Galileo Gold takes battle of Guineas winners at Royal Ascot
Caravaggio lands eighth Coventry for Aidan O’Brien on first day of meeting
Caravaggio ridden by Ryan Moore wins the Coventry Stakes during day one of Royal Ascot. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA Wire.
Galileo Gold won the battle of the 2000 Guineas winners in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Hugo Palmer’s three-year-old claimed Classic glory at Newmarket in early May, but had to make do with the runner-up spot behind Awtaad in the Irish version at the Curragh and the pair clashed once more in Berkshire.
Adding further spice to the mix was the presence of Aidan O’Brien’s runaway French Guineas winner The Gurkha and he was sent off the heavily backed 4-5 favourite.
Galileo Gold (6-1) was ridden prominently by Frankie Dettori, with his major rivals adopting more patient tactics.
Dettori sent his mount to the front with two furlongs to run and while Awtaad and The Gurkha gave chase, it was all too late as Galileo Gold galloped on to score by a length and a quarter.
The Gurkha narrowly beat Awtaad to the runner-up spot, with the trio clear of the field.
Dettori said: “Everything went to plan. Three Guineas winners, I managed to get first run on the other two.
“Hugo was so nervous today, he made me feeling nervous when I talked to him.
“He’s a Guineas winner, a St James’s Palace winner, he’s a great horse to have.
“We had a few excuses in Ireland, but he had no place to hide today and he’s redeemed himself.”
Caravaggio kept his unbeaten record intact with a brilliant victory in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot as trainer Aidan O’Brien got his Royal Ascot off on the front foot.
A winner at Dundalk and the Curragh earlier this year, the Scat Daddy colt was sent off the 13-8 favourite to complete his hat-trick and provide O’Brien with a record eighth victory in this prestigious juvenile contest.
Ryan Moore rode a patient race in the group racing towards the stands rail before angling wide to mount his challenge with over a furlong to run.
Caravaggio showed thrilling acceleration to grab the lead and he powered clear close home to beat Mehmas going away.
The Ger Lyons-trained Psychedelic Funk just held on in a three-way photo for third.
Moore said: “He’s won two races really (having had to switch from main group), the others couldn’t take me far enough.
“He was very impressive. I was a bit worried about the ground, but he’s won in spite of it.”
O’Brien said: “He’s very smart. We were worried that because he’s so quick we maybe should have had him in the Norfolk (over five furlongs). He got it (six furlongs) and he got it well.
“He’s a horse that you could never be sure he’d get a mile because he’s so quick. He settles very well and he’s clean-winded. He’s a lovely-sized horse and he does all the right things. He’s a very exciting horse.”
Caravaggio is the new ante-post favourite for next season’s English 2000 Guineas, trading at around 7-1, with Moore especially excited about what the future might hold.
He added: “He’s won two races. I had to pull him out and go after the far side group so he’s done very well.
“When he gets on better ground, he will be a better horse.
“At this stage of his career, he’s very good. At this stage he’d be the best I’ve sat on.”
Richard Hannon said of runner-up Mehmas: “On better ground, he might have got closer.
“We will sit down and speak to Harry Herbert (owner’s racing manager) but he could go for the Richmond (Goodwood) or the July Stakes (Newmarket).
“Maybe the Prix Robert Papin (Maisons-Laffitte) could be for him as Gutaifan went there last year.”
Lyons said: “My horse comes into a different world when the ground goes soft.
“He was tracking the leader but he just could not pick up on the ground.
“I was very negative coming into the paddock. Colin Keane said he didn’t have the speed but he stayed on. His class got him through.”
Profitable continued his flying start to the season with a thrilling success in the King’s Stand Stakes.
Clive Cox’s four-year-old lined up for the five-furlong Group One in tremendous form having won his first two starts of the campaign, in the Palace House at Newmarket and the Temple Stakes at Haydock.
Adam Kirby had the 4-1 shot buried in the middle of the pack early on, but he hit the front a furlong out and knuckled down to get the better of a protracted duel with Cotai Glory by a neck. Goken finished strongly to grab third.
Hot favourite Mecca’s Angel raced up with the pace before weakening rapidly and was ultimately bitterly disappointing.
A tearful Kirby revealed his girlfriend had given birth to a baby boy just hours before.
He said: “I think he’s the best five-furlong horse I’ve ever ridden. His cruising speed is phenomenal. I’m delighted for everyone involved, but, more importantly, I’m delighted for Clive.
“My girlfriend gave birth to a baby boy a few hours ago, so it’s all good.”
Brilliant North American mare Tepin claimed glory in the opening Queen Anne Stakes.
Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Julien Leparoux, the five-year-old was making her British and European debut having won a host of big races in her homeland, including the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland last October.
Sent off at 11-2 due to doubts about the rain-softened ground, Tepin was always travelling well and knuckled down admirably in the final furlong to get the better of Belardo by half a length.
Leparoux said: “It’s just amazing. It’s a great feeling. She’s a champion and she proved it today. She had to work hard, for sure, as the last 100 metres was a long way to go.It’s awesome.”