Fame And Glory lands monster Gold Cup punt
Report: Royal Ascot, Thursday
Gold Cup (Group 1) 2m 4f, 4yo+
FAME AND GLORY landed a monster punt and silenced those who thought he would not get the trip as he ran out a most convincing winner of the Gold Cup.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained five-year-old was backed into a starting price of just 11-8 having been 2-1 in the morning and those who supported him had hardly any worries as he won comfortably under Jamie Spencer.
Opinion Poll ran on late under Derby-winning jockey Mickael Barzalona but could get no closer then the three lengths he finished behind the winner at 16-1 with Brigantin, another 16-1 chance, finishing a further four and a half lengths back in third.
The 2009 Derby runner-up, who later won that season's Irish Derby, was taking a big step up in trip here having won narrowly in his first start over 1m6f last time, but he was always travelling best, and cruised to the front under Spencer two furlongs from home before sauntering clear of the field.
Spencer however found himself in trouble with the stewards, as he received a one-day ban, June 30 for careless riding, and three days July 1, July3 and July 4 for using his whip in the forehand position down the shoulder.
Such was the manner of Fame And Glory's victory though, that he earned a quote of 3-1 to win the race next year, 66-1 to match the exploits of Yeats in winning this four times and 200-1 to win the race five times or more.
Aidan O'Brien: "has so much class"PICTURE: Edward Whitaker
Before then though, he looks likely to drop back to the 1m 4f he previously won two Group 1s over with O'Brien saying he would now be aimed at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October, arace he finished fifth in last season.
O'Brien, who was celebrating his second winner of the week said: "I just want to thank everyone for letting a horse with his class to run in the Gold Cup.
"He has somuch class and class makes them stay, a race like this is the ultimate test of class. Class is hard to replace and Jamie and I have been very happy with him all year.
"We'll give him a break now and then bring him back for a run or two towards the backend. We'll probably give him a run and then go to the Arc. He'll be back here next year."
Tastahil was sent off in his now customary front-running role, with Geordieland, having his first start for two years, pulling himself to the front as they raced down into Swinley Bottom. When the returning veteran dropped away as they raced uphill Tastahil took it up again with Duncan and Manighar getting closer.
None of those were able to live with Fame And Glory though and Spencer had it settled in a matter of strides.
Jamie Spencer: "tickled pink"PICTURE: Edward Whitaker
This was a first winner at Royal Ascot for Spencer since he took the Norfolk Stakes in 2009 on Radiohead. The former stable jockey to O'Brien, thanked the trainer as well as owners Derrick Smith, John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Fitri Hay after the win.
"We didn't go that fast early and my fella wasn't that keen," he said. "When they have the class that he does they struggle to go that slow and with the injection of pace he went a lot sweeter.
"I want to thank Dr Hay and his wife for buying a share of the horse and Mr and Mrs Smith, Magnier and Tabor for letting me have the ride. It's great to ride for Aidan again, we get on a lot better now. We were both really confident he'd stay even though others doubted him and I'm tickled pink."
Simon Crisford racing manager to Godolphin, owners of Opinion Poll said: "He loves soft ground and the jockey gave him a great ride. Holberg likes fast ground we decided to let him run as there is nothing before the Goodwood Cup."
Both Tastahil and Geordieland were pulled up and Geordieland's trainer Jamie Osborne said: "I have just about over the shock of that one. Thankfully he is okay and we live to fight another day.