Saddler’s Rock coming out on top in Thursday’s Goodwood Cup
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Saddler’s Rock gives Oxx first Goodwood Cup win
Report: Glorious Goodwood, Thursday
Artemis Goodwood Cup (British Champions Series) (Group 2) 2m, 3yo+
SADDLER’S ROCK made up for a luckless performance in the Ascot Gold Cup to justify favouritism and turn the tables on Colour Vision, giving trainer John Oxx his first Goodwood Cup victory on Thursday.
Johnny Murtagh sat in third place early on Saddler’s Rock in the 2m contest as the Andrew Balding-trained Chiberta King led from Electrolyser with Colour Vision a few lengths adrift in fourth under Frankie Dettori.
Electrolyser kicked for home as the field charged down the hill and Aaim To Prosper improved to challenge, but Murtagh always had Saddler’s Rock within striking distance and he sent him into the lead approaching the two-furlong pole.
Colour Vision had been caught a bit flat-footed but began to close the gap before his 4lb penalty began to take its toll and it was left to 25-1 outsider Askar Tau to launch the final challenge.
Saddler’s Rock, however, had enough in the bag to land the prize by a length, with three-quarters of a length back to the brave Colour Vision.
Murtagh, who had pointed out that Saddler’s Rock had pulled too hard when beaten just half a length and a neck in the Gold Cup, said: “This was going to be a big year for this lad and it didn’t start great at Ascot, but he redeemed himself today. He’s a lovely little stayer with a great turn of foot, especially on this ground.
“He’s not very big, but is all heart and very straightforward. He’s improving all the time.”
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker
Saddler’s Rock had looked a stayer to follow after defeating Opinion Poll in last year’s Doncaster Cup and Oxx said: “It’s a nice race to win, a great old race with a lot of tradition and history and I’m delighted to win it with such a nice horse.
“Not just one thing – three of four things – went wrong at Ascot and we felt he was a bit unlucky and that was the one that got away.
“Today we rode him more prominently and it was a nice, even pace. We took no chances and he was in front too soon, which he didn’t particularly enjoy, but that’s the way the race worked out.
“He’s got a great temperament and is very relaxed at home. He’s an ideal Cup horse and we’ll keep him to that.”
Oxx added: “We’ll go for the Lonsdale Cup at York in three weeks’ time, then the Doncaster Cup and then maybe the Cadran. It’s a nice programme.
“He doesn’t like soft ground, although he probably handles it better than he did last year. But that’s the only worry – heavy ground wouldn’t be his cup of tea.”Askar Tau had run well when fifth behind Colour Vision in the Gold Cup and put in another improved performance for trainer Marcus Tregoning.
Godolphin second string Lost In The Moment, runner-up in the race 12 month ago, was restrained in last place under Silvestre de Sousa and could only improve to eighth, while dual Royal Ascot winner Simenon was never seen with a chance, finishing sixth.