Hardwicke Stakes 2008 

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ascot racecourseMacarthur Wins Thrilling Hardwicke


1st (4) Macarthur 11-8 Fav
2nd (6) Multidimensional 25-1
3rd (5) Maraahel 5-1
9 ran
Also: 14-1 Speed Gifted 4th
NR: 1,10

Ballydoyle’s extraordinary week continued as trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Johnny Murtagh teamed up for their fifth success of the Royal Meeting with Macarthur in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes.

The four-year-old brother to 2005 Derby winner Motivator picked up strongly deep inside the final furlong to sweep past the gallant Multidimensional and secure a neck victory in the mile and a half contest.

O’Brien said: “You’re never sure until they pass the line but Johnny gave him a great ride and he responded well.

“He’s a horse that likes a strong even pace. The pace was even but it wasn’t strong and he did very well to quicken up.

“We might give him a rest now.”

Murtagh, who stretched his lead to two over nearest challenger Steve Drowne in the race to be leading jockey at the Meeting, received plenty of post race plaudits for his judgement and strength in the finish.

The rider said: “I had a lovely run through the race. They weren’t going that fast and when I came up alongside Ted at the top of the straight, Ted really quickened and his horse went on. I hoped we’d get there and then in the last 100 yards he really kicked into another gear.

“I think he’s going to be a Group One horse.”

With five wins including four Group Ones this week, Murtagh spoke of his delight.

He continued: “You have to pinch yourself to say this is really happening. As you can see from my reaction this week, I’m really enjoying my job and I’m working with brilliant people.”

Michael Tabor, who owns Macarthur in partnership with Sue Magnier and Derrick Smith, commented: “He’s a very good horse and it was a great ride by Johnny. He had a great position and I think that won us the race.”

“This week means everything - to Coolmore, to Ballydoyle - because this is what the whole operation strives for. To achieve this sort of standard, that’s what we hope for.”

Paddy Power introduced Macarthur into the betting at 20/1 for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes over the course and distance on July 26.

Starting Price
Beaten Distance
A P O'Brien
J Murtagh
9st 0lbs
11 - 8
H R A Cecil
T E Durcan
9st 0lbs
25 - 1
Sir Michael Stoute
R Hills
9st 0lbs
5 - 1
5 lengths
Speed Gifted
L M Cumani
Dane O'Neill
9st 0lbs
14 - 1
1 length
Jane Chapple-Hyam
J F Egan
9st 0lbs
33 - 1
3 1/4 lengths
Spanish Moon
Sir Michael Stoute
R L Moore
9st 0lbs
3 - 1
3 1/2 lengths
Happy Boy
Saeed bin Suroor
L Dettori
9st 0lbs
9 - 1
1/2 length
M P Tregoning
S Sanders
9st 0lbs
50 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
Hi Calypso
Sir Michael Stoute
M J Kinane
9st 0lbs
11 - 1
J H M Gosden
J Fortune
9st 5lbs

Supersonic Dave
B J Meehan
R Hughes
9st 0lbs



Jockey Ted Durcan could hardly believe that he came so close to winning the Hardwicke Stakes on Multidimensional, his mount finishing just a neck behind Macarthur from the all-conquering Aidan O’Brien stable. “He did everything right, we just got collared on the line,” said the disappointed jockey.

Trainer Henry Cecil was full of praise for the five-year-old who, he felt, had run as well as he ever has. “He just didn’t quite get the mile and a half. This is a stiff mile and a half and if it had been an easy mile and a half, he would have got it. That said, he was beaten by a very good horse,” said the trainer, who has now had three second places at this year’s Royal Ascot.

Alan Cooper, racing manager to the Niarchos family considered that the horse’s performances had, “borne out Henry’s long-held faith in the horse.”

Cecil has no plans mapped out for the horse. “I don’t know what we’ll do with him now. I’ll go home and scratch my head,” he admitted.

Maraahel was chasing his third successive victory in the race, but was unable ever get on terms with the leading pair, finishing five lengths behind Multidimensional. “We’ve no excuses, he ran a solid old race, and found two too good on the day,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to Hamdam Al Maktoum.

“He’s never been a top horse, he’s just four to five pounds below the best. But he’s won over a million pounds in prize money and so it’s amazing he’s achieved what he has. I’ve said for the last three years that it would be his final season, so I won’t say anything this time and will just try and avoid the best and win another race or two. He owes us nothing and we’ll do what’s right for him,” added Gold.

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