River Tiber fends off Army charge in Coventry thriller

River Tiber gave Aidan O’Brien a record-extending 10th victory in a thrilling Coventry Stakes.

Ryan Moore, odds-on to become top jockey at the Royal meeting, got on the board early and there was no hanging about in the six-furlong dash.

Despite having won his first two starts over shorter trips, punters placed their faith in the Coolmore team, sending the son of Wootton Bassett off the 11-8 favourite for the juvenile Group Two.

He travelled well throughout the race, tracking Frankie Dettori aboard Givemethebeatboys, yet Moore had to get serious two furlongs from home to roust his mount to go past.

With that battle won, the strapping winner had to fend off Army Ethos (20-1), who flew under Hollie Doyle in the final 100 yards, with Bucanero Fuerte and Kevin Stott following him through to be a close-up third. Givemethebeatboys, sold for £1.1 million at the Goffs London Sale on Monday evening, faded into fourth.

O’Brien was registering his 82nd winner at the Royal meeting, equalling Sir Michael Stoute as the most successful trainer at the fixture.

The Ballydoyle handler said: “It looked like he needed all of six furlongs there but he won over five last time.

“We brought him back in trip from his first run and he got a bit of a fright at halfway when he came off the bridle, but we knew then he was going to get six and seven. He won’t mind staying at six but he’ll be very happy going up to seven.

“He’s a very exciting horse, all ground comes alike as he won on very bad ground first time and then much quicker ground, it doesn’t matter much to him.

“We thought he was our Coventry horse when we started working him, long before he ran. You need your best horse to win the Coventry and he was never disappointing in any of his work. His last piece of work, he almost did it too well. You could see in the first half of the race he was doing everything very easily.

“We always thought he was a Guineas horse. If you think you have a Coventry horse, you almost know you have. He’s relaxed but he was a bit fresh at the start today because he was doing his work so easily.”

Archie Watson trained Bradsell to win last year’s Coventry and he was thrilled with Army Ethos’ effort in second.

He said: “We’ve almost won two Coventrys in a row, which for a yard like us would have been massive, but I couldn’t be happier with him. He’s always had so much class.

“The plan was always go to to Ayr and then come straight here. For a second run, it was a massive performance.

“I was always happy once I picked him out amongst all the reds, Hollie rides this track excellently. He’s a very good horse and we’ll just have to try to pick one up later in the season, I’d imagine we’d work around something like the Morny, possibly with something like the July Stakes or the Robert Papin in between.”

Doyle added: “He’s still a big shell. I probably could have done with being on the other side to have something to battle with, but he’s done nothing wrong and he ran straight as a die.”

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