x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Fame And Glory pays back Dubai owners at Royal Ascot

The pair flew from Dubai to watch the five-year-old colt hand Aidan O'Brien a fifth Gold Cup in six years.

The owners of Fame flew from Dubai to watch Jamir Spencer and the colt gallop away to victory.
The owners of Fame flew from Dubai to watch Jamir Spencer and the colt gallop away to victory.

ASCOT, England // The decision of Dr Jim Hay and his wife, Fitri, to invest heavily in Fame And Glory in March paid off spectacularly yesterday when the Aidan O'Brien-trained colt won the Gold Cup.

The Dubai-based Hays bought a significant share in Fame And Glory the same week that Cape Blanco carried their pink and green colours into fourth place in the Dubai World Cup in March.

The pair flew from Dubai to watch as the five-year-old colt galloped his 14 rivals in to submission under his jockey Jamie Spencer to hand Aidan O'Brien a fifth Gold Cup in six years after Yeats won four in succession from 2006.

O'Brien was adamant that his charge would last home after winning the 2,800m Saval Beg Stakes in Ireland on his previous start. Fame And Glory proved his detractors wrong by easily holding off the late thrust of Godolphin's Opinion Poll, ridden by Mickael Barzalona. Brigantin, trained by English Derby-winning trainer Andre Fabre, finished third.

"The horse has so much class, and it is class that makes them stay the trip," O'Brien said. "The Gold Cup is the ultimate test of class and it is amazing that he can do it at shorter distances. He has now won Group 1 races over 10 furlongs, 12 furlongs and now this."

The sense of justification was tangible in the winners' enclosure afterwards as the Ballydoyle team celebrated in sight of the newly-unveiled statue of Yeats looking on. O'Brien now hopes to cash in on the horse's versatility by giving him a midsummer rest before an audacious tilt at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on the first week of October.

Fame And Glory was unfortunate to have been foaled in the same year as Sea The Stars and finished runner-up to the John Oxx-trained champion in the Derby at Epsom and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in 2009.

Last year the Montjeu colt won four races, including the Coronation Cup at Epsom, and also finished a solid fifth to Workforce in the Arc.

The Hays have invested significantly in bloodstock in the past three years and they own around 45 horses in Europe spread among trainers such as Paul Cole and Stan Moore. The pair also have horses with Mike de Kock in South Africa.

Cape Blanco's run in Dubai was the first time O'Brien has saddled a runner in the UAE since 2005.

The hiatus was, according to reports, due to a disagreement between John Magnier's Coolmore Stud and the global breeding operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed has not bought a Coolmore-bred yearling at any bloodstock sales since September 2005.

The move by the Hays to bring to Dubai Cape Blanco, who finished sixth in the Queen Anne on Tuesday, was seen as the first thaw in the reported rift between the two parties.

As for Godolphin, Barzalona's attempt to steal the race with a late rattle on Opinion Poll was reminiscent of his successful swoop in the Epsom Derby aboard Pour Moi.

The French teenager stood up in his irons that day and it was something that Simon Crisford, the racing manager to the Dubai-based operation, was hoping for.

"Opinion Poll finished very well but not quite as well as Pour Moi. We were hoping for that stand-up finish with Mickael but it wasn't to be," he said.

"Mickael put the horse to sleep at the back of the field and he picked up really well, so we are pleased.

"That was a super effort and the Goodwood Cup would be a suitable next step.

"The ground helped him today - he goes on quicker but he prefers to get his toe in."