The only thing Aussies like more than taking on the Poms is stealing a good kiwi and the Addeybb v Verry Elleegant rivalry satisfies both of those desires.
All that is missing now is a satisfying finale. The 2021 Queen Elizabeth was another thrilling chapter but it hardly felt like a conclusive end.
Punters prepared themselves for a rematch from the Ranvet three weeks prior. Instead they got a rematch of the Ranvet from 56 weeks prior - or at least something more like it.
Like that first meeting, this was a slowly run, tactical affair and it was Addeybb and Tom Marquand who got it most right. Or least wrong, depending on the angle from which you view it.
The overall time could be described as around 15 lengths slow. In other words, given a genuine test, horses the calibre of Addeybb and Verry Elleegant could reasonably be expected to run about 15 lengths faster than the time they produced on the day. They finished quickly but the bird had flown. No fast times here. Just a bunched finish and, once the dust had settled on the thrill of that, the feeling that we'd love to see it again with the gloves off.
That is not to say that the runner up can consider herself unlucky. The ledger now reads 3-1 to Addeybb and that seems a fair reflection of the battle so far. She was outpointed in this tactical affair by the same half-length that seperated them in the even slower (and faster late) test of the 2020 Ranvet.
All four meetings to date have been run slower than optimal but it is noteworthy that the strongest tempo resulted in the widest margin between the pair. Addeybb cleared out to win the 2020 Queen Elizabeth 128 to 117. This year the margin tightened. 124 to 119 the score on the Timeform judge's card.
The theory that Verry Elleegant would benefit from a stronger tempo has some merit but the idea that a stronger tempo would see her more likely to beat Addeybb is lacking for evidence.
Beating Addeybb when the going gets tough is no easy task. In the 18 months since Addeybb earned his place at the top table over 2000m, Verry Elleegant is one of just three horses (from 52 that have tried) to beat Addeybb along with seven-time Group One winner Magical and two-time Group One winner Lord North. He's had nine individual Group One winners in behind in four UK runs in that span.
He's had 17 individual Group One winners finish behind him in the same number of Australian starts as well as the Japanese Group One winner Danon Premium.
More than just fuel for online arguments for those afflicted with equine patriotism, these global formlines help to widen the points of reference for global handicappers, helping them to make more and more accurate estimates. Estimates turned out as ratings that, in a delightful twist, provoke further online jousting.
This ecosystem is where the great England v Australia rivalry survives and thrives and hopefully a few more months of (un)witty banter will set the stage for a fifth meeting between it's latest protagonists. Perhaps round five will take place on the grandest stage of all - Longchamp on Arc Day - or perhaps a typically soaked Ascot on Champions Day were Mother Nature, not a hose, does the watering.
Wherever it occurs, lets just hope that it does, and that it does so with a score-settling tempo.
Other points of interest from across Day Two of The Championships include:
- Selino ran to a Timeform rating of 111 to win a fairly typical modern Sydney Cup, matching the form he showed when second in last season's Doncaster Cup back in England. More global reference points for handicappers and online provocateurs alike.
- Hungry Heart didn't have to better her Vinery form to win the Oaks. A rating of 112 just below the 113 she produced two weeks prior but good enough to get the prize over a fast-finishing Duais. Sectionals could be read to say that the runner up was unlucky to lose given how things unfolded.
- There were no unlucky losers in the Queen Of The Turf. Last year's Doncaster winner Nettoyer cut down the well fancied Probabeel and won going away at the finish. Nettoyer was well suited by ground that raced slower than widely predicted but she was full value for the win on the conditions that were presented on the day.
- The best rating on the card away from the Queen Elizabeth belonged to Wild Ruler who ran to 116 winning the Arrowfield Sprint, basically replicating the form he produced to win the Roman Consul at the same course back in the spring. Interestingly he did so running around a full second slower than Classique Legend did winning the same race two years ago on ground labelled soft.