Lancaster Bomber made virtually all the running to claim a first Group One victory in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.
Sent off a 100-30 chance with stablemate Cliffs Of Moher seemingly the first string for Aidan O’Brien at odds of 7-4, Lancaster Bomber had only run in the Lockinge last weekend.
Cliffs Of Moher and Defoe closed to within just over a length a furlong out, but Seamie Heffernan’s mount kept finding for pressure on his first run over 10 furlongs and eventually came home two lengths clear.
So often viewed as a nearly horse, Lancaster Bomber finished second in the St James’s Palace Stakes, Woodbine Mile and Breeders’ Cup Mile last term, but needed to prove his stamina here.
Taking over from Success Days in the early stages, he built up a big lead and while the market leaders closed, they had to be hard ridden to do so and Lancaster Bomber proved too good at the line.
O’Brien said: “He’s been running at the top level the whole time, all in Group Ones, and obviously we didn’t think he’d get a mile and a quarter.
“That’s the first time we did it with him and let him roll on beautiful ground. He was there for everyone to follow and Seamus gave him a great ride, he went even to halfway and he kept going.
“He was happy to get a lead, but he was going to go level and we were happy to make the running also. He got left there so he Seamus did the right thing.
“The plan was to come here and then go back to Ascot for the mile race (Queen Anne) again. I’d imagine that’s where he’d go, but he’d have an option of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes now.
“We thought the Curragh is a tough place to get a mile and a quarter, but he didn’t flinch and he kept going.
“It was a great run from Cliffs Of Moher and we were delighted with him. He relaxed well and came there but just couldn’t get past the other horse. We were very happy with his run, it was a very solid run.
“They found themselves a little bit back off of him (Lancaster Bomber), but he just kept going in front and didn’t surrender.
“His form is very solid and his last run in the Lockinge was a very good run.
“We were thinking of coming here and going to the Prince of Wales’s with Cliffs Of Moher, so we’ll see now and obviously Idaho goes next week to the Coronation Cup.
“Some of those horses are still progressing and I’d say he progressed again. He’s rated 116. It’s a high rating and he’s still not finished with maybe.”