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Flying Cloud - Royal Ascot - 18.06.09

Flying Cloud draws clear to win the Ribblesdale Stakes



First British Group winner for Storming Home

Report: Royal Ascot, Thursday

Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) 1m4f

FLYING CLOUD gave Godolphin a much-needed fillip when powering home in the Ribblesdale Stakes to become Saeed Bin Suroor's first winner of this year's Royal Ascot.

Transferred from Andre Fabre's yard after winning a Group 3 at Saint-Cloud last month, Flying Cloud made a perfect debut for Godolphin and rewarded punters who supported her into 5-1 (from 9-1) before the off.

Frankie Dettori settled Flying Cloud off the furious pace set by Anice Stellato and then taken up briefly by Uvinza, but down the home straight the pair grabbed the lead and quickened impressively leaving Flame Of Gibraltar (12-1), who threatened briefly, and Uvinza, who plugged on for third at 28-1, in their wake.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained 9-4 favourite Leocorno, who missed the Investec Oaks in preference for this Group 2, was just edged out of the places in fourth.

Dettori, who was also notching his first winner of the week, said: "The first two days were a bit frustrating but this filly had a good chance and showed a good turn of foot, she surprised me a little.

"She should be a candidate for the Irish Oaks now.

"I think a mile and a half is spot-on but she wouldn't want the ground much quicker than this. She's gutsy."

Sheikh Mohammed, the founder of Godolphin, added: "Royal Ascot is always great, with nice people, and it's great that we have won."

Henry Cecil, trainer of runner-up Flame Of Gibraltar, said: "She's still a big baby and is improving all the time.

"She had a curb last year and was lame so I just couldn't train her. She's only now coming to herself and should go on improving.

"I would have been delighted if she was in the first four today and this was a big step up."

From the second crop of Gainsborough Stud's triple Group/Grade 1 winner Storming Home, Flying Cloud is a sister to Captain Webb, who became the first stakes winner for his sire when landing last season's Listed Glasgow Stakes.

Storming Home, who now stands at Darley Japan following four seasons at Nunnery Stud, has to date sired five stakes performers including this year's Derby Italiano third Jakkalberry.

Gainsborough bred Flying Cloudout of Criquette, a half-sister to Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner Markofdistinction. The daughter of Shirley Heights may not have been as publicly talented as her noted older sibling, but she was useful for Luca Cumani andowner Gerald Leigh, taking the Radley Stakes as a two-year-old.

Sheikh Mohammed purchased Criquette mid-way through her three-year-old career and although she only went on to add a minor race in the UAE to her resume, she has since become an invaluable broodmare for the Gainsborough operation.

As well as Flying Cloud and Captain Webb, Criquette is the dam of the Group 3-placed Candice (Caerleon) and Listed-placed Open Offer (Cadeaux Genereux). Another daughter, SkySong, is the dam of the dual Group 1 winner Laverock.

The 19-year-old Criquette has a yearling filly by Diktat and a filly foal by Authorized.





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