Sunday 25 August 2019

Disappointment for Aidan O'Brien as Pinatubo takes glory in Chesham Stakes on final day of Royal Ascot

Martin Compston presents jockey James Doyle with a watch after Pinatubo wins the Chesham Stakes
Martin Compston presents jockey James Doyle with a watch after Pinatubo wins the Chesham Stakes

PA Sport

Pinatubo proved far too good for favourite Lope Y Fernandez in the Chesham Stakes, the opening event on the final day of Royal Ascot.

Lope Y Fernadez was a popular choice for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore, who started the day two adrift of Frankie Dettori in the battle to be crowned leading rider at the meeting.

But Lope Y Fernandez could not help his cause, being thoroughly put in his place by the Charlie Appleby-trained Pinatubo (3-1).

The 5-4 favourite tried to go with the winner, but Pinatubo found plenty for James Doyle to run out an impressive winner.

Appleby told ITV Racing: "I'm delighted. He came here with the right credentials.

"I was quite confident throughout the race. He just goes out there and does his job."

Doyle added: "He's a horse that shows up nicely on the gallops without setting it alight.

"He's a very smart horse and he travelled well. He's not slow, but I'm sure up to a mile will be within his compass."

Appleby added: "We'll step up in class now, obviously. Something like the Vintage Stakes (at Goodwood) could be for him, the way he travels. The National Stakes (at the Curragh) wouldn't be out of the question later."

Space Traveller sprang a 25-1 shock as he beat favourite Space Blues in a thrilling finish to the Jersey Stakes.

Space Blues was a strong fancy for Appleby and Doyle and he appeared to have seized the advantage inside the last of the seven furlongs.

However, Danny Tudhope's mount Space Traveller was really starting to motor and he just poked his head in front in the shadow of the post for trainer Richard Fahey.

Tudhope had enjoyed a great start to the week, winning two races on Tuesday and then one on Wednesday at Ascot, before riding away from the Royal meeting on Thursday.

He said: "He's got a tremendous amount of ability and I'm glad he's done it on the biggest day.

"It's been an amazing week for me. I just want to thank everybody."

Fahey said: "Did I think he'd win, probably not. We liked him early on, we ran him in the Gimcrack but he didn't run a race at all.

"We decided to ride him cold to try to be placed and then he just passed the rest."

Defoe backed up his Coronation Cup success as he fended off Czech raider Nagano Gold in a dramatic renewal of the Hardwicke Stakes.

Sent off the 11-4 favourite, Defoe had to dig deep for Andrea Atzeni as Nagano Gold was flying at the finish for Christophe Soumillon, being beaten just half a length at the line.

The runner-up could be counted as unlucky as he was involved in an incident at the start when last year's Derby hero Masar stumbled badly coming out of the stalls, nearly unseating Doyle.

He managed to recover his reins, but Nagano Gold was caught behind, being brought to a virtual standstill.

Atzeni was delighted to win the Group Two event though, and said: "It's great. It's a tough week and hard to get winners. He's very straightforward.

"It's great for the owner as he's here today and has been here all week."

Trainer Roger Varian added: "I'm delighted, it's a special moment. He's a good horse who's getting better as he gets older and I'm delighted for the winner.

"He's a gentleman of horse, very straightforward and one of my favourites. (The King George) must be on the radar now."

Masar went on to run with credit on his first start since the Derby, before tiring from the furlong pole.

Doyle said: "He tripped over coming out of the gates, which is obviously not ideal in a race like this, but that's horse racing. It's annoying, but we'll move on."

Doyle added: "I don't really know what happened (at the start of the race), but just as the stalls opened his nose disappeared.

"Luckily when he came up he hit me in the chest and put me back in the saddle. It's not the start we want in a race like that, but what can you do?

"We ended up a bit far back and they didn't go quick and we just got caught for a bit of speed in the straight, but he ran well and has been off for over a year - it was a nice run.

"Hopefully he comes out of it in one piece and we'll go again."

Appleby said of Masar: "I'm delighted to see him back. We had a little bit of a mishap with a bit of a stumble out of the gates and therefore it didn't materialise quite how we wanted it to.

"We would have liked to have been placed a bit further forward. James (Doyle) was rather forced into a situation there. They have gone a sensible gallop, but as you saw he was a bit fresh and over-raced in the first quarter of the race."

He added: "Without speaking to His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) yet, I'd imagine something potentially like the Juddmonte International, as I wouldn't mind coming back in trip.

"For me he has still got plenty of boot there."

Blue Point supplemented his King's Stand Stakes success on Tuesday with a thrilling victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

The five-year-old struck gold for Appleby and Doyle over five furlongs earlier in the week, and showed no ill effects as he made a seamless switch back up to six furlongs to become the first horse since Choisir in 2003 to do the big-race double.

The speedy Kachy set the early gallop and was still in front until around a furlong to run, but Blue Point (6-4 favourite) kicked into top gear to take the lead.

However, the 6-4 favourite was made to pull out on the stops on the run to the line as the Tudhope-ridden Dream Of Dreams emerged from the pack, but Blue Point just hung on in a photo.

Doyle said: "That was pretty special - he gave me an unbelievable feeling. I said to Charlie after his last bit of work before the King's Stand that I thought he was probably one of the quickest horses I've ever ridden, and he certainly is that.

"It got a little bit hairy late on, Kachy went a hell of a pace and this fella is so genuine all he wanted to do was go and chase him down. I couldn't restrain him any more - I've never met a horse as tough as this. It's unbelievable.

"He's a real star and he has certainly stamped his stallion credentials now. It earmarks him as a real champion."

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