Sport Horse Racing


Roaring success for Murphy at York

Oisin Murphy celebrates on Roaring Lion. Photo credit: Tim Goode/PA Wire
Oisin Murphy celebrates on Roaring Lion. Photo credit: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Roaring Lion struck a decisive blow for the Classic generation yesterday when the 3/1 shot proved himself the pre-eminent mile and a quarter horse in Europe after running out a three-and-a-quarter length winner of the Juddmonte International at York.

However, connections of the runner-up will have left the Knavesmire believing they have some unfinished business with the winner after Poet’s Word was blocked and hemmed in at the critical moment, three furlongs out.

James Doyle has enjoyed a golden summer but little went right for him in this race and, when he finally found some racing room aboard Michael Stoute’s five-year-old , Roaring Lion had already flown the nest.

Lester Piggott once famously mumbled: “Every year they say the three-year-olds are no good – every year they’re wrong.”

Yesterday’s result will have gone some way to redressing the balance and, as winning trainer John Gosden pointed out, there were no significant older horses in the Eclipse, and no significant three-year-olds in the King George, so this was where they met.

“He had been working exceptionally well,” said Gosden. “We had a difficult spring with him. It was cold and wet, which he didn’t like. But he has got better and better and this was not a fluke.

“He rather threw away the Racing Post Trophy at two, he was not with me for the Craven or the Guineas but, my goodness, the Guineas put him right. He was last off the bridle in the Derby but didn’t stay and was the last off the bridle here. He is a mile-and-a-quarter horse through and through and he is a better horse than when he won at Sandown (Eclipse). I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t run like that. I was expecting a big performance and we got one.”

The Group One winners are now beginning to flow for Oisin Murphy, who was adding the International to Roaring Lion’s Eclipse and Lightning Spear’s Sussex Stakes for his employer, Qatar Racing. However, he admitted that in believing he was on the best horse he felt more pressure in a big race than he had ever felt before.

Having supplemented Thundering Blue for £75,000, David Menuisier was delighted with the 50/1 shot’s third, half-a-length behind Poet’s Word.

Old Persian gave Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby the ‘perfect’ result in the Great Voltigeur Stakes after leading home his shorter-priced stable companion Cross Counter. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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