Newmarket trio taste success on Champions Day
Wins for Sheikhzayedroad, The Tin Man and Journey were among the Newmarket highlights as the stars of the season did battle for a final time on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot.
More than £4 million in prize money was up for grabs, with Saturday’s card featuring four Group One contests, a Group Two and the Long Distance Cup.
The Dave Simcock-trained Sheikhzayedroad came home strongly to win the Long Distance Cup.
Martin Harley was never too far away on the consistent seven-year-old, winner of the Doncaster Cup last time out.
A delighted Simcock told Racing UK: “Martin gave him a lovely ride and it was nice how it panned out. Nearly Caught set a nice marker and he could get into a rhythm and that’s what suits him.
“He’s such an easy horse to train, he trains himself — all he does is show his well-being at home.
“The head man rides him and tells me he’s well, I trust him. We knew he was in pretty good shape.”
The Tin Man emulated his half-brother Deacon Blues by winning the Qipco British Champions Sprint.
Trained by James Fanshawe, just like Deacon Blues, The Tin Man was supplemented into the race last year but could only finish fourth.
Fanshawe said: “All year it has been stop-start with him. He had a problem in the spring and I’ve not been able to get him ready.
“We didn’t have the smoothest run going to Royal Ascot, then we had a small problem after that and before his next race we had the coughing.
“My son Tom rides him out every day so it has been a good team effort and it’s great when you think they are right and they perform like that.
“He’s owned by a syndicate set up by my wife, there are 10 shares and it enables people to get involved in a horse like this.
“It was a hot race. I walked the course and in the past you’ve wanted to be drawn high but I was quite happy we were low today.”
Fanshawe’s Prix de l’Opera winner Speedy Boarding also ran another blinder to finish second in the Mares and Fillies Stakes — a race that was won by John Gosden’s Journey.
Ridden expertly by Frankie Dettori, Journey still looked full of running despite trailing Pretty Perfect by six lengths at one point.
But once Dettori pressed the button, the response was immediate and his mount shot clear.
A delighted Gosden said: “She’s got a mind of her own and is very wilful, extremely talented. She’s a wild little creature.
“I just told Frankie to get her settled as she’ll tell you what she wants to do and you just listen — he rode her beautifully.
“She showed great acceleration. She was just caught last year when the ground was too soft for her, but that was a marvellous run as the St Leger winner (Simple Verse) won it.
“It was lovely to come back this year and win it.”
There was also a pleasing reappearance from Gosden’s Jack Hobbs, who repeated his third-place finish of last season in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
It was Jack Hobbs’ first appearance since pulling up on his sole start at Newmarket back in April.