Stars shine on Champions Day at Ascot
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Kenya (2 c Galileo – Tender Morn by Dayjur) confirmed the promise of his brilliant maiden victory at Cork earlier this month when landing the Killavullan Stakes (Gr 3, 7f) at Leopardstown on Sunday.
The two-year-old colt opened his account by eight lengths at Cork on 14 October, and he was sent forward in the early stages of the Group Three race by jockey Donnacha O’Brien.
He quickened the pace in the straight and was always in control thereafter, beating Mcmunigal (Epaulette) by a length with another half a length back to his stablemate Bye Bye Baby (Galileo) in third place.
In Germany on Sunday, The Markus Klug-trained Rock My Love (2 f Holy Roman Emperor – Rondinay by Cadeaux Genereux) extended her unbeaten record when she won the Preis der Winterkonigin (Gr 3, 1600m) at Baden-Baden.
The two-year-old filly, who was most recently seen winning the Winterkönigin Trial (Listed, 1500m) at Cologne, stayed on strongly to defeat Suada (Maxios) by three quarters of a length, with Angelita (Areion) finishing third.
The Andreas Wohler-trained Royal Youmzain (2 c Youmzain – Spasha by Shamardal) made a successful raid to Italy on Sunday when landing the Gran Criterium (Gr 2, 1500m) at San Siro in Milan.
The colt, who was second in the Junioren-Preis (Listed, 1600m) at Dusseldorf last month, beat Sopran Roccia (Red Rocks) by a length and a half into second, with Beautiful Vintage (Zebedee) a further half a length behind in third.
On high-class card at San Siro, Summer Festival (2 c Poet’s Voice – Kammaan by Diktat) took out the Premio Campobello (Listed, 1800m).
The promising colt, who was second in the Premio Rumon (Listed, 1500m) at his last start, beat Wiesenbach (Jukebox Jury) by a head, with the same distance back to Poldi’s Liebling (Tai Chi) in third place.
The rapidly progressive Cracksman (3 c ex Rhadegunda by Pivotal) ran out a wide-margin winner of the Champion Stakes (Gr 1, 1m2f) at Ascot on British Champions Day on Saturday, following in the footsteps of his sire Frankel (Galileo) who ended his glittering career in the lucrative Group One in 2012.
The colt, who sidestepped a tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr 1, 2400m) in favour of the Ascot feature, stretched clear in the home straight for a brilliant victory, defeating Poet’s Word (Poet’s Voice) by seven lengths, with multiple Group One winner Highland Reel (Galileo) a further neck behind in third.
There was a strong early tempo in the £1,300,000 race courtesy of Irish raider Success Days (Jeremy), but jockey Frankie Dettori always looked confident in midfield as Cracksman breezed strongly into contention.
Once levelling out for home, the colt put the race to bed with a stunning turn of foot and galloped on relentlessly to give his sire a first Group One winner in Europe.
Elsewhere at the lucrative Ascot fixture, trainer Aidan O’Brien equalled Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 Group / Grade One winners in a calendar year when Hydrangea (3 f Galileo – Beauty Is Truth by Pivotal) ran out a determined winner of the British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes (Gr 1, 1m4f).
The filly, who was having her first attempt over a mile and a half, looked vulnerable as the strong-travelling French raider and short-priced favourite Bateel (Dubawi) loomed alongside under Pierre-Charles Boudot.
However, she dug deep for Ryan Moore’s urgings and drew clear inside the final 100 yards to score by two lengths, with Coronet (Dubawi) keeping on from off the pace to take third place.
At Saint-Cloud on Sunday, the Juddmonte-raced Ice Breeze (3 c Nayef – Winter Silence by Dansili) lowered the colours of Vazirabad (Manduro) to land the Prix Royal-Oak (Gr 1, 3100m).
The Pascal Bary-trained colt, who won the Prix Chaudenay (Gr 2, 3000m) at his previous start, raced in midfield under jockey Vincent Cheminaud as multiple Group One winner Vazirabad, who was bidding to become the first horse to win the Prix Royal-Oak for the third time, was held-up for his customary late burst.
However, Ice Breeze was kicked into the lead at the 500 metres and, in receipt of weight, kept on strongly to deny Vazirabad by a length and a quarter with Holdthasigreen (Hold That Tiger) a further two lengths behind in third.
The Cheveley Park-raced Persuasive (4 f Dark Angel – Choose Me by Choisir) gave trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori the first leg of a Group One double at Ascot on Saturday when she ran out a taking winner of the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Gr 1, 1m).
The four-year-old filly, who had finished placed at Group One level on her previous two starts, travelled strongly in the hands of Dettori in midfield, but she was short of room on the far rail and forced to angle out behind runners to launch her challenge.
William Buick looked confident aboard the favourite Ribchester (Iffraaj), who struck the front with just over a furlong to race, but the colt had no response to the impressive finishing kick of Persuasive, who shot clear to win by a length, with Churchill (Galileo) a further half a length behind in third.
It was announced after the race that the high-class Persuasive would be retired to take up broodmare duties at Cheveley Park Stud in 2018.
Librisa Breeze (5 g ex Bruxcalina by Linamix) swooped late to cause a minor upset in the British Champions Sprint Stakes (Gr 1, 6f) at Ascot on Saturday, giving trainer Dean Ivory the biggest win of his career to date and his sire Mount Nelson (Rock Of Gibraltar) a first Group One winner.
The five-year-old, who was a never nearer fourth in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Gr 1, 6f) at Royal Ascot in June, raced in midfield under Robert Winston and moved up to challenge the short-priced favourite Harry Angel (Dark Angel) with around a furlong to race.
He soon drew clear and was a length and a quarter ahead of the Shadwell-raced Tasleet (Showcasing) at the line, with the running-on Caravaggio (Scat Daddy) a further three quarters of a length behind in third place, just ahead of his old rival Harry Angel.
Librisa Breeze could have his next start in the Hong Kong Sprint (Gr 1, 1200m) at the Hong Kong International Races on 10 December.
In the opening race on the card, the Lloyd Williams part-owned Order Of St George (5 h Galileo – Another Storm by Gone West) led in the final strides to land the British Champions Long Distance Cup (Gr 2, 2m), running down the Te Akau-raced Torcedor (Fastnet Rock) for a last-gasp victory.
The entire was fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr 1, 2400m) on 1 October, but he appeared to be struggling down in class as he came under pressure approaching the home bend as both Mount Moriah (Mount Nelson) and Torcedor made their bid for glory.
However, he picked up strongly inside the final 150 yards to win a shade cosily by half a length, with the Group One-winning three-year-old Stradivarius (Sea The Stars) sticking on to take third.
In Milan on Sunday, the high-class Full Drago (4 c Pounced – Almata by Almutawakel) secured his fourth career Group Two victory when landing the Gran Premio del Jockey Club (Gr 2, 2400m) at San Siro.
The four-year-old colt, who returned from a short break to win the Premio Federico Tesio (Gr 2, 2200m) last month, scored comfortably by three lengths from Savoir Vivre (Adlerflug), with Way To Paris (Champs Elysees) a further six lengths adrift in third place.
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