Thursday, 16 June 2011

Review of today’s Group 1 Gold Cup

For the sixth year running the Group 1 Gold Cup was won by Ireland as Fame And Glory proved far too classy for his rivals under jockey Jamie Spencer. The pair surged clear down the home straight to record a three-length victory over the Godolphin-owned Opinion Poll in second.

It was the fifth time in six years that Aidan O’Brien was responsible for training the winner after the achievements of record-breaking winner Yeats and this victory hinted that another dynasty could be about to begin. Punters poured their money into the four-time Group 1 winner as he looked to notch another top level success over the furthest trip he had tackled. An opening show of 5/2 was soon taken and he was sent off the heavily backed 11/8 favourite when the gates opened. Richard Hills led the field at a fairly sedate pace on-board Tastahil as the 15 runners passed the post and headed out past the Grandstand.

Geordieland, a dual runner-up in the race and returning to the track for the first time in 643 days, wasn’t going quick enough though and he swept round the field to take up the running and inject some pace into proceedings. While all this was happening Fame And Glory was tucked away on the rail, saving ground on the inside and travelling sweetly for his rider. Entering the home straight Manighar hit the front but Fame And Glory followed and when he found the far rail the race was as good as over. Spencer kept the son of Montjeu honest all the way to the line and, although it briefly looked as though Opinion Poll might reel in the Ballydoyle horse, he found more at the business end to score by a comfortable margin.

The winning jockey said the race went like clockwork: “It was a very easy, push-button ride.
It was a great training performance.” On that subject, the winning trainer couldn’t hide his elation: “I'm delighted for everybody and for Jamie who gave him a great ride. Thanks to everybody for letting a horse with his class run in the Gold Cup. You don’t see many mile-and-a-half Group One winners running in a Gold Cup. When horses have so much class they can often stay - class makes them stay but it's the ultimate test when you go that extreme distance. I'm just very privileged to have him.”

Given the achievements of his former stablemate, comparisons were immediately made to Yeats and, when drawn on the question of whether the winner would return next year to defend his crown, O’Brien simply remarked: “The Gold Cup next year? Wouldn't it be marvellous.”

Result – 2011 Gold Cup
Horse Fame And Glory 11/8F
Jockey Jamie Spencer
Trainer Aidan O’Brien
Owner D. Smith/Mrs J. Magnier/M. Tabor/Mrs F. Hay
2nd Opinion Poll (IRE) 16/1
3rd Brigantin (USA) 16/1

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