Racing Soap Opera Gr.1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes Won By Merchant Navy
There was a lot of soap opera action type twists and turns in a 72 second race, won by the son of Fastnet Rock.
The highest rated sprinter in the world, Harry Angel, started kicking out with his hind legs, as Adam Kirby was trying to mount him. Which was how he got his foot wedged awkwardly and sustained an injury. Harry Angel lost many lengths at the start Kirby looking round in the first few strides as if sensing something had gone wrong. He was lame coming off Royal Ascot track.
The Dark Angel colt’s defence of his Darley July Cup crown is in the balance, trainer Clive Cox said on Sunday. Cox reported: "He was lame when he came off the track yesterday. He improved overnight but was still sore this morning.
"He has a cut on his near-hind fetlock, which is deep, and on a joint. I’m relieved it’s no worse than that, and not as bad as it seemed it might be when he came off the course yesterday.
"The cut will need to be managed and we’ll have to mind the potential for infection to incur. The vets have flushed it and he’ll have a quiet week and we'll see where we are before thinking about what happens next."
Runner-up City Light’s antics were even worse. He surely beat himself by rearing as the stalls opened though he reached top gear remarkably quickly after returning to earth and was within two lengths of the eventual winner after perhaps a furlong. The son of Siyouni gave his Deauville‑based Stephane Wattel his first British success after 27 years as a trainer.
The Segenhoe Stud was able to hold on after shrugging off the wayward US runner Bound For Nowhere, who leaned on him in the final furlong. The winner has only been trained for a matter of months by Aidan O’Brien, having been Australian-based until the spring. His first trainer in Australia, Ciaron Maher, was present for the win and seemed genuinely elated.
Maher had hoped to have a runner at the Royal meeting last year until his Jameka fell ill. He promised to come back one day with a contender of his own. “It’s an unbelievable atmosphere and racecourse. It doesn’t get any bigger than this.”
O’Brien’s aim now is to persuade Merchant Navy’s owners to let the horse stay with him at his Ballydoyle yard for long enough to run in next month’s July Cup at Newmarket. “The plan was that he’d run here and then go back to Australia, as I think there’s a lot of mares waiting on him there,” the Irishman said.
The other British-bred Australian owned horse, Redkirk Warrior, who beat him in Australia in March, but that rival was very disappointing. Perhaps he had not coped as well with his travel and could not deliver his best.
1st Merchant Navy (A. O'Brien,R. Moore), 2nd City Light (S. Wattel,C. Soumillon), 3rd Bound For Nowhere (W. Ward,J. Rosario), 4th The Tin Man (J. Fanshawe,T. Queally), 5th Projection (R. Charlton,K. Shoemark), 6th D'bai (C. Appleby,W. Buick), 7th Sir Dancealot (D. Elsworth,S. Levey), 8th Spirit Of Valor (A. O'Brien,D. O'Brien), 9th Librisa Breeze (D. Ivory,R. Winston), 10th Redkirk Warrior (D. Dabernig,F. Dettori), 11th Harry Angel (C. Cox,A. Kirby), 12th Intelligence Cross (A. O'Brien,S. Heffernan)
Race Type & Conditon:
Distance:6f (1,207 metres), Surface:Turf, Track:Straight, Qualification:Four-years-old and up, Weight:9 stone 3 lb,Allowances,3 lb for fillies and mares, Purse:£600,000 (2017),1st: £340,260, Bonuses:see Global Sprint Challenge