Rob Hornby drinks in a double after guiding 14-1 shot Alcohol Free to a length-and-a-half win in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket
- Jockey Rob Hornby won his second Group One race in two days
- He powered Alcohol Free to victory in the Darley July Cup on Saturday
- It came 24 hours after his Falmouth Stakes victory on Prosperous Voyage
Rob Hornby is grabbing his opportunities with both hands and hit the Group One bullseye for the second time in two days when powering to a length-and-a-half win in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket on Andrew Balding-trained Alcohol Free.
The 27-year-old’s success on the 14-1 shot came 24 hours after his Falmouth Stakes victory on Ralph Beckett-trained 16-1 shot Prosperous Voyage.
Both rides only came his way by circumstance. Had Frankie Dettori not unexpectedly reunited with John and Thady Gosden, the Italian would have ridden Prosperous Voyage. And Hornby picked up the mount on Alcohol Free when her regular rider, champion jockey Oisin Murphy, was suspended.
Rob Hornby powered Alcohol Free to victory in the Darley July Cup on Saturday
Hornby, who was brought up in Shropshire, rode his first Group One win last season. His career has been a slow-burner since he joined the Balding stable in Hampshire as a 16-year-old straight out of school almost 11 years ago.
But his groundwork and patience is being rewarded.
The jockey said: ‘I’m speechless really, just to have two Group One rides in two days is fantastic. When I joined Mr Balding I was living the dream and getting paid for it. He has given me so many opportunities and this is where all jockeys want to be competing. It will not be an alcohol free time this weekend!
‘She got a bit disorganised at halfway but when she hit top gear she won convincingly.’
Alcohol Free has now won four times at Group One level, starting with the Cheveley Park Stakes as a two-year-old over six furlongs like Saturday’s race. As a three-year-old she won the Sussex Stakes and the Coronation Stakes at a mile.
The 27-year-old won his second Group One race in two days at Newmarket
Balding and owner Jeff Smith, whose best horse Lochsong was a beaten favourite in the 1994 July Cup, will now send her back up to that longer trip.
She will defend her Sussex Stakes crown at Glorious Goodwood on July 27 in what should be a red-hot race, with unbeaten Baaeed and 2,000 Guineas winner Coroebus in opposition.
Balding said: ‘She’s a speed miler rather than an attritional miler so Goodwood should suit her and we look forward to it.’
Going into Saturday’s race, Alcohol Free had been beaten three times this season leading to public concerns that she was not at the same level, but Hornby said the Balding stable retained faith in her and her speed.
She had finished ninth in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, almost three lengths behind Naval Crown who was runner-up.
Disappointing 9-4 favourite Perfect Power finished seventh.