After accepting the blame for So You Think’s loss in the Prince Of Wales Stakes Aidan O’Brien has bounced back with a winner in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Race favourite Fame And Glory always was going to have the class to win the race, the question was though could he handle the gruelling 4000m trip.
He certainly answered any critics he may have had easily running the strongest past the line.
It’s a race O’Brien loves to win, he’s now claimed five in a row, four of them thanks to the internationally recognised superstar Yeats.
Jamie Spencer was the jockey lucky enough to get the ride, ironically he was the former stable jockey for O’Brien but left in 2005, the year before the winning streak began.
“It was a great training performance by Aidan and I am privileged to ride the horse,” Spencer said.
Highlighting just how big a jump in trip this was Fame And Glory’s previous Group 1 wins have been up to a maximum of 2400m.
He’s never even run in a race longer than 2800m so adding an extra six furlongs was a huge ask.
O’Brien says they only way they would find out if Fame And Glory could stay was by entering him, the quality of the five-year-old enough to justify it.
“When horses have so much class they often stay and he did,” O’Brien said.
“He was the ideal candidate for this race. I’m never confident, always hopeful, but he stayed a mile and a half at the top level and you just hoped he would stay this extreme distance.”
He was probably aided by the moderate tempo set early in the race by Tastahil which allowed him to settle a little further back.
The speed came into the race at the perfect time when Geordieland shot to the front and the lead pair battled it out bringing Fame And Glory right into the contest.
Spencer didn’t tell his horse to go until they had come off the bend ensuring that he had every chance to hit the line hard.
“Jamie produced him at just the right time,” O’Brien said.
“He waited, and waited and asked him for one kick. It took three to four lengths off the field. Jamie had ridden him in two races (earlier in the season) and was confident he would stay.
“I was always a big admirer of Jamie.
“He was a young little fella. Coming into a pressure group like ours cannot have been an easy step for him. I can probably be a little intense some times. I didn’t blame him from running away from me.”
Fame And Glory will be spelled immediately before most likely attempting to rectify his fifth placed finish in last year’s Prix del Arc de Triomphe.
Opinion Poll was the second horse across the stripe in the Gold Cup and the French trained Brigantin came home third.
Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said Opinion’s Polls rider Mickael Barzalona did pretty much everything right, the horse just didn’t have the speed late.
“Opinion Poll finished very well, but not as well as Pour Moi (English Derby winner),” Crisford said.
“Mickael put him to sleep at the back of the field and he picked up really well. We were hoping for that stand-up finish but it wasn’t to be.”