Weld and Smullen Champion at Ascot with Rock
Dreamland for Smullen and Weld at Champions day once again as Fascinating Rock ran down a warm order favourite in Jack Hobbs to claim the Group 1 Qipco British Champion Stakes at Ascot.
Jack Hobbs was steered to the front end from a poor draw under William Buick and seemed to have things go to plan up front chasing a fair gallop set by Maverick Wave but as he hit the front with a furlong or so to go the rivals stacked up behind and the Irish Derby winner was unable to make his advantage tell.
Pat Smullen came with a swooping run inside the final furlong and Dermot Weld’s four-year-old secured a huge win for connections with the plan coming together for the team that has been laid some time ago.
Smullen was a delighted partner of the winner. “Our horses fly around here. I think he has been an underestimated horse, the ground and everything else was right for him today. They went fast, there was a good ease in the ground and 10 furlongs is his right trip. He’s a very good horse and is improving all the time, you can see how big he is – he can only improve. I wanted to be closer than I was, but they went so fast so I sat back and decided to take my chances.”
“This has been the plan for about six months. This was the race I thought would suit him best.” said Weld.
“Usually the ground is on the slow side. He loves it soft and he’s a very good horse in the autumn. He was very good at Leopardstown when he won by six lengths and I think he’ll make a lovely five-year-old. Hopefully he’ll be back here next year to defend his title. I’ll talk to the owner and see what he thinks.”
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