Kingston Hill claims a deserved Classic success
Kingston Hill had been trying all season to record victory in a Classic without success but Roger Varian’s stable star has finally got his name on the roll of honour with a strong staying performance in the St Leger, a race he has been laid out for all season. The will he run, won’t he run debate was put to bed yesterday with Varian confirming Kingston Hill’s participation and it was a decision well made, with Andrea Atzeni steering him home with a fine waiting ride.
The Mastercraftsman colt had competed in both Classics prior to today, finishing eight in the Guineas beaten 5 lengths, before heading to Epsom where he gave the brilliant Australia most to do. Varian had always been pointing his charge towards the Leger however due to Kingston Hill’s obvious staying qualities, although he did have to prove that he would stay today’s lung bursting trip.
There was also doubts about his ability to handle quick ground which had seen him miss two engagements this season including the Irish Derby but all these doubts were unproven as Kingston Hill rallied late in the day to record an impressive victory, providing Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni with first Classic wins in the process.
Aidan O’Brien’s sole representative Granddukeoftuscany had led the field along at a decent pace from the start, keeping known front runner Hartnell in his slip stream and Forever Now behind on the outside. Kingston Hill was settled back in mid division by Atzeni, with main market rivals Snow Sky and Romsdal also being restrained.
Granddukeoftuscany’s challenge eventually began to falter up the home straight allowing Romsdal to just get to the front while Kingston Hill slowly got into stride on the wide outside. It would eventually turn into a straight dual between the two. Kingston Hill began to hang to his left and having dragged Romsdal across to the rail in the closing stages, used all of his stamina reserves to come home a 1 1/4 length winner. Snow Sky, who had been keen early, eventually stayed on for third.
A delighted Atzeni said afterwards: “It’s great. I don’t know what to say. It is just a dream.
“I rode him like the best horse in the race which I though he was and he travelled so well in behind. He is so laid back and just goes to sleep. When I pulled him out he was always going to get there.”
Varian added: “I am so pleased for the horse who has got the credit he deserves. I am delighted for the owner Paul Smith who is a marvelous man and for all the staff who work so hard. For him to win a Classic is just brilliant.”
Owner Smith himself said: “My word I can’t believe it – he has won a Classic. It is just incredible.
Andrea rode a fabulous race, put him to sleep, let him go to the front and gosh does he stay. It’s a dream come true.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: John Giles/PA Wire
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