Cleonte collects Queen Alexandra for Balding and King Power

Poignant success in Ascot marathon

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Cleonte gave trainer Andrew Balding the victory he desired all week when coming out on top in the stamina test for the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Kingsclere handler had won with Dashing Willoughby earlier in the week, but had hit the crossbar a couple of times for owners King Power Racing.

He was therefore understandably delighted Cleonte (7-2) struck for the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Leicester City chairman who died in an helicopter crash in October.

Patiently ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, the six-year-old stayed on stoutly to hold the late challenge of last year’s winner Pallasator by a length and a quarter, with Max Dynamite four lengths back in third.

Balding said: “It’s really great. I’m chuffed for everyone at King Power and the chairman’s family.

“We had some near-misses this week and we were just desperate to get a winner on the board. We left it late, but happy days.

“They’ve all run well, but everything that has happened over the last year – the chairman loved Ascot and it started his interested in the sport.

“This was always the target after the Chester Cup and I’m so pleased it’s worked out.”

Cleonte collects Queen Alexandra for Balding and King Power
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