Hillstar Takes King Edward Crown
1 Hillstar 15/2
Hillstar looked an exciting prospect when finishing with a late sail to beat the front-running Battle Of Marengo and capture the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes under Ryan Moore.
Joseph O’Brien made his move on Battle Of Marengo very early as the field turned for home and, just for a moment, it looked as if the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt had stolen a march on his rivals. However, Hillstar stayed on strongly from the rear of the field to eventually wear the 10/11 favourite down and score by a length.
Jockey Ryan Moore was full of praise for his mount:
“Hillstar has always been a horse we have thought a lot of.
“He won a nice maiden last year but both his starts this year haven’t really worked out for him – he had to make his own running the last day.
“The step up in trip helped and the penalty the runner-up had to carry has probably made the difference.
“He jumps the gates so well so it’s just a matter of restraining him and getting him to settle at the back of the field.
“I got taken back further than I would have liked by the Hamdan horse on the turn but this horse has a good turn of foot.”
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute felt that the Danehill Dancer colt was due a change of fortune after two earlier luckless starts this season.
“We had him in the Derby and we had him in the Irish Derby but his first two races this year just haven’t gone right,” said Stoute. “At Newbury, what would have been the pacemaker was withdrawn and he hit the gate too well and was too keen. We dropped him out today to make sure he didn’t do that again. The lady the bred him (Renee Robeson) has always adored him. Ryan was very good today.”
The colt’s breeder Renee Robeson, sister of owner Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, added: “I was hoping that Ryan would do what he did yesterday and pick up. All you can do is pray. It’s very exciting and it’s the same family as Crystal Capella, so it’s wonderful.”
Sir Evelyn de Rothschild added: “The acceleration that he showed was really quite extraordinary. He is going to get even better and he is a good horse.”
King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2)
A brave effort by Battle Of Marengo, who was driven clear on the final bend in the King Edward VII Stakes, ended in defeat by Hillstar, whose sustained challenge proved decisive.
Battle Of Marengo, who was fourth in the Investec Derby on his previous outing, was collared close home and went down by a length, but finished two and a quarter lengths ahead of third-placed Mutashaded.
Aidan O’Brien, who trains the runner-up said: “He ran very well, but the winner came and caught him. He went an even pace, but the winner came from the back. Maybe a shorter trip would suit – he was lobbing away and had a nice position, then went clear and wasn’t stopping, but the winner was too good.”
O’Brien said his Investec Derby winner, Ruler Of The World, is well and on course to tackle the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on June 29.
Roger Varian, who trains Mutashaded, said: “He is an inexperienced horse who came into this race off the back of only two starts, and only one this year. From a mark of 79 in the handicap it was a big jump up.
“Fortunately they went a man’s gallop and while he was a little bit babyish throughout the race he did finish well. I think the future’s bright – he’s big and can only improve. I’m disappointed he didn’t win, but delighted he showed he could hold his own in this company.”
Mutashaded holds an entry in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at the July meeting on the 11th of next month, but Varian said: “He’s had a hard race and that might come too soon.”
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