x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Delegator fails to deliver

The colt runs out of steam in final furlong and Rip van Winkle wins the race as Hibaayeb and Ahla Wasahl are victorious for the UAE.

Rip van Winkle, left, ridden by Johnny Murtagh, pulls clear of the field during The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
Rip van Winkle, left, ridden by Johnny Murtagh, pulls clear of the field during The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

Delegator failed in his bid to capture Godolphin's second English Group One win of the season, running out of steam in the final furlong of Europe's premier mile race, the Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot yesterday. The Dansili colt, ridden by Frankie Dettori, broke third in the four-horse field and settled ahead of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Zacinto under Ryan Moore.

When he made his move the Celebration Mile-winner looked momentarily good for the win, responding to Dettori with lightning pace. But Aidan O'Brien's Rip van Winkle found more and Delegator's stamina failed, finishing three lengths off the winner in third. "It was a long way down the straight but he pricked his ears a bit and this horse can stay," said regular Dubai jockey, Johnny Murtagh, of the winner. "He's a typical Ballydoyle horse; courageous, brave and come the big day they are always there."

Zacinto, who had gone from last to second, hung on, almost drawing alongside Rip van Winkle but the winner dug deeper, proving his superior class and setting out his stall as an early favourite for November's Breeders' Cup. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Aqlaam, sent to the front by Richard Hills, set the fast-paced early gallop but could not quicken. Godolphin endured a frustrating meeting after Long Lashes failed to run on in the Group One Meon Valley Stud Fillies' Mile, finishing second last.

Simon Crisford, the racing manager, had earlier said the ground at Ascot would suit her, after she struggled in the Moyglare at the Curragh last month on soft going. Ascot did prove a fruitful hunting ground for other Dubai connections, however, with Hibaayeb, owned by Mohammed al Nabooda, proving a shock winner of the Fillies' Mile. The Clive Brittain-trained runner, who had never won a race before, has now booked a ticket to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf.

She survived a steward's inquiry when she appeared to hamper two other runners after hanging under jockey, Neil Callan. Ahmed Ajtebi struck the first blow for the Emirates with a surprise win on Ahla Wasahl, owned by the UAE's Sultan Ali and trained by David Simcock. The rank outsider, given a flawless ride was sent to the front in the final furlong in the Listed Deloitte Rosemary Stakes. "I was a bit worried about the draw. I finished third on her in a Group Two last year but she always gives me a good feel," said the Emirati jockey.

There could be more UAE honours on the cards today. Fresh from a third in the Dubai Duty Free Arc trial just over a week ago, Godolphin's Campanologist starts in the 1m4f Cumberland Lodge Stakes when the Dubai racing stable clashes once again with a runner from Sheikh Hamdan's string. The outing, another Group Three, pits the son of Kingmambo against Sheikh Hamdan's Mawatheeq, the winner of a handicap at Doncaster earlier this month and a definite danger if he can step up in form.

stregoning@thenational.ae