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Yeats - Royal Ascot - 18.06.09

Yeats and Johnny Murtagh power home to Gold Cup glory

  Picture: Edward Whitaker  

Yeats makes history with fourth Gold Cup win

Report: Royal Ascot, Thursday
Gold Cup (Group 1)
2m4f, 4yo+

YEATS showed all his brilliance to record an unprecedented fourth victory in the Ascot Gold Cup.

The super stayer's rider, Johnny Murtagh, was keen to make it a real test of stamina and struck for home on the winner over three furlongs out. He quickly opened up a clear lead and never looked like being caught from that moment. 

Yeats's victory was the first for an eight-year-old in the staying showpiece in more than a century and he now goes down in history as the greatest Flat stayer of all time.

The early pace, set by outsider Hindu Kush, was only moderate and Murtagh settled his mount in a close third. At the six-furlong marker, Veracity moved into the lead, stalked by Yeats.

Murtagh asked his partner for maximum effort before three out and Yeats quickened away like a true great. It proved a race-winning move as although Patkai closed the gap in the final furlong, he was never going to get to Yeats.

The winner was well backed and sent off the 6-4 favourite with Patkai returning at 9-2. Geordieland, who was never close enough to land a blow, plugged on for third at 11-4. Yeats has been installed 5-1 joint favourite with Patkai for next year's Gold Cup with William Hill.

Yeats's victory was the fourth of the week for Murtagh, who leads Richard Hughes by one in the top jockey competition. 

Winning trainer Aidan O'Brien was quick to pay tribute to his champion, he said: "Unbelievable - that's all I can say.

"I was so sick this morning as I really believed this couldn't happen.

"History is very hard to change, we knew we had a wonderful horse but usually fairytales don't come true.

"You dream and dream and dream, we were in this position and we never would be again - great things can happen.

"It's unbelievable and I want to say a big thanks to everyone involved.

"I think today Johnny had a lot of pressure on his shoulders and the way he handled it, and the way he rode it, it was something else. I couldn't believe it.

"He's an unbelievable horse and we knew there would never be another one of him.

"How Johnny could ride him with such pressure on him. I've never felt pressure for any race before and this horse was the only time."

Peter Reynolds, racing manager to Patkai's owners Ballymacoll Stud, said: "He ran a very good race and he stayed the trip. He just ran a little freely down to the start.

"He obviously loves it round here and it was no disgrace to be beaten by a very good horse - who is a specialist round here.

"Sir Michael (Stoute) and Ryan (Moore) were very happy with him, but I can't tell you anything about plans at the moment."

Sadler's Wells may have relinquished his spot at the head of the leading sires' list but the 28-year-old remains a potent force among the higher echelons of the stallion ranks; Yeats is his second Group 1 winner this season following the victory of Ask in the Coronation Cup, and one of 71 individual Group 1 winners overall.

Bred by Barronstown Stud out of the winning Top Ville mare Lyndonville, Yeats represents the same cross that produced Montjeu.

From eight known foals of racing age, Lyndonville is also the dam of classy Japanese performer Tsukuba Symphony and Group 2 winner Solksjaer, now a stallion at Summerhill Stud in South Africa.

A half-sister to Fillies Mile heroine Ivanka, Lyndonville is closely related to another high-class and popular stayer in Alcazar, winner of the Prix Royal-Oak.

 

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