Mizzou (red cap): came out on top of a thrilling three-way finish
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Report: Ascot, Wednesday
Longines Sagaro Stakes (Group 3) 2m, 4yo+
MIZZOU came out on top in a terrific three-way battle at Ascot with second Clever Cookie and third Flying Officer giving everything they had in attempting to stop last year’s winner scoring again.
Frankie Dettori had made the running on Flying Officer, who conceded weight to all of his rivals, and they still led entering the final furlong but down the centre of the course Mizzou and Clever Cookie were fighting it out tooth and nail with Mizzou just coming out on top under jockey Andrea Atzeni.
Mizzou’s trainer Luca Cumani had said he felt this year’s Sagaro Stakes was stronger than the one the horse won last year and so it proved, with the Jon Kelly-owned five-year-old having to show courage and class in abundance to fend off his oh so persistent challengers.
Atzeni was nudging away on Mizzou before Flying Officer led the horses into the home straight and his mount, like 12 months ago, responded generously for pressure.
However, both Ryan Moore on Clever Cookie and Dettori on Flying Officer were getting spirited responses from their mounts the gallant trio went toe-to-toe throughout the closing furlong with Mizzou just getting on top to score by a neck at 11-4.
Clever Cookie, the 9-4 favourite, was second with 5-2 shot Flying Officer third.
Royal Ascot aims
Cumani said: “It was a tougher assignment this year than it was last year but he showed his battling ability. We still have to find another 5lb between now and the Gold Cup because the third was giving us that weight. We will be back here for the Gold Cup though.”
Betfred cut the winner to 10-1 (from 16) to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, a race he was seventh in last year.
The Gold Cup is also on the agenda for Clever Cookie, who was shortened to 20-1 (from 25) for the race by Betfred.
His trainer Peter Niven said: “I was stood at the furlong pole and when he got to them I thought he would go through with it but the winner has found a little bit. To be fair to him he has run a cracker.
“He will go for the Yorkshire Cup, which is back to a mile and six. He will be entered in them and I would love to come back here for the Gold Cup. If the ground was going to be like that I will definitely come with him.”
var $facebookBlock = $(‘#facebook’);