The Golden Jubilee Stakes
1 Art Connoisseur 20/1
Art Connoisseur Masters Jubilee Rivals
Art Connoisseur, who won last year’s Coventry Stakes, stepped up on that with a superlative performance in the Jubilee Stakes, to win by a neck, at 20/1, from the American-trained Cannonball.
Trainer Michael Bell looked both surprised and relieved as he entered the winning enclosure as the horse almost didn’t make the race, through injury.
“About a month ago, things were going to plan and then he popped a splint on his off-fore and it was very sore. When it first happened I thought ‘Oh God’, as a splint’s quite serious. But I took the decision there and then just to send him swimming.
“We had to swim him for about a fortnight, twice a day, and he came back and did three bits of work. He worked with an 80-rated handicapper, and it was difficult quite to know if he was back to his best or not.
“He was moving very well and that’s the thing, having had a splint. He did another bit of work on Wednesday and he was moving fine. He had a swim on Thursday and Friday, and boxed him up here this morning.
“He obviously loves this track. He looked very good when he won the Coventry and we turned down telephone numbers for him and now it looks the right decision.
“These sprinters tend to get better with age. He’s suited by this track and he likes seeing horses get on with it early on. And Tom [Queally] gave him a peach of a ride.
“I’m delighted for Tom, but it’s bad luck for Jamie [Spencer] and normally if Jamie hadn’t been riding him Hayley [Turner] would have been riding him and it’s just gutting at the moment. I said the BHA that Hayley might have had a chance to ride this horse and it’s cost her the best part of £25,000 so something needs to be happening.
“It’s been a very good June for us and there’s a few days left. We’ve got the Northumberland Plate next week.”
Queally said: “He had an outside chance, so I was always riding him to get placed more than anything else. Thankfully he kept going. It was pretty awesome. I sat on him last week . He worked quite well though he idled a little bit. He does what he’s asked to do, but thankfully he did a little bit more than that today. Form at the meeting would always have to be a plus and thankfully he remembered the place. To get a big winner like this is unbelievable.”
CANNON FIRES GREAT PARTING SHOT FOR WARD
Cannonball narrowly failed to provide the perfect end to a dream week for Californian trainer Wesley Ward when missing out by a neck in the Golden Jubilee.
“I just wished I could have got the money for his owner Mr (Kenneth) Ramsey, who has been my main man since we moved stables. We were just eyeing up the gold cup (for the winner),” said Ward.
“Unfortunately Johnny (Velzaquez) couldn’t stay on to ride the horse but I’m sure Mr Peslier rode a beautiful race although I haven’t seen it again yet.
“Anytime you get beat like that it’s a tough one, it’s a bit like kissing your sister when you’re second. But at the same time it’s an honour to be placed in a race like this.
“The original intention was to go for the July Cup but he’s had two hard runs very quickly and I like to give them a break between races so will talk it over with Mr Ramsey.
“This is such a great sporting event and I think that if a lot of American owners and trainers saw how big it was they would also come here.
“If I ever come back again I’ll make sure I bring one of my top horses. We were very lucky that the filly in the Queen Mary (Jealous Again) was just in top form on the day.
“It took a lot of talking to persuade my owners to come over because it’s very expensive, there are no supplements to come here so if you’re not getting prize money it would be costly.”
Third-placed Lessons In Humility ran a blinder in third and her trainer Karl Burke said: “That was her best performance ever by a long way and hopefully there is more to come. I knew the filly was in great form and the idea was to get as much black type as possible this season, which she’s done - winning a Listed, a Group Three and now being placed in a Group One.
“She’s not in the July Cup, she’d have to be supplemented but there are plenty of other races for her. The idea was to send her to the sales at the end of the season but her owner enjoys racing and I’d say there’s every chance she’d stay in training next year.”
South African raider J J The Jet Plane finished fourth when sent off 5/2 favourite and his trainer Mike de Kock said: “We’re obviously disappointed but it’s a difficult result to judge - he passed some horses, then they passed him and he passed them again.
“It was really a three-furlong race because they cantered for the first three and it has long been my suspicion that he wants seven furlongs or a mile. But he’ll still go for the July Cup as it’s a stiff six furlongs there.”
J J The Jet Plane’s rider Kevin Shea added: “We went very easily in the first couple of furlongs but I’ve no excuses. It’s just one of those in racing but I have to say it’s a bitter pill to swallow.”
‘YOU’VE NOT SEEN THE BEST OF SACRED,’ SAYS JOCKEY
Crack Hong Kong sprinter Sacred Kingdom finished fifth in today’s Golden Jubilee Stakes, a disappointing conclusion to a bold challenge.
Jockey Brett Prebble said: “He’s run well, although we’re disappointed not to win. I think a flat track would suit my horse better - he’s used to pure sprinting, that’s what he’s accustomed to and not the tough, grinding-out effort you need to win a race like this.”
Prebble said he did not get the start he hoped for, and added: “In Hong Kong and Singapore a man is placed in the [starting] stall to keep each horse flat [calm] and without that my horse wanted to rear and carry on. During the race he got buffeted about a bit and they really didn’t go that quick.
“You’ve not seen the best of him - that’s not his true form. Given the different circumstances I’m not too disappointed and we’ll get him back home where the sprinting tracks will suit him better.”
Mark Player, head of international races at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said Sacred Kingdom’s previous race in Singapore “may have taken a bit more out of him than we thought”, and added: “He sweated up a bit today, but that may have been the different environment.”
He added: “He got in a bit of a bumping match early on in today’s race and had to chop and change strides several times. He couldn’t get into his usual rhythm, but he made his move and then flattened out over the final 400 metres.
“It’s a performance we’re proud of, but it wasn’t a winning one. At least we picked up some prize-money [£11,232] and flew the flag for Hong Kong in that way. Hopefully we’ll be back another time to put the record straight. We’ll give him a break now and then look at Japan’s Spinters Stakes in October - if not we’ll go for the Hong Kong Sprint Trial in November.”
Kingsgate Native, last year’s winner, finished last but one in thirteenth after returning to racing - he was retired to stud last autumn, but failed to fulfil that role and joined trainer Sir Michael Stoute in late March. Chris Richardson, stud manager for Cheveley Park Stud, the horse’s owners, said: “We’re a little disappointed. He broke well, but didn’t get any cover and then got tired. He was off a long time and missed some early-season conditioning and preparatory work.
“This was his first run back, I’m sure he’ll improve and could keep running for a number of years. I expect he’ll now have a go at the July Cup.”
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