Sheikhzayedroad won another big staying prize to open Champions Day
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
By Keith Melrose 1:30PM 15 OCT 2016
Report: Ascot, Saturday
Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) 2m, 3yo+
DONCASTER Cup winner Sheikhzayedroad won his second successive big staying prize as he hung on gamely to repel Quest For More in the Long Distance Cup, the first race on British Champions Day 2016.
Sent off at 11-1, Martin Harley had his mount close to a moderate pace throughout and when the dash for home began between him, Nearly Caught and Quest For More, he picked up the best.
The pair reached the front half a furlong from the line and repelled the game Quest For More by half a length.
Simple Verse and Order Of St George, both placed further back in the field, were a never-nearer third and fourth respectively, while Nearly Caught weakened into fifth.
Order Of St George, the 4-6 favourite last seen finishing third in the Arc, never really looked like overcoming his poor position. He came off the bridle as the field turned in and stayed on only gradually in the straight.
Harley said: “He’s very tough and delivers on the big days. They didn’t go very quick, but I was happy with my position and I was just hoping one wouldn’t come up my side as he over races a bit.
“When they go steady it’s hard to get him to relax, but he’s done well and full credit to the horse – my God he’s tough.”
He added: “My lad’s won over shorter so I knew he had a change of gear and I’m very pleased with the way he’s picked up.
“I spoke to David a week ago and he was confident he’d be in the money as he always is. A furlong down I knew I had the front two covered, but he doesn’t want to get there too soon.”
Simcock said: “It was nice how it panned out with Nearly Caught inside so we could park up and get into a rhythm, which suits him.
“He’s such an easy horse to train; he trains himself. He just shows his wellbeing at home. My head man rides him and he said he was well so we knew we were coming here in pretty good shape.”
He added: “I don’t normally get excited, but I did today. It’s an important day. It’s a wonderful day of racing and he’s a diamond, he really is.”
Charlton vanquished again
Roger Charlton, trainer of runner-up Quest For More, who had been beaten a nose by the winner at Doncaster, said: “He’s been second a few times. I have to be really proud of him, he’s had some tough races and it’s not easy to bring them back this quickly.
“These two fought it out over 2m2f and there was nothing in it, and the same over 2m today. He’s so consistent and I can only be pleased. He started life rated 68 so he’s found some improvement.”
Trainer Ralph Beckett said of Simple Verse: “I’m pleased with her effort. She ran really well. I always felt she was going to run out of course and not quite get there. The winner got a lovely ride.”