Jenny - Clean

MARCUS ARMYTAGE reports in the LONDON TELEGRAPH that Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien is caution about over-hyping his horses until they have proved it on the racecourse these days.

However his advice, back in May, to Johnny Murtagh that he should go out to ride Australian import Starspangledbanner equipped with a ‘seat belt and parachute’ proved sagacious after the four-year-old led from start to finish in Saturday’s Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Until Friday Ballydoyle had been Royal Ascot’s sleeping giant when it woke up with a double but rarely has a horse put such a grin on O’Brien’s face as his new sprinter which joined the yard in the spring having been campaigned until that point down under.

Recalling the ‘incredible’ fractions the colt had been recording on the gallops at home, O’Brien explained that when he first clocked a furlong in just over 9.5 seconds they had checked to make sure the GPS was working properly.

”If you only looked at times you’d know that just doesn’t happen,” he said adding, laughing, “and what is so incredible is that he got a mile in Australia!

"Without doubt he is the fastest sprinter I have trained. To go that fast, furlong by furlong, you just don’t record them - we never have, anyway.”

The colt, coming out of the same stall as his sire Choisir and racing up the same rail under the same jockey, was never headed coming home a length and three quarters clear of 50-1 outsider Society Rock.

”He’s done what his father did,” said owner John Magnier. “It’s history repeating itself. We were a few days down before we got going but a few races can be a long time in racing.”

The American gelding Kinsale King went with the winner for a long way but was just run out of second late on while Fleeting Spirit, the 13-2 joint-favourite with the winner, won her race in the group racing up the far side but she lacked some smarter company to go with her.

Carl O’Callaghan, Kinsale King’s trainer, was overjoyed. “That was as good as a winner for us,” he said. “He’s never run on grass, he’s never run in a straight line and he’s never run in this country. We’ll stick around for the July Cup now.”

When asked if he would celebrate with a pint of Guinness the Los Angeles based Irishman, who has been such a hit at this Ascot, answered: “A keg!”

The result just about finished off the bookies for the week after Harbinger, who was like a 15-year-old playing in the under-10s such was his superiority in the Hardwicke Stakes, had strolled home like you would expect of an odds-on shot to give upmarket syndicate group Highclere Thoroughbreds their third winner of the week.

One bookmaker said if Harbinger’s win was the nail in their coffin, the Golden Jubilee was the lead lining. “Thank goodness for the England football team,” he added. So it hasn’t been all bad for them this week.

Laddies Poker Two landed a huge gamble in the Wokingham, briefly putting Murtagh on top of the Royal Ascot leading jockeys’ table with four winners.

However, he was pipped on the post by Ryan Moore, who took the finale, the Queen Alexandra Stakes, on Bergo. Moore also rode four winners at the meeting, but snatched the award off Murtagh by dint of riding more places.



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