Knight Delight After Blue’s Illustrious Win
1 Illustrious Blue 8/1
Sussex trainer William Knight was the toast of Goodwood after his Illustrious Blue gained victory in one of the highlights of the season for staying horses.
Illustrious Blue, ridden by Jim Crowley, won the £100,000 Group Two Artemis Goodwood Cup in the colours of Ian and Pam Bendelow, after a sustained effort that saw him beat Electrolyser and Purple Moon by a length and a quarter and two and three quarter lengths.
Knight, who has leased stables at Angmering Park, the home of Lady Ann Herries, for the past five years, and now trains 45 horses, said: “He’s shown today he’s one of the best stayers around, and the plan to come to Goodwood, his favourite track, has paid off. I’m delighted.”
Illustrious Blue was winning his seventh race at Goodwood from 14 outings, and his third at the Glorious meeting. Knight said: “When you’re a hold-up horse you need a nice long straight to make up ground, and at Goodwood he’s able to wind himself up with enough time to get to the post. On some of the sharper tracks he doesn’t really get there.
“He’s now settling so well in races, he handles the undulations and travels well, so that’s probably why he runs so well here.
“I am so pleased to come back to Glorious Goodwood for a third time with him and it has been a different trip on each occasion - what a star! Jim gave him a lovely ride and am delighted.
“I probably regrettably should have tried him over two miles last year but we have had a fantastic run with him and he keeps on winning for us.
“Jim has put a lot of good work into the horse and he knows him so well - it’s a big team effort from everyone at home because we are a smallish yard and, to have a horse like this come along, it makes a big difference to everyone.”
Early pacesetter Age Of Aquarius, trained by Aidan O’Brien, became lame early in the home straight, and Knight added: “It wasn’t nice to see Aidan’s horse go lame like that, but when I saw that go wrong, and without wanting to appear arrogant, I thought we would win from four furlongs out. He was always going to get there.
“It’s fantastic to win at our local track and I can’t ask for more. It’s nice to have such a good horse so early in my career.”
“There are races like the Lonsdale Stakes and Doncaster Cup to consider, but maybe we should think about a trip to the Melbourne Cup.”
Crowley said a trip to Australia would suit the horse, and added: “He settled lovely and he was travelling so nicely at the top of the hill. He is just a tough little horse and he has been a legend for me around here, there can be no question.
“I came there so well and thought I would go away and win easily, but then it took a bit of time to wear the runner-up down. He’s so tough. You couldn’t wish for a nicer character of a horse.
“He’s probably still improving and he’s earned his right go to for something like the Melbourne Cup. He travels, stays and likes fast ground so why not?
“It’s probably the most significant win for me, being my home track and Illustrious Blue.
“He needed every yard of that trip and there is no reason why he couldn’t run in the Ascot Gold Cup next year because he was going on again at the finish.”
COX DELIGHTS WITH ELECTROLYSER
Trainer Clive Cox was thrilled with Electrolyser’s effort to finish a length and a quarter second to Illustrious Blue in the Artemis Goodwood Cup, a race in which the favourite Age Of Aquarius was pulled up.
“I’m really pleased because I’d always hoped he’d be this calibre of horse,” said Cox. “There is more to come because he has been held up since he ran in the Sagaro. I’m delighted he has proved what I thought he was and there are a few attractive races in France we could look at.”
Luca Cumani, trainer of third-placed Purple Moon, added: “Kieren (Fallon) said he got a little bit thrown off his stride when sadly the other horse (Age Of Aquarius) broke down. But that’s just a mild excuse and the important thing is that he ran so well and he’ll go for the Lonsdale Stakes at York now.”
AGE OF AQUARIUS IN GOOD HANDS
Age Of Aquarius, who pulled up lame while leading the field during this afternoon’s running of the Artemis Goodwood Cup, was taken to Arundel Veterinary Hospital following the race.
Giving an update on the four-year-old colt, clerk of the course Seamus Buckley, said: “I’ve spoken to Aidan O’Brien [the horse’s trainer] who is satisfied with all the procedures that have been carried out. The horse has gone to Arundel Veterinary Hospital and is being dealt with accordingly. He has been X-rayed, but we have yet to hear about the findings.”
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