Sky Springs Hardwicke Surprise
Sir Michael Stoute broke his duck at Royal Ascot this week as 12-1 shot Snow Sky upstaged stablemate Telescope to win the Hardwicke Stakes.
Pat Smullen set steady fractions on board Khalid Abdullah’s Yorkshire Cup winner before leaving his rivals flat-footed as he kicked on at the turn for home. Eagle Top was a distant second just ahead of Postponed.
Stoute said: “That was a surprise but a nice one. After he won the Yorkshire Cup last month he looked like a Cup horse and we thought we might be going to Melbourne with him. Now we might have to have a rethink, but it’s not a bad problem to have.
“This is the best race he’s run by some way and he surprised me by the turn of foot he showed off the bend. That was where he won his race and he was impressive. We’ve never had him in front before but there was nothing obviously going to go on, and we couldn’t let that happen, and we knew he stayed. He’s really grown up and is much more mature now, and is a clean-limbed, good-actioned horse which is what you want.”
That was Stoute’s first winner of the week and his 73rd in total at Royal Ascot. He said: “We were due a change of luck. I’m just glad to get a single before the week is over.”
Telescope was well beaten in sixth and Stoute said: “He’s run on it before, but maybe this time it just caught up with him. He’s run two good races already this season and I’m sure he’ll bounce back.”
The King George could be next for the winner although he would have to be supplemented for the Group One contest. Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: “I was chuffed to bits. We were talking to Pat beforehand and I said, ‘Prince Khalid will never sack any jockey that makes all, I can tell you that’. So we said jump and be happy.
“He got into a great rhythm then began to stretch them a little bit and then, even better, he quickened off the turn and really won the race there. I think the King George has to come into it now. It was a pretty exceptional performance..”
Rory Jiwani 20/06/15
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