A spectacular two days at the Breeders’ Cup for Europe was capped by two more winners on a Saturday night to remember for Ryan Moore.
The former champion jockey was at his brilliant best in landing the Filly & Mare Turf on Dank for his boss Michael Stoute, and bettered even that effort when flying late to snatch the Turf on Aidan O’Brien’s aptly-named Magician, denying William Buick and The Fugue.
Moore was at his coolest as he sat towards the rear in the mile-and-a-half contest on the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Magician, with Buick bowling along in mid-division on John Gosden’s The Fugue, enjoying an almost perfect passage aboard the Irish Champion Stakes heroine.
Buick appeared to have all bases covered when hitting the front from last year’s winner Little Mike, and although Moore began to weave his way through on Magician he had plenty of ground to make up.
O’Brien’s colt still looked to have it all to do approaching the business end, but Moore had timed it to perfection, arriving in the nick of time as the line loomed, getting up to win by half a length.
Magician had not run since Royal Ascot, and O’Brien was immediately on the telephone to Coolmore partner Michael Tabor, congratulating him for suggesting that the winner moved up to a mile and a half from a mile.
Winning the race for the fourth time, O’Brien said: “Ryan gave him a wonderful ride – a big ’well done’ to everyone involved, and especially to the lads for letting me move him up to this trip.
“The week before Ascot he knocked a hind leg in the stable and the trainer had the great idea to put him in the spa. He’d almost gone through his full swim when a sparrow flew in the door and between his ears, which caused him to jump out and bruise both his front legs.
“I probably shouldn’t have run him at Ascot (St James’s Palace), it was one of those freak things, but when Camelot had a setback a couple of weeks ago we were able to reroute Magician to this race off his long break.
“The icing on the cake is that he is by Galileo, who is the most incredible stallion I shall ever have anything to do with. Hopefully he’ll come back next year.”
Moore, riding his fifth and sixth Breeders’ Cup winners, said of Magician: “I had him in a lovely rhythm, nice and relaxed and I think he must be one of the best horses I’ve ever ridden. He’s got an awful lot of speed, and even though we had to come wide he really picked up.”
Defeat was too much for Buick – who was unlucky on The Fugue in the Filly & Mare last year – and he was in an emotional state when led back to the jockeys’ room by owner Lady Lloyd Webber.
Gosden said: He did everything right, but Aidan’s horse came wide and was having its first run since June, which made him difficult to assess. But I was delighted with the way my filly ran and hopefully she will come back next year.“
Winner of the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington on her previous visit to America, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dank was very keen early from her draw in stall one and Moore was forced to let her stride on in front through the early exchanges.
Moore was eventually able to take his mount back and race in second as matters settled down and Emollient took over in front.
Moore made his move off the home turn and found a willing partner as the challengers queued up, with Andre Fabre’s Romantica getting closest a half-length in arrears to make it a European one-two in a race run in record time for the event.
It was a sixth Breeders’ Cup win for Stoute and a second in the Filly & Mare Turf after Islington in 2003, also at Santa Anita.
Stoute said: “We came here with very high hopes and coming second or third wouldn’t have been very good – in fact I think she should be unbeaten and if I am allowed to keep her next year she will show how good she is.”
There was no joy for Europe in the Mile as Cristoforo Colombo (Moore) and Olympic Glory (Richard Hughes) were unplaced behind the brilliant Wise Dan, who was recording back-to-back wins.
But it was so close to a fairytale end to the Santa Anita spectacular as Joseph O’Brien and Declaration Of War were beaten a nose and a head into third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic behind Mucho Macho Man, who was a first winner in America’s richest race for 50-year-old Gary Stevens.
The victories of Dank and Magician took the European tally for the meeting to five, after famous wins for London Bridge, Chriselliam and Outstrip on Friday.
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