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Royal Ascot News 2006

Royal Ascot 2006

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Yeats Runs Away With Gold Cup

Trainer Aidan O’Brien added a new chapter to his long list of successes when Yeats, making his seasonal debut, ran away with the Gold Cup by four lengths under Kieren Fallon.

O’Brien admitted that the Gold Cup’s two and a half mile trip was an unknown quantity before today’s race.

“You’re never sure they will stay but he didn’t get a run in the Irish Leger but Kieren thought that he’d definitely get at least two miles after that,” said O’Brien. “We were worried coming back at this distance without a run,

“He had a few problems earlier this year and we’ve just had to be patient with him but he’s really blossomed recently. We always believed in him.

“We’re just lucky that the boss and Mrs Magnier as well as David and Diane Nagle decided to let a horse of that quality to go the Cup route. They give everyone time and nobody is forced into doing things.

“It’s exciting because we’ve never had a Cup horse before and maybe he’ll go something like the Goodwood Cup now. It’s very special to win an Ascot Gold Cup. All those staying races are a possibility.”

Yeats received a quote of 16/1 from Cashmans and 10/1 from Paddy Power for the Melbourne Cup and O’Brien added: “We were going to go to Melbourne last year but then decided to wait and think about going this year. But probably he’ll now have too much weight, we’ll have to see what the handicapper does.

“But what tends to happen after a week like this is that we go home and discuss plans for all the horses afterwards.”

Jockey Kieren Fallon added: “I knew I was on by far the best horse in the race so if he stayed he would win and when I asked him to go he was electric.

“I should have won the Leger last year but couldn’t get out and it has been a great training performance to get him back after so long.

“It’s a great sense of satisfaction to win this race and I love riding this horse, he makes it so easy.”

ascot racecourseGold Cup Preview

Last year’s Gold Cup second Distinction will bid to go one better as he faces 11 rivals in Thursday’s renewal of the famous two-and-a-half mile Group 1.

The seven-year-old, who went on to win the Goodwood Cup, was subsequently well beaten in the Melbourne Cup, but made a winning seasonal return in Listed company at Newbury on May 20 when High Action finished fifth.

“It is very exciting to have Distinction run in the Gold Cup again,” said Harry Herbert, managing director of owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing. “He is a great friend who has done marvellously well. He ran badly in last year’s Melbourne Cup after pulling muscles in his back but otherwise has been very consistent.

“He loves fast ground and did not relish the soft going when giving weight away on his seasonal debut at Newbury but still won. Touch wood, he seems in great form and it would be a fairytale to win the Gold Cup.”

There would be no more fairytale winner than Sergeant Cecil. The seven-year-old - bought for “peanuts” as a foal by owner Terry Cooper - has amassed £462,000 in prize money.

He was voted last season’s horse of the year by a joint Racehorse Owners Association/Racing Post poll after registering an unprecedented treble in the season’s big three long-distance handicaps, Newcastle’s Northumberland Plate, the Ebor at York and the Cesarewitch at Newmarket. He ran an excellent trial when second in the Group 2 Emirates Airline Yorkshire Cup last month.

The 2002 Melbourne Cup winner Media Puzzle is now nine years old and will bid to become the first Irish-trained Gold Cup winner since Enzeli in 1999.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Yeats, winner of last season’s Group 1 Vodafone Coronation Cup, is another representative for Ireland.

The mare Guadalajara, who was bought for 800,000 guineas by Godolphin at last year’s Tattersalls December Sale, has her first start since finishing third in a Group 2 at Longchamp in October when trained by Jean-Claude Rouget.

Akarem, four-length winner of the Listed Homes Buckhounds Stakes at Ascot on May 27, has been supplemented at a cost of £18,000 and steps up a mile in trip.

Westerner, trained by Elie Lellouche, provided a French success when the race was staged at York last year and Reefscape bids to take the prize across the Channel again. The five-year-old, trained by Andre Fabre, finished third in the Group 2 Prix Vicomtesse Vigier at Longchamp last time out.

Tungsten Strike put himself in the Gold Cup picture after a five-length victory from Winged D’Argent in the Group 2 Henry II Stakes at Sandown last time out.

The Micky Hammond-trained Motafarred, who finished sixth in a Haydock handicap last time out, will need to improve considerably for this step up in trip

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