Smullen mount wins Breeders' Cup Marathon

Smullen mount wins Breeders' Cup Marathon

Ralph Beckett’s dream season was topped off as Muhannak got the European challenge in Santa Anita off to a brilliant start by winning the Breeders’ Cup Marathon.

Beckettt landed his first Classic in June when Look Here won the Oaks, and with his first Breeders’ Cup runner he scored an amazing victory.

Ridden confidently by Pat Smullen, he kicked for home early and held off the late challenge of Church Service.

Frankie Dettori's mount Sixties Icon was all the rage in the betting going into the race on the back of three straight wins.

However, as the pace quickened Dettori found himself short of room and could never quite get on terms.

Smullen was always in the perfect position on Muhannak and kicked wide off the turn before hanging on for a head success, with a further three-quarters of a length back to Big Booster in third.

It is the first winner for the European team since 2006 after drawing a blank on a grim day 12 months ago, and it was Smullen’s first winner at the Breeders’ Cup.

Smullen said: "I didn't think there would probably be much pace on, so I wanted to sit in a good position.

“This horse has improved so much in the last six months and he’s a great credit to his trainer.

“It’s a dream come true for me. To ride a Breeders’ Cup winner, I really can’t believe it to be honest.”

Dettori said: "We went slow and I tried to get him into the race without going nine wide but in the straight he didn't show the turn of foot I was expecting.

“The disappointing thing was that he didn’t really finish and the others were going away from me at the end.”

Jeremy Noseda, Sixties Icon’s trainer, added: “I shall have to go and look at the film before making any comment.”

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