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Art Connoisseur - Royal Ascot - 20.06.09

Art Connoisseur: a shock British-trained winner in the Golden Jubilee

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch  


Group 1 glory for
Lucky Story colt

Report: Ascot, Saturday

Golden JubileeStakes (Group 1) 6f, 3yo+

ART CONNOSSIEUR provided Oaks-winning trainer Michael Bell with a surprise victory over his international rivals in the £450,000 Golden Jubilee Stakes.

Sent off at20-1, last year's Coventry Stakes winner was nibbled at this morning, having opened at a top-priced 40-1, to provide jockey Tom Queally with a first Group 1 success.

King's Stand sixth Cannonball again finished strongly to come close to giving American trainer Wesley Ward a third win of the meeting, with Lesson In Humility, who raced up with the pace throughout, two and a half lengths behind in third.

Both the first and second came from the back of the field with Queally, deputising for the suspended Jamie Spencer, getting a dream run down the inside rail to score by a neck.

Bell admitted thinking the three-year-old was "a boy against men" and Art Connossieur was landing his first victory since his Group 2 win at the Royal meeting last year having made a successful recovery from a succession of setbacks.

The winning trainer explained: "He was second to Mastercraftsman in Ireland last year after he won the Coventry, then he fractured a cannon bone in the Gimcrack which everyone knew about.

"We ran him in the Free Handicap to see if he would stay a mile for the Guineas. He clearly ran like a sprinter in that race and this has been the target all along.

"I would have been more confident but a month ago he popped a splint and was very sore on it. He swam twice a day for a fortnight, then he came back in and has been cantering for a fortnight.

"He's done three bits of work and Tom came down to ride him work when Jamie [Spencer] got suspended. He worked very nicely but this is still a big surprise. I thought he was a boy against men, but he answered every call and Tom gave him a peach of a ride.

"I own a share with Richard Green and we turned down a lot of money for him after the Coventry. I was slightly regretting it over the winter but it now looks the right decision."

Queally, who finished second to Sariska aboard Midday in the Oaks, added: "Jamie got suspended and this makes up for Michael beating us in the Oaks.

"It's great to be on board and the horse did it very well. I just gave him time, got a split and it was do or die then up the rails.

"He idles in his work and only does as much as he has to, but I gave him a couple of cracks and he knuckled down great. Big races and big winners is what it's all about."

The three-year-old colt is the first Group 1 winner by Lucky Story, who becomes the third second crop sire following Elusive City and Exceed And Excel to produce a winner at the top level. He stands at Tweenhills Farm for £3,000.

The son of Kris S - a brother to Dr Fong - was an extremelytough two-year-old for Mark Johnston, winning four of five starts including the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster and Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

He returned from injury the following season to register a second place to Rakti in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

Thanks primarily to Art Connoisseur, who is the most expensive yearling sold to date by his sire at 55,000gns, Lucky Story was last season's leading British-based first crop sire by earnings. He has alsobeen represented by the Listed-placed Caranbola and this season's highly-tried juvenile Diamond Laura.

Denis McDonnell of Parkway Farm bred Art Connoisseur out of Withorwithoutyou, a winning daughter of Danehill tracing to the outstanding producer Morning Has Broken. Other members of this family include the Classic winners Balanchine and West Wind.

Withorwithoutyou has a yearling colt by High Chaparral.





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