Lightning Spear and Oisin Murphy surge clear in the Celebration Mile
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Report: Goodwood, Saturday
Doom Bar Celebration Mile (Group 2) 1m, 3yo+
LIGHTNING SPEAR took advantage of a drop in grade to gain a first win of the season, coming from last to first to score for David Simcock and Oisin Murphy.
The five-year-old had contested Group 1s on his last four starts, with his standout run coming at Royal Ascot when third in the Queen Anne Stakes to Tepin. Down in class he ran out a ready winner, as favourite Thikriyaat never looked comfortable finishing last of the five runners.
Each of the runners holds an entry for the Qipco-backed Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot, and Lightning Spear enhanced his chances with a length-and-three-quarters victory.
The winner was cut to 10-1 (from 16) for the Group 1 by Paddy Power, and Simcock indicated that is the plan.
He said: “That’s a massively relief, honestly. We’ve always thought the world of him and he was brilliantly nurtured by Olly Stevens. We’ve just picked up the pieces. We were so pleased with his first start in the Queen Anne and watching his last two races you wouldn’t believe it and you feel sorry for the horse as he’s very, very good.
“I’m not one to hype horses and I think he’s really talented. He’s got a really good turn of foot. Everything is aimed towards Ascot now and we’ll have a really good go at the QEII.”
How the race unfolded
Arod, who also ran in the colours of winning owners Qatar Racing, cut out a decent pace with Zonderland for company, while Paul Hanagan had Thikriyaat at the rear of the field with Lightning Spear.
However, the signs were ominous for favourite backers a long way out, with Hanagan urging Thikriyaat to get competitive, something he was unable to do. He was found to have a fibrillating heart in a post-race examination.
Meanwhile at the front, Arod continued to hang tough but was gradually being worn down by Zonderland. But no sooner had Clive Cox’s runner got to the lead, he was gathered up by Murphy who was charging down the centre of the track.
The winning jockey added: “They can be trappy races those small-field races. All credit has to go to David because I thought we might bypass this race and go for something else. But Jenny, his wife, rides him everyday and was keen to run so it’s down to them. I’m 20 years of age and I’m very fortunate to be riding horses like this.”
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