/ Racing

Eagle Top glides easily to victory

Updated: Friday, 20 Jun 2014 19:11 | Comments

William Buick wins the King Edward VII Stakes on Eagle Top (L)
William Buick wins the King Edward VII Stakes on Eagle Top (L)

John Gosden will treat Eagle Top with kid gloves before deciding on future plans after the lightly-raced colt fulfilled plenty of home promise with a scintillating victory in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

A poor effort at Leicester following a debut success had not dampened Gosden's enthusiasm for the Lady Bamford-owned and bred son of Pivotal, as the three-year-old was found to be ill afterwards.

Encouraging homework had heartened the Newmarket trainer, who pulled his other runner Western Hymn, out of the Group Two, because of the fast ground.

Eagle Top (12-1) responded with a tip-top display as he bounded home, with William Buick even having to take a pull because he got to the front a shade too soon.

Aidan O'Brien's Adelaide was backed almost to the exclusion of everything else in the race and was sent off the 6-5 favourite, but he could not cope with Eagle Top, who went on to score by three and a quarter lengths. Scotland stayed on strongly for third.

Bigger targets will likely follow now, but Gosden would not be drawn on an immediate objective.

He said: "He won his maiden well, then we had that dreadful day at Leicester when he was beaten in a handicap.

"This is a dream for owner-breeders. I can't emphasise enough the agonies you go through.

"This is a lovely horse and he quickened really well."

Gosden won the King Edward in 2011 with Nathaniel, who went straight to the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, where he beat Derby hero Workforce.

Asked if the midsummer showpiece could be an option for Eagle Top, Gosden said: "We've supplemented a King Edward winner before for the King George in Nathaniel, so I'd never be frightened.

"If this horse was right he might be considered, but that is not the plan at this stage. He is a tender three-year-old and has just had three runs.

"I love the St Leger, but he is not a horse for that race and hopefully I have two, in the Derby third (Romsdal) and Forever Now, who won a maiden at Doncaster on Sunday.

"He wasn't entered for the Grand Prix de Paris as it closed in February and he hadn't even run then."

Cursory Glance (14-1) leapt to 14-1 favouritism with William Hill for the Qipco 1000 Guineas when winning the Albany Stakes in convincing fashion.

Roger Varian's filly produced a sweeping late run to nail American challenger Sunset Glow and the David Evans-trained Patience Alexander, overhauling the pair to score by two lengths and a neck to give Andrea Atzeni his first winner at the Royal meeting.

Varian said: "We got her from the States in November. I rang Craig (Bennett, part-owner) and said we've got a good filly here. That can be dangerous saying that to owners and it's not like me to do it, so I'm so pleased it's worked out.

"We felt if she came out and won somewhere we would come here.

"I'm not sure where we'll go from here. We'll just digest this and take it from there."

George Baker enjoyed his first Royal Ascot winner when denying the Queen's Bold Sniper with Contributer (9-1) in the Wolferton Handicap.

The Ed Dunlop-trained four-year-old overcame a poor draw to strike by half a length.

It was a big day for California-based owner George Bolton, who is renowned in his homeland for Curlin, American horse of the year in 2007 and 2008.

He got into racing through former US ambassador Will Farish, and Dunlop's father, the retired trainer John Dunlop, and actually rode work on Snaafi Dancer, who cost  $10.2m yet never ran.

"I rode for Ed Dunlop's father and rode work on Snaafi Dancer," said Bolton.

"This is the highlight of my racing career. To come over to Royal Ascot and win a race is very exciting.

"We've had some nice horses (in America), but not in 20-horse fields turning for home!"

Hartnell will be aimed at the Ladbrokes St Leger after surviving a stewards' inquiry in the Queen's Vase.

A decent two-year-old last year, the winner was slightly disappointing at Epsom first time out but ran a fine race when second to Snow Sky in the Lingfield Derby Trial.

Joe Fanning had Hartnell (7-2) in the perfect position throughout, just behind the leaders, but when Marzocco and Century moved up to challenge on the home bend the rider had to sit and suffer for a few strides to wait for a gap.

When it came up the rail Hartnell shot clear, yet just as it looked as if the race was over he began to idle and drifted off the rail.

Century was coming with a powerful late run and the two came together just before the line, with a neck separating them, and the stewards were forced to look into the interference.

A lengthy inquiry ensued, before the placings were announced as unaltered.

It was Middleham trainer Mark Johnston's seventh victory in the race.

He said: "That (St Leger) is definitely the target. Whether he'll run in between now and then, I don't know, but that was the target before the race."

Louis The Pious caused a 33-1 shock in the Buckingham Palace Stakes to give David O'Meara another feather in his cap.

Second in the Ayr Gold Cup last year, he was a welcome winner for Silvestre de Sousa who has found his role diminished at Godolphin in recent weeks.

To cap off a great race for O'Meara, he also saddled the third, Watchable.

Sandwiched between the O'Meara pair was Horsted Keynes, who absolutely flew from the back under Jamie Spencer to give the jockey yet another second for the week.

While it was a blanket finish for the places, the winner shot clear a furlong out and had three-quarters of a length to spare at the line.

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