Thursday 25 May 2017

Arabian Queen lands 50/1 shocker to lower the colours of Derby hero Golden Horn

Arabian Queen ridden by Silvestre de Sousa (right) beats Golden Horn ridden by Frankie Dettori (left) to win the Juddmonte International Stakes during day one of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York
Arabian Queen ridden by Silvestre de Sousa (right) beats Golden Horn ridden by Frankie Dettori (left) to win the Juddmonte International Stakes during day one of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York

Nick Robson

Arabian Queen caused arguably the biggest upset of the season in flooring Derby and Eclipse winner Golden Horn with a battling success in the Juddmonte International at York.

Showing a willing resolve, the 50-1 shot answered everything asked of her by title-chasing jockey Silvestre de Sousa to claim a shock victory in the Group One event and bring to an end the unbeaten run of John Gosden's Epsom hero.

In a slight change of tactics, the David Elsworth-trained three-year-old was anchored in behind Dick Doughtywylie, pacemaker for Golden Horn, instead of assuming her usual front-running role.

Having raced prominently throughout, Arabian Queen hit the front well over two furlongs out, just as Golden Horn, who was being closely tracked by The Grey Gatsby, began to make his move.

Although Frankie Dettori had to get serious aboard the 4-9 favourite it looked like he was in line to pick up the Jeff Smith-owned filly.

But as Golden Horn ranged up to Arabian Queen, she was not to be denied, finding just enough to stick her head out in front where it mattered and score by a neck.

Both Dettori and Gosden felt Golden Horn had raced too keenly and found his turn of foot blunted by the ground, which had led to dual 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles being a withdrawal.

Dettori said: "He was too fresh, having missed the King George. He pulled hard and wasted a lot of energy. He couldn't skip away on that ground like he usually does."

Gosden said: "The pacemaker missed the kick and then he ended up too far clear.

"Golden Horn was too fresh and keen and he did too much, too early. Frankie found it hard to settle him for the first six furlongs and he gassed himself out.

"He got in front, but I think we know now he's definitely better on faster ground and the filly just outstayed him.

"It was a real pity it rained and a real pity Gleneagles didn't run.

"You could see he was throwing his head about and he simply burnt too much petrol.

"The filly had run in the Nassau so take nothing away from her, she's very good.

"In hindsight we may have been better sitting just behind the pacemaker, but hindsight is wonderful. The fact Dick Doughtywylie was still six lengths clear three furlongs out tells you everything.

"We could go on to an Arc trial, but he might have to make his own running there so quicker ground will obviously help."

De Sousa was full of praise for the winner, who finished third in the Nassau at Goodwood last time out.

He said: "She's not an easy filly to deal with, she can be a bit of a madam at home. She has her own ideas about the game, but is obviously very talented.

"I had a clear run, picked the pacemaker up two furlongs out and I always felt I had a bit left.

"I couldn't say I was confident coming here - she was 50-1- but she had been third in a Group One on her last run, she's bred to get further and ran right to the line."

Smith said: "She's a filly on an upward curve. In the Nassau she finally got a mile and a quarter and today she got a mile and a quarter and a slight bit of cut and you've seen her to best effect.

"I think underneath all that, I've been boring people with the basic observation that before this race race, no one knew whether the three-year-old fillies were as good, better or whatever than the three-year-old colts as they'd never met.

"We're right up there with the fillies, improving, so why not run?

"I'm absolutely delighted."

He went on: "She's just an athlete. She has a wonderful temperament and loves her racing. David was always saying at home on the gallops that she was always racing and wanting to win. Just a terrific attitude for what she's bred for.

"She's just one of those that pops out and becomes a champion.

"It's tough to compare different horses. We've had Lochsong and Persian Punch win big races here, but don't forget I've had a third and a second in the Juddmonte so I was due one.

"I'll have a chat to David. She's bred for a mile and a half so we are in the (British Champions) Fillies And Mares at Ascot so that would probably be it for the year and next year possibly train her for the Arc."

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