Commonwealth Cup prize goes to Eqtidaar

Stoute speedster holds off Sands Of Mali in tight finish

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Eqtidaar clung on for victory in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Sir Michael Stoute’s three-year-old had failed to win in three starts since making a successful racecourse debut at Nottingham last summer, and was sent off at 12-1 for what looked another hot renewal of this six-furlong Group One.

The field quickly split into two groups, with Eqtidaar buried in the middle of the larger contingent which raced down the middle of the track.

Jim Crowley’s mount quickened smartly to lead in the final furlong, but was being mowed down late by Richard Fahey’s Sandy Lane Stakes victor Sands Of Mali, who had been in the smaller group against the stands rail.

In the end the line came in time for Eqtidaar, with the pair separated by half a length. Emblazoned finished third.

Stoute was saddling his third winner of the week and said: “We’ve always liked this horse.

“When he ran here in the Pavilion it didn’t go quite right for him and at Newbury (last time) he was on the wrong side of the track and at halfway he was beaten.

“He worked very well the other week with Jim Crowley, so we were hopeful.

“He’s progressing nicely.”

Angus Gold, racing manager for winning owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “They always thought a lot of him after he won first time out. He disappointed at Kempton and he came back full off muck and he scoped dirty.

“He ran a good race here on soft ground in the Pavilion Stakes and we all thought he would come on.

“I was quietly a bit disappointed with him at Newbury and Michael gave me a right going over for being disappointed as he rightly pointed out the race got away from him on the far side.

“We’ve not discussed his future. It was just nice to get that under the belt.

We’ve not discussed his future. It was just nice to get that under the belt

“He’s top of our league, obviously. Let’s see what Sir Michael and Sheikh Hamdan want to do.

“He is quite a big, long horse and in terms of the July Cup, whether that (Newmarket) is his track, I’m not sure.”

Sands Of Mali’s trainer, Richard Fahey, is confident his charge will enjoy his day in the sun later in the year.

He said: “It was a typical race at Ascot. You want to blame something when you only get beat half a length.

“Paul (Hanagan) felt he was just feeling the ground a touch. He’s a very brave horse and has got beaten by a better one on the day.

“He will win a Group One, maybe a couple of them. I think he will stay a bit further in time.

“He’s in the July Cup, but the race I would really like to go for is the Prix Maurice de Gheest.

“I will speak to his owners, but that is where I would like to go.”

John Gosden said of Emblazoned: “I was delighted with his run. The winner wandered out late and took us out a bit, but he was always beating us.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with out horse – third in a Group One.”

Commonwealth Cup prize goes to Eqtidaar
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