Aidan O’Brien took two more strides towards breaking Bobby Frankel’s Group 1 record on the final day of the Cambridgeshire Meeting at the Rowley Mile this afternoon.
It was back in 2003 that the late Frankel guided 25 horses to top-flight victories, but O’Brien is now in hot pursuit after wins for Clemmie and U S Navy Flag took him to 20 for the season.
Clemmie’s one-and-three-quarter length triumph in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes was expected, but there was an element of surprise about U S Navy Flag’s Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes win, given that he was an 11-1 shot before the race.
O’Brien said: “I’m delighted with (Clemmie), she’s a full sister to Churchill so we have always thought the world of her.
“She wants further but it’s her class that gets her through over six furlongs.
“She’s been progressing with every run and coming along lovely home and to show that kind of class over six furlongs you would have to be over the moon.
“(U S Navy Flag) is out of a Galileo mare and they just don’t give up, you know.
“He’s progressing with each race, he takes his racing well and we couldn’t be happier. He’s not the biggest but he’s long and powerful.”
In the day’s other showpiece race, Martyn Meade’s Dolphin Vista caused a big shock by winning the Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap Stakes.
Widely available at 50-1, the four-year-old came through late on to give Bury Road-based Meade victory ahead of Aclaim’s bid for Group 1 glory in France tomorrow afternoon.
“It’s always a surprise in a race like this, so much can go wrong in a 35-runner handicap but we’ve given him time,” he said.
“We’ve waited for his ground and then of course you have to run in a contest like this.”
The day also got under way with a Newmarket winner courtesy of Roaring Lion and John Gosden in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes.
The unbeaten son of Kitten’s Joy held on close home to land the Group 2 prize by a neck from odds-on favourite Nelson.
After the race, Gosden revealed Roaring Lion could now be heading for the Breeders’ Cup.
“We’ll either put him away or look at two races, Doncaster or the race in Del Mar, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile which I have been lucky enough to win twice,” he said.
“I love Doncaster but I would be worried if the ground was deep, this is an American-bred horse who likes top of the ground.
“I would say the next ten days will tell us all we need to know and we’ll make a decision from there.”