John Gosden completed a memorable three-timer at Ascot with Stradivarius, Roaring Lion and Cracksman all obliging.
All of three victories were somewhat different. Stradivarius was involved in a messy race. Dettori had him trapped on the rail coming into the last 3f. However, the Italian used all his experience in what was fine ride to win the Group 2 Long Distance Cup.
Roaring Lion’s connections had decided to go for the QEII as opposed to the Champion Stakes. It was considered a gamble with the distance considered to sharp whilst the ground as somewhat an unknown. However, Oisin Murphy was patient, nursing the three-year-old into connection before pushing the button the final furlong. It proved a masterful ride and he prevailed by a neck.
It was Cracksman however who stole the show in a scintillating performance. There is no doubt the horse had his conditions, but his performance in the Champions Stakes was emphatic as he trounced some top-class rivals by seven lengths. Dettori went home early and it proved the right decision and the jockey was celebrating before he had reached the winning post. Again, that’s it for Cracksman who will now also be sent to stud.
The biggest shock of the day came in the Champion Sprint Stakes with Sands of Mali prevailing at odds of 28/1 for Richard Fahy and Paul Hanagan. The horse made all to beat Harry Angel by one length. Previous performances had indicated a Group 1 victory was beyond the three-year-old however this was a massive improvement in a race that favourite Tin Man flopped.
The Fillies and Mares Stakes was the only real source of disappointment in a great day for Gosden. He had the favourite Lah Ti Dar who could only finish third after being trapped wide and taking a keen hold. She did lead at the 2f marker but could not hold off the attention of Magical who won for Aiden O’Brien and Ryan Moore at 5/1. Gosden’s second string Coronet also grabbed second in the final furlong.
The last race of the day was the Balmoral Handicap. In a great race to watch James Doyle got Sharjah Bridge up in the final strides to win for Roger Varian at 8/1. The horse was finishing like a train and denied David O’Meara trained Escobar from springing a 33/1 shock.
The results at Ascot Saturday have had some major effects on the Cartier Horse of the year Standings. Roaring Lion was atop the standing before the day and extends his lead over Alpha Centauri whilst Crackman and Stradivarius have obviously flown up the standings. Whoever is selected, this year has seen some real superstars, most of which are from the yard of John Gosden.