Royal Hunt Cup
Heritage Handicap, Ascot 17:00
£175,000 added,
3yo plus,
1m, Class 2   
Wednesday 15th June 2016


1 Portage 10/1
2 Librisa Breeze 8/1
3 Mitchum Swagger 14/1
4 Azraff 20/1
5 Battle Of Marathon 25/1
NR: Belgian Bill, Master The World (IRE)
28 ran Distances: 1¼l, nk, ½l
TIME 1m 43.01s (slow by 4.21s)

Portage wins the Royal Hunt Cup, a treble on the day for Godolphin

© Racehorse Photos

A sparkling day for Godolphin improved again when Portage landed the Royal Hunt Cup, completing a 285/1 treble by horses carrying Sheikh Mohammed's blue colours.

The Mick Halford-trained winner, a 10/1 shot, beat bottom weight Librisa Breeze (8/1) by one and a quarter lengths, with Mitchum Swagger (14/1) a half-length behind in third. Azraff (20/1) finished fourth.

Halford said: "He's grown up a lot, and he's matured a lot as he proved when winning at the Curragh [on his previous run]. We knew he would get the trip really well and that he would handle the soft ground, and James [Doyle] was very confident about the horse and rode him confidently.

"We planned coming back here from the moment he ran in the Cambridgeshire last year [he was fifth in that race]. We had a very wet spring and then planned to run at the Curragh during the Guineas weekend, but had a slight hold up. We then got him into a Listed race which he won, and then came here.

"He's a horse that is ready to step up and will go on better ground and over a longer trip. It's very special to have a winner here today, especially for Sheikh Mohammed, who has been a wonderful supporter and shown great loyalty to us."


John Ferguson, Chief Executive and Racing Manager for Godolphin, commented: "We are absolutely delighted.

"The horse had a five pound penalty as a result of winning a Listed race last time out but he has a bit of quality and he has really done it well. The fact that he won over a mile and a quarter and that he has come back in trip here on this ground really shows his ability.

"I am delighted for Mick (Halford, trainer), this is his first Royal Ascot winner I understand.

"The fortunate thing was that we were on the right side of the racecourse.

"When we bought him as a foal at the Tattersalls Decmber sales we weren't exactly thinking of the Hunt Cup but we are delighted.

"We will wait and see where we go next."

The Teofilo colt's jockey, James Doyle, added: "He has threatened to do this for a while, you can see by the size of him in the paddock that he would be a better horse at this stage of his life.

"He is a beautiful ride, there is just one thing we were worried about, when I rode him in the Irish Cambridgeshire he was slightly behind the bridle all the way so it made it tough to hold a position.

"I was hoping I wouldn't have to do it all myself today as there wasn't a lot of pace in the race.

"Between the three and the two poles I was able to able to get really going through the gears and when he hit top speed on that ground he really went through it.
"This is his minimum trip and he stays a mile and a quarter but I wouldn't rule out him getting further.

"I am sure he can go on to better things."


Royal Hunt Cup Heritage Handicap (Str)
£175,000 added, 3yo plus, 1m, Class 2
28 ran
Going: Soft

Pos Dr D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st (4) Portage (IRE) (ex5) 10/1 James Doyle
M Halford 4
2nd (26) Librisa Breeze 8/1 R Winston
D K Ivory 4
3rd (20) nk Mitchum Swagger 14/1 G Baker
D R Lanigan 4
4th (10) ½ Azraff (IRE) 20/1 Andrea Atzeni
M Botti 4
5th (2) ½ Battle Of Marathon (USA) 25/1 A Kirby
J Ryan 4
6th (19) ½ Bossy Guest (IRE) 50/1 S De Sousa
M R Channon 4
7th (12) hd Instant Attraction (IRE) 16/1 J Garritty
Jedd O'Keeffe 5
8th (7) nk Early Morning (IRE) 50/1 G Mosse
H J L Dunlop 5
9th (25) ½ Carry On Deryck 20/1 James McDonald
S bin Suroor 4
10th (5) hd Earth Drummer (IRE) 25/1 S W Kelly
David Loughnane 6
11th (9) nk Glory Awaits (IRE) 22/1 J P Spencer
D M Simcock 6
12th (11) ½ Spark Plug (IRE) 33/1 S M Levey
B J Meehan 5
13th (14) nk Mr Owen (USA) 20/1 Oisin Murphy
Francois Rohaut 4
14th (8) nse Hasanour (USA) 25/1 S Foley
M Halford 6
15th (31) ½ Donncha (IRE) 10/1 Tom Marquand (3)
R Eddery 5
16th (15) ½ Man Of Harlech 28/1 David Probert
A M Balding 5
17th (3) ½ Secret Brief (IRE) 12/1 W Buick
C Appleby 4
18th (16) hd Emell 50/1 P J Dobbs
R Hannon 6
19th (32) 1 Boomshackerlacker (IRE) 33/1 P Cosgrave
George Baker 6
20th (27) Captain Cat (IRE) 33/1 Edward Greatrex (5)
R Charlton 7
21st (18) hd Gm Hopkins 12/1 R Havlin
J H M Gosden 5
22nd (33) Convey 13/2f R L Moore
Sir Michael Stoute 4
23rd (22) ½ Spirit Raiser (IRE) (ex5) 20/1 F Tylicki
J R Fanshawe 5
24th (6) 1 Hors De Combat 20/1 George Wood (7)
J R Fanshawe 5
25th (30) Basem 22/1 J Fortune
S bin Suroor 5
26th (1) Balty Boys (IRE) 14/1 Callum Shepherd (5)
B Ellison 7
27th (21) 6 Solar Deity (IRE) 50/1 P J Smullen
Jane Chapple-Hyam 7
28th (23) 19 Algaith (USA) 66/1 P Hanagan
Owen Burrows 4
NR (17) Master The World (IRE) 20/1 Jim Crowley
D R C Elsworth 5
NR (13) Belgian Bill 25/1 S J Drowne
George Baker 8



Trainer Dean Ivory was delighted with the performance of Librisa Breeze, who finished the one and quarter length runner-up behind 10/1 winner Portage.

The 8/1 shot had been the subject of significant money this morning with various bookmakers and it looked as if the gamble was going to be landed as Robert Winston loomed large on the four-year-old as the field entered the final furlong.

However, Librisa Breeze's effort just petered out as he failed to catch the leader and his trainer felt that the draw had ultimately beaten his horse.

"I'm delighted with him," said Ivory.

"Our horse had to make all that ground up and I think if we had been drawn low, it would have been a different story.

"Robert would have just had a bit more time to hold on to him, let him fill his lungs up and then let him go so who knows what would have happened? He's a real nice improving horse though. We had our luck as he's only just sneaked into the race and Robert has ridden him really well.

"There's no hurry with him now as he likes this sort of ground. He's at the right end of the handicap so we'll see how he comes out of this and take it from there.

"We've got to aim for these big mile handicaps and he might get a bit further if we hold on to him a bit longer. Robert had to go early on him today otherwise he might not have got the gap so you've got to play your cards when you can.

"We've been beaten by a really good horse on the day. I'm over the moon though - it's really great."


Trainer David Lanigan was pleased with the performance of Mitchum Swagger who finished a creditable third.

Having travelled nicely into the race under George Baker, the son of Paco Boy met traffic problems in midfield. Once Baker found some daylight on the gelding, Mitchum Swagger kept on gamely to finish in the placings.

Lanigan said: "He has run a blinder. He hit a few little traffic problems which were not ideal and didn't strengthen his chances. George Baker thought that with a clear run, he would have won.

"Take nothing away from the winner but you have to get a clear run in these handicaps so we are very pleased. Off his weight, he has run a great race just to finish third."

The four-year-old was a disappointing ninth in a Listed contest on good to soft ground at Leicester in April but Lanigan was keen to highlight that the softer surface did not pose a problem today. Lanigan remarked: "I didn't find anything out from his run at Leicester. If he had run well there, I would have run him in the Lockinge with the going being soft at Newbury.

"We have found out in his last couple of runs that he is a good moving horse who likes a bit of cut in the ground.

"Jamie Spencer who rode him at Newmarket last year (second place) said that when he ran into the dip, he wasn't really comfortable on it and George said the same at Leicester as when they run downhill for the first two furlongs there he wasn't comfortable on that either and didn't feel as good as he usually feels.

"If you compare that to how he travelled on the ground today, he moved like a dream on that surface so I think as long as you have a flat track or a climb, you are alright with him."

Lanigan was unsure as to where his charge will go next. He said: "I had lots of plans but they all went by the wayside. We will regroup with him. To be honest, his work has been great and I was hoping he would run as well as he has done today."

Lanigan added: "I just wanted to get today out of the way first before sitting down and making any other plans with him."


Past results

2015-WINNER-GM HOPKINS 4-9-03 Owner-Robin Geffen; Trainer-John Gosden; Jockey-Ryan Moore; SP-8/1
2ND-Temptress 4-8-12 Owner-The Pyoneers; Trainer-Roger Charlton; Jockey-James Doyle; SP-9/1
3RD-Chil The Kite 6-9-08 Owner-Hazel Lawrence & Graham Doyle; Trainer-Hughe Morrison; Jockey-George Baker; SP-16/1
4TH-Balty Boys 4-8-12 Owner-Koo’s Racing Club, Carr & Jacobs; Trainer-Brian Ellison; Jockey-Silvestre de Sousa; SP-25/1 30 ran; Time-1m 40.30s; Dist-nk, 11⁄2, 1⁄2 7/1 Fav Ayaar (9th)

2014-WINNER-FIELD OF DREAM 7-9-01 Owner-N Jackson; Trainer-Jamie Osborne; Jockey-Adam Kirby; SP-20/1
2ND-Chil The Kite 5-9-09 Owner-Hazel Lawrence & Graham Doyle; Trainer-Hughie Morrison; Jockey-George Baker; SP-14/1
3RD-Steeler 4-9-06 Owner-Godolphin; Trainer-Charlie Appleby; Jockey-Silvestre de Sousa; SP-33/1
4TH-Sea Shanty 4-8-12 Owner-The Queen; Trainer-Richard Hannon; Jockey-Richard Hughes; SP-14/1
28 ran; Time-1m 37.88s; Dist-11⁄4, 11⁄4, sh 7/2 Fav Abseil (8th)

2013-WINNER-BELGIAN BILL 5-8-11 Owner-PJL Racing, Byrne, Baker; Trainer-George Baker; Jockey-James Doyle; SP-33/1
2ND-Premio Loco 9-9-09 Owner-Bernard Westley; Trainer-Chris Wall; Jockey-George Baker; SP- 40/1
3RD-Arsaadi 4-8-12 Owner-Sultan Ali; Trainer-William Haggas; Jockey-Liam Jones; SP-50/1
4TH-Don’t Call Me 6-9-05 Owner-Matt & Lauren Morgan; Trainer-David Nicholls; Jockey-Pat Dobbs; SP-25/1
28 ran; Time-1m 38.68s; Dist-3⁄4, 1⁄2, 1⁄2 10/1 Co Favs Two For Two (12th), Fury (18th), Stirring Ballad (22nd)

2012-WINNER-PRINCE OF JOHANNE 6-9-03 Owner-David Storey; Trainer-Tom Tate; Jockey-John Fahy; SP-16/1
2ND-Excellent Guest 5-8-11 Owner-John Guest Racing; Trainer-George Margarson; Jockey-Tom Queally; SP-33/1
3RD-Don’t Call Me 5-8-08 Owner-Matt & Lauren Morgan; Trainer-David Nicholls; Jockey-Sam Hitchcott; SP-50/1
4TH-Field Of Dream 5-9-00 Owner-Ken Gundlach; Trainer-Jamie Osborne; Jockey-Jamie Spencer; SP-66/1
30 ran; Time-1m 38.24s; Dist-1⁄2, 3⁄4, nk 9/2 Fav Dimension (8th)

2011-WINNER-JULIENAS 4-8-08 Owner-Peter Harris; Trainer-Walter Swinburn; Jockey-Eddie Ahern; SP-12/1
2ND-Dance And Dance 5-9-03 Owner-Mohammed Rashid; Trainer-Ed Vaughan; Jockey-Ryan Moore; SP-7/1 Fav
3RD-Invisible Man 5-9-06 Owner-Godolphin; Trainer-Saeed bin Suroor; Jockey-Frankie Dettori; SP-20/1
4TH-Pendragon 8-8-04 Owner-Dan Gilbert & Kristian Strangeway; Trainer-Brian Ellison; Jockey-Jimmy Quinn; SP-33/1
28 ran; Time-1m 38.53s; Dist-1⁄2, 2, ns

2010-WINNER-INVISIBLE MAN 4-8-09 Owner-Godolphin; Trainer-Saeed bin Suroor; Jockey-Frankie Dettori; SP-28/1
2ND-Riggins 6-9-00 Owner-Dubai Thoroughbred Racing; Trainer-Andrew Balding; Jockey-Jimmy Fortune; SP-12/1 3RD-St Moritz 4-8-07 Owner-Renata Jacobs; Trainer-Mark Johnston; Jockey-Joe Fanning; SP-12/1
4TH-Tryst 5-8-05 Owner-Ms L A Morgan; Trainer-John Hammond FR; Jockey-Hayley Turner; SP-12/1
29 ran; Time-1m 37.16s; Dist-1⁄2, 1, 1 8/1 Fav Dandy Boy (21st)

2009-WINNER-FORGOTTEN VOICE 4-9-01 Owner-Susan Roy; Trainer-Jeremy Noseda; Jockey-Johnny Murtagh; SP-4/1 Fav
2ND-Huzzah 4-8-10 Owner-J Gale, J Finch, D Cole, Robin Dollar, David Powell; Trainer-Barry Hills; Jockey-Michael Hills; SP-25/1
3RD-Mia’s Boy 5-9-03 Owner-Iraj Parvizi; Trainer-Chris Dwyer; Jockey-Ryan Moore; SP-9/1
4TH-Nanton 7-8-06 Owner-Stuart Morrison; Trainer-Jim Goldie; Jockey-Daniel Tudhope; SP-16/1
25 ran; Time-1m 40.41s; Dist-21⁄4, 3⁄4, 11⁄2

2008-WINNER-MR AVIATOR 4-9-05 Owner-Sue Brendish; Trainer-Richard Hannon snr; Jockey-Richard Hughes; SP-25/1
2ND-Docofthebay 4-9-06 Owner-Paul Dixon; Trainer-Jamie Osborne; Jockey-Shane Kelly; SP-10/1
3RD-Royal Power 5-8-12 Owner-David Nicholls; Trainer-David Nicholls; Jockey-Adrian Nicholls; SP-25/1
4TH-Kavachi 5-8-04 Owner-Bryan Pennick & Roy Martin; Trainer-Gary Moore; Jockey-Franny Norton 33/1
29 ran, Time-1m 39.63s, Dist-nk, nk, 3⁄4 13/8 Fav Bankable (5th)