Saturday 25 November 2017

Muhaarar is Commonwealth king at Ascot

Dane O'Neill riding Muhaarar celebrates winning the 15.40 Commonwealth Cup
Dane O'Neill riding Muhaarar celebrates winning the 15.40 Commonwealth Cup
Muhaarar ridden by jockey Dane O'Neill on the way to winning the Commonwealth Cup during day four of the 2015 Royal Ascot Meeting

Muhaarar streaked clear in the inaugural running of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Winner of the Gimcrack at York last season before making a winning reappearance in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury, the Charlie Hills-trained colt was far from disgraced in finishing eighth from a wide draw in the French 2000 Guineas.

Back at six furlongs, Dane O'Neill's mount raced on the far side of runners and quickened clear in impressive fashion to claim the first staging of this Group One prize by an emphatic three and three-quarter lengths.

Limato battled his way to second place ahead of Anthem Alexander in third.

American challenger Hootenanny was the 9-4 favourite, but weakened rapidly from a furlong out and finished well beaten under Ryan Moore.

O'Neill said of the 10-1 winner: "It was all very easy, it was a bit surreal. He didn't half pick up.

Muhaarar ridden by jockey Dane O'Neill on the way to winning the Commonwealth Cup during day four of the 2015 Royal Ascot Meeting
Muhaarar ridden by jockey Dane O'Neill on the way to winning the Commonwealth Cup during day four of the 2015 Royal Ascot Meeting

"He's never done an awful lot wrong, he just didn't really stay in France.

"You can see now he looks a decent sprinter in the making.

"I had a look to my left and there weren't any real dangers so I decided to make my own move.

"To be on a nice horse like this in the first running of the race is great."

Hills said: "He's such a good horse, I promise you.

"He has a lot of speed and is very versatile. He ran a big race over seven (in the Greenham) and had a terrible draw over a mile in the French Guineas.

"It was Sheikh Hamdan's decision to come back to six (furlongs) and he's a Group Three winner, Group Two winner and now a Group One winner. He's a proper horse."

Press Association

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