Trip to Paris takes Gold Cup glory at Ascot
Trip To Paris and Graham Lee took the glory in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
The 12-1 winner was supplemented for the staying showpiece following his victory in last month's Chester Cup and was held up for a late run by the Grand National-winning jockey.
Previously unbeaten favourite Forgotten Rules quickened to hit the front passing the two-furlong marker, but the Ed Dunlop-trained Trip To Paris finished powerfully against the far rail and got up to score by a length and a quarter.
Kingfisher failed to get a run when he needed one in the straight and could be counted a little unlucky having come home strongly to grab second.
Forgotten Rules was far from disgraced in third, ahead of Simenon in fourth.
Lee said: "He gave me a great ride. I got on him in the parade ring and he was so switched off and relaxed and he raced that way.
"He was just conserving his energy and when I turned in there was a gap down the rails. He's picked up good and he deserved it.
"I've had a good day in the office, so I'll enjoy it.
"They've supplemented this guy for a lot of money, so fair do's to the sporting connections for that gesture."
Dunlop was following in the footsteps of his father, John, who trained Ragstone to win the Gold Cup in 1974.
"It's amazing. My parents have the Gold Cup on the dining room at home and it's been there since 1974," said the trainer.
"Credit goes to the owners. They bullied me into supplementing and it came off.
"He's improved a lot. He ran in the King George V Handicap last year with blinkers on.
"We gelded him and that was the making of him. He has a turn of foot for a stayer, he's won over a mile and a half.
"He's a very good horse now. He's won a Chester Cup and a Gold Cup, which is a pretty big deal."
Dunlop has famously trained Red Cadeaux to fill the runner-up spot in the Melbourne Cup three times and a tilt at the famous race could now be on the agenda for Trip To Paris.
Asked about a trip Down Under, he said: "He'll probably be badly handicapped now. Various Australians said I shouldn't be running him in case he went up in the handicap, but he can quicken and he goes in any ground.
"He's proven today he's a very good horse and it will be considered."
Kingfisher's trainer Aidan O'Brien was magnanimous in defeat.
He said: "He ran a great race and we were delighted with the way he ran."
A decision on the participation of Forgotten Rules was left late by trainer Dermot Weld, due to his well-documented preference for ease in the ground.
The master of Rosewell House refused to blame conditions, however.
He said: "He ran a great race and I was satisfied with him. You win some, you lose some.
"It was a very close call, but I'm not blaming the ground. On the day we were beaten by two better horses.
"This was as far as he wants to go. He was the winner a furlong and a half down. I thought he didn't quite get home.
"I've always said there's a big difference from two miles to two and a half miles. He was cruising there after two miles.
"He is significantly better on soft ground, but all that said he's run a big race.
"We will review the whole situation and take it from there."
Simenon was fourth for the second year running, having filled the runner-up spot behind the Queen's Estimate in 2013.
Trainer Willie Mullins said: "It was great to come back for the third year in a row and get some prize-money and get into the winner's circle."
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