Invisible Man Strikes for Godolphin
1 Invisible Man 28/1
Invisible Man proved a revelation in first time blinkers as he gave Godolphin its first success in the Royal Hunt Cup and broke the track with a scorching time of 1m 37.16s for the straight mile.
The four-year-old benefited from a cool Frankie Dettori ride to take the spoils by half a length from Riggins at odds of 28/1.
Dettori revealed: “I took a chance. I dropped him out, got him relaxed and, when I looked up with two furlongs to go, I had half of the field to pass. But he has whizzed his way through and got there in the end. He didn’t even realise that he had got there but you have to ride him that way and we got lucky that all of the gaps appeared when we needed them.
“It’s nice to have a winner at Royal Ascot - it takes the pressure off. We still have three days to go and hopefully we will have another couple of successes.
“We have only had 10 races but you want to get on the board as quickly as you can. I felt a lot of pressure but it’s great that I am on the board now.”
Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin’s founder and driving force, said: “It’s very good to have a winner here. It’s a beautiful day and Ascot always has great racing.
“There was always a chance that he would win because we put the blinkers on and that just dropped him into the race.”
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor stated: “What I like about this horse is that he is a big strong horse who handles his races well and we can look at bigger races now.”
Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager, commented: “He’s been disappointing in his last two starts and we felt he wasn’t doing all he could so the decision was taken to fit the blinkers today.
“He was fancied for the Cambridgeshire so the ability was there, it was just a question of finding it. It was a combination of the blinkers and a fantastic ride from Frankie. He was on an outsider and so nobody was under any pressure. Frankie blocked him in, dropped him out, gave him every chance, let the horse enjoy himself and came home well.
“It’s nice for Godolphin to be in the winner’s enclosure and winning the Royal Hunt Cup for the first time is fantastic. This is an important race with a long history.”
RIGGINS RUN BRINGS A SMILE TO HAPPY OWNERS
A group of owners known as Dubai Thoroughbred Racing went shopping in October and came back with a Royal Hunt Cup runner-up.
Bidding through bloodstock agent Alastair Donald at Tattersalls’ Horses-in-Training Sal, they paid 18,000gns for Riggins and then sent him to trainer Andrew Balding. A gelding operation was carried out, and today Riggins more or less won his purchase price back in one dash along Ascot’s straight mile.
Balding said: “I’m very pleased with that, and while I didn’t train him last year so couldn’t be sure, gelding hasn’t done him any harm.
“He likes to be held up in his races and did everything right today, but he was beaten by a better handicapped horse. It’s great for this group of owners, and we might take them all to [Glorious] Goodwood and run him in the totesport Mile.”
Mark Johnston, trainer of third-placed St Moritz, said: “It’s a great effort considering he was up there all the way. He [jockey Joe Fanning] said he would have been happier if he hadn’t been taken on so much early on. He was racing from a long way out, and while I thought for a moment he would take it when he began to pull away from the pack, two caught him.
“He’s had so many problems in his life that it’s a challenge just to be here. You couldn’t say he didn’t get the mile on this evidence, and while you wonder whether seven or seven and a half furlongs are best, when you’re placed in the Royal Hunt Cup you can’t be disappointed.”
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