Saturday 18 November 2017

Gosden to aim Deauville victor Elusive Kate at Leopardstown

Elusive Kate, with William Buick up (left), just gets the better of Sky Lantern (Richard Hughes) to win the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket yesterday
Elusive Kate, with William Buick up (left), just gets the better of Sky Lantern (Richard Hughes) to win the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket yesterday

Chris McGrath

In contrast with the previous one, the merits of which have since been forensically examined by a three-hour hearing, Elusive Kate yesterday registered the fourth Group One success of her career with a performance gloriously free of equivocation.

Sixteen days after her contentious defeat of Sky Lantern in the Falmouth Stakes, and 10 days after connections of the runner-up failed in a protracted appeal, Elusive Kate was an emphatic winner of the Prix Rothschild at Deauville. It was her fourth win in five visits to the elegant Normandy resort, including the equivalent race last year.

The weather in France was pretty vile and John Gosden chose wisely in instead surfacing under a panama hat at Ascot, where he followed proceedings on television. The champion trainer watched approvingly as William Buick controlled the pace before opening up by two and a half lengths from Duntle. Elusive Kate did briefly drift left, as usual, but this time was able to claim the rail before causing any undue interference.

Company

Gosden indicated that the filly would remain in the company of her own sex in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, rather than take on the colts back at Deauville in the Prix Jacques le Marois – in which she finished third last year.

He added that another accomplished filly in his care, The Fugue, is back in top fettle after the break she required when off-colour in the Eclipse. She could go for the Yorkshire Oaks or stay at 10 furlongs for the Prix Jean Romanet.

Yesterday's success was a timely tonic for Buick, who had been unable to commit to Novellist when approached last week for the mount in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday. In the event the German raider shattered the course record for a five-length success under Johnny Murtagh, extending his vintage run of form since being granted a training licence in May.

Murtagh was leading jockey at the royal meeting, and has since been credited with masterly rides to win Group One prizes on Ambivalent and Chicquita. These unfettered displays can scarcely be counted a coincidence, with riding nowadays offering Murtagh an outlet rather than a focus for his professional cares. (© Independent News Service)

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