Soldier commands Ascot contest

Cox runner claims game verdict

  • Saturday 07 September
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Salute The Soldier made most of the running and just prevailed from course specialist Ripp Orf and top weight Tabarrak in the Cunard Handicap at Ascot.

Clive Cox’s four-year-old had won a decent pot at Goodwood last time out and was lining up off a 3lb higher mark.

With a distinct lack of front runners, Adam Kirby took control of the race early on and gained valuable ground two furlongs out which he was not to relinquish.

Tabarrak, second in the Goodwood race, and Ripp Orf, who excels in big fields at Ascot, came from out of the pack, but Salute The Soldier held on by a neck with the other two dead-heating for second.

Cox told Sky Sports Racing: “We’d been running him over a mile, but one morning we popped him off in front with a couple of good horses and we realised we were doing him a disservice dropping him in and it’s paid off.

“We hadn’t intended on making the running, but there wasn’t a lot of pace and Adam did a fantastic job.

“I think he’s still improving and we’ll have to do what’s right by the horse now.”

Rossa Ryan whittled himself down to make 8st 8lb for Apparate and it paid off in the Lavazza Stakes as Roger Varian’s three-year-old beat Persian Moon by a short-head.

“He had a light weight and my agent rang earlier in the week saying he might have got me on it and when he says you have to do light, it means they must have a chance – he wasn’t wrong,” said Ryan.

“Mr Varian was very positive going out – my worry was we didn’t go much of a gallop, but it worked out right.

“When I grabbed him a furlong out, he dug really deep. You don’t mind losing the weight when they win.”

Pocket Square showed the benefit of her debut run at Yarmouth with a startling display in the Royal Foresters British EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes.

Roger Charlton’s daughter of Night Of Thunder finished third of six there, but was only beaten less than two lengths.

She fairly sprinted clear with over a furlong to run this time and the 9-4 shot won by three and three-quarter lengths under Jason Watson.

Watson said: “She’s got a lovely nature, she just needed the experience at Yarmouth.

“She relaxed well in a slowly-run race and then it turned into a sprint, but she’s a scopey type and she’ll do well with more time.”

John Gosden and Kieran O’Neill teamed up for a double with Cherokee Trail (7-2), who won first time out in the Italian Tourist Board British EBF Novice Stakes, and the progressive She’s Got You.

Sent off the 11-4 joint-favourite in the Ritz Club British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap, the daughter of Kingman pulled away nicely.

O’Neill said: “She’s a nice filly, she was a bit tricky getting to the start, but once you get her going she’s fine.

“She’s getting better with every run. Hopefully she can get some black type along the way. She’s typical of one of the boss’ fillies, they keep improving.”

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