Samuel returns from brink to lift cup

Samuel provided a warming narrative on a distinctively autumnal Yorkshire afternoon when winning the Doncaster Cup.

Samuel provided a warming narrative on a distinctively autumnal Yorkshire afternoon when winning the Doncaster Cup.

The John Gosden-trained chestnut suffered a frightful tendon injury two years ago and was a long shot to even race again.

But expertly eased back to full fitness by Gosden and his owners, Normandie Stud, the six-year-old returned to the fray at Sandown in July, before finishing second in the Lonsdale Cup at York.

This success, however, was his crowing moment and a testament to the dedication of connections, who have shown the patience of a termite in nurturing him back from a career-threatening setback.

“He’s been through a lot,” conceded his young jockey William Buick of the 5-1 winner.

That is indeed the case, but Samuel could barely have enjoyed a more straightforward passage through to Doncaster Cup glory.

With runner-up Tastahil having made his bid for the winning line three furlongs from home, Gosden’s stayer simultaneously upped the ante under his astute rider.

Buick then went for broke inside the penultimate furlong and although Tastahil refused to throw in the white towel, Samuel seized the day by a length and a quarter.

Sir Mark Prescott’s Motrice was an honourable third, while Opinion Poll, the 3-1 favourite, was fourth – but he would have appreciated softer conditions.

Gosden said: “He had a tendon injury but he’s come back great and won a Doncaster Cup which is fantastic.

“He ran well in the Lonsdale, he ran well here and if he’s OK, we might run him in the Cadran (at Longchamp on Arc day).”

Philipa Cooper, of owners Normandie Stud, added: “We’ve had to be very patient so this is fantastic.

“This is my best day in racing since Eulogy won the Whitbread Gold Cup in 1999.

“I thought he’d come back, race once and then it (injury) would happen again.

“All praise must go to John Gosden who has done a most unbelievable job with him.”

Barry Hills now has designs on the Jockey Club Cup at Newmarket for runner-up Tastahil, who has also finished second in the Chester Cup this season.

He said: “He stays forever. The ground was just about passable for him and he had them all in trouble about halfway up the straight.

“He could now go for the Jockey Club Cup or maybe to Longchamp as Sheikh Hamdan (Al Maktoum, owner) likes to target Pattern races in France.

“Of course there is also the Chester Cup for him again next year.”

Reopposing Tastahil at Newmarket could be Motrice.

Trainer Sir Mark Prescott reported: “I am very pleased – that is as good as we are.

“I would say if she does run again, it is likely to be in the Jockey Club Cup at Newmarket.”

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