There is no doubt that Oisin Murphy has been in spectacular form in recent weeks and this continued at Ascot on Saturday in the Group 2 Summer Mile, where he got a late spilt on the Andrew Balding trained Beat the Bank to just pip Lord Glitters.
Beat The Bank didn’t get the rub of the green at Royal Ascot when Lord Glitters had finished ahead of him in the Queen Anne Stakes. Jamie Spencer must have felt he’d time his run perfectly when hitting the front inside the final furlong, but Murphy came late and fast to win by an ever-increasing neck.
The July Cup had a somewhat familiar look to it as Aidan O’Brien won the feature Group 1 July Cup with a classy colt dropping down in distance. US Navy Flag bounced out smartly from the gates and always looked to be travelling comfortably under a motionless Ryan Moore
O’Brien has a track record of conjuring up spectacular runs from horses after slightly disappointing seasons or with question marks hanging over them and he did so again with last season’s champion two-year-old who had been beaten on all four appearances when upped in trip.
Following in the footprints of Stravinsky and Mozart, US Navy Flag was an impressive winner and looks like a potent force in the sprinting discipline. A trip “down under” for the “Everest” now looks on the cards for the son of War Front.
“He’ll probably have a little rest now. He’s had a tough time, then we’ll train him for The Everest”.
Aidan and Ryan’s Group 1 wins on Saturday was incredibly not limited to Newmarket, a few hours later Ryan was once again seen to great effect when steering Kew Gardens to victory in the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp.
Kew Gardens was dropping down in trip having won the Queens Vase at Ascot previously. Aidan said:
“We came here with the view that we might go back to the King George and that’s why we wanted to go back to a mile and a half with him. Ryan took his time with him and rode him for a bit of pace and he quickened up well, so we’re delighted with him”.
There was a major gamble landed in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket when Burnt Sugar burst through the pack to get up late and wins snugly under Paul Hanagan. Having been 25’s in the morning Roger Fell’s gelding returned a much shorter 7/1. He seemed to really appreciate dropping back a furlong following a midfield finish behind Settle For Bay in the Royal Hunt Cup.
Quorto produced the other notable performance at Newmarket when easily landing the Group 2 Superlative on just his second start. The son of Dubawi showed a very nice turn of foot and looks likely a possible 2000 Guineas horse for next year.
The John Smith’s Cup was the feature race at York and the 59th running of this competitive £200,000 handicap went the way of Euchen Glen. The Jim Goldie gelding has been on a real upward curve this season and simply ran his rivals into submission under an enterprising ride from Ali Rawlinson
In Ireland, Patrick Mullins broke Ted Walsh’s long-standing record for the number of winners ridden by an amateur jockey when partnering his 546th winner aboard his father’s Queens Boulevard at Sligo. A gracious Walsh said afterwards:
“He’s nearly six-foot tall, he’s a big man, so it takes great dedication. He keeps himself in great shape fitness-wise, he looks after himself well, he’s got a great racing brain – he’s got everything”.
In Hong Kong, Zac Purton secured a second Jockey’s Championship beating Joao Moreira. The “Magic Man” was four winners behind Purton going into the final day of the season and he got off to a flyer when winning the first, but a fourth straight title wasn’t to be for Moreria.
A clearly delighted Purton said afterwards:
“A month ago, I thought I’d be able to win it quite comfortably and then Joao got a second wind and made a run at me”.
The trainers Championship was a much more straightforward affair as John Size claimed his tenth title.