyle aboard Poet’s Word took heed of Cracksman’s tardiness throughout the contest.

Many undue names were given to Cracksman in the aftermath of the shock of being turned over at such a short price, yet a month later at the very same track, everyone associated with horse racing had a moment of realisation.

In the wake of Poet’s Word’s admirable King George and Queen Elizabeth Stake’s success, the penny finally dropped that Poet’s Word was a fantastic middle-distance horse in his own right.

(Credit NBCSN)

Free Bets & Offers


🚀 BET £10 & GET £50 IN FREE BETS! 🚀
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY. £10 MINIMUM STAKE. ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 5 X £10 BET TOKEN. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS FOR FOOTBALL ONLY. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS AND FURTHER T&CS APPLY. 18+. BEGAMBLEAWARE.ORG.
Claim Bonus
✅ BET £10 & GET £30 IN FREE BETS ✅
New UK, IE & Malta customers only. 18+. Min £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card or Trustly. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5. Free bets expire in 90 days. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🏇🏼 50% UP TO £50 WELCOME BONUS 🏇🏼
18+ begambleaware.org; New bettors get 50% of deposit up to £50; Once per household; Min deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Wager a total of 8 times deposit + bonus, with max qualifying bet stake equal to your initial bonus amount; Bonus expires after 60 days; Min odds of 4/5 on singles, or 2/5 per leg for acca; Some bet types excluded; See full terms; See full terms; Terms apply; 18+
CLAIM HERE
🎉 BET £10 & GET £60 FREE BETS! 🎉
New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+). First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🐎 BET £10 ON RACING & GET £40 IN FREE BETS (MOBILE ONLY) 🐎
18+. Play Safe. New customers using Promo code Z40 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 4 x £10/€10, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. See full terms below. #ad
Claim Bonus
🔵 GET £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £5 🔵
18+ New UK & ROI Customers only. Min deposit £5. Min first £5 bet at minimum odds 1/2 to qualify for 1x 20 free bet. Certain deposit methods and bet types excl. Free bet valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
😍 UP TO £40 MONEY BACK AS BONUSES IF YOUR FIRST RACING BET LOSES + £10 CASINO BONUS!!! 😍
18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first racing bet loses. Wagering: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Sports bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Full T&Cs apply. #Ad.
Claim Bonus
🔸 BET £10 AND GET £30 IN FREE BETS! 🔸
New Customer offer. Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly
Claim Bonus
🐎 Bet £10 on Horse Racing and Get £45 in Free Bets 🐎
Min deposit £10 • Offer is valid Friday – Sunday • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of £10+ on a horse racing market • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet placement • Free Bets expire after 3 days & are valid for horse racing markets only • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Restrictions apply to withdrawals, payment methods & countries. Full T&C’s apply. 18+.
Claim Bonus
🟢 Bet £10 & Get £50 in free bets! 🟡
For new customers. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🔵 BET £10 & GET £20 IN FREE BETS 🔵
New UK customers (Excluding NI) only. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. Free bet applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. 1 Free Bet offer per customer, household & IP Address only. 18+. T&Cs apply. ** 18+. 1/5 odds 11 Places in the Open Championship. Pre-live each-way bets on the outright market only. Dead Heat rules apply. T&C's Apply. T&Cs apply
Claim
🟠 BET £10 & GET £20 IN FREE BETS! 🟠
*New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from crediting (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org
CLAIM HERE
🌟 Get a Free Bet up to £35 Plus 10 Free Spins!
If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting, QuinnBet will refund 50% of your losses as a Free Bet up to £35 (min 3 bets) Plus 10 Free online casino spins at QuinnCasino. Even if your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 10 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | BeGambleAware.org
Claim Bonus
🔹 GET £30 IN BONUSES WHEN YOU BET £5 🔹
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus a £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply, see below. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
Claim Bonus
💥 GET £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £5 ON RACING!!! 💥
18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first £/€5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 4x £/€5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🏇 BET £25 & GET 5x £5 IN FREE BETS! 🏇
Key Terms: Valid for new UK & Irish customers. Only customers registering and playing via mobile are eligible for this offer. Min qualifying deposit £25. Min odds apply for free bets. 2 day expiry for free bets. 18+.
CLAIM HERE
GET A £30 MATCHED FREE BET IF YOUR FIRST FOOTBALL ACCA LOSES!!!! 🙌🙌🙌
*New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+ BeGambleAware.org Full terms apply.
Claim Bonus