Hillstar (right) winning the King Edward VII StakesPICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
Battle Of Marengo sunk by improving Hillstar
Report: Royal Ascot, Friday
King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) 1m4f, 3yo
THE Derby form was royally upstaged in Ascot's equivalent contest as Hillstar, beaten in a Newbury handicap last month, wore down Epsom fourth Battle of Marengo to leave the bookmakers cheering once more.
A bet of £100,000 at evens was among those struck on Battle Of Marengo but the 10-11 favourite was ultimately reeled in comfortably by Hillstar, a 15-2 shot ridden by Ryan Moore and trained by Sir Michael Stoute for Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.
For a colt who lost second place in the Derby only in the final few strides, Battle Of Marengo was asked to make it a real stamina test on the fast ground. Joseph O'Brien pushed his mount past pacesetter Greatwood well before the home bend and gave his seven rivals a target to chase.
O'Brien's manoeuvre allowed Battle Of Marengo to open up a clear advantage well into the home straight, and only Hillstar moved out of the pack to lay down a challenge.
Help up in last place early on by Moore, the son of Danehill Dancer took time to reach full pelt but once engaged in top gear it looked as if there would be only one winner, and so it proved.
Paddy Power saw a St Leger clue in the performance and introduced the winner into their market for the final Classic at 8-1.
"He's a horse we've always loved," said Stoute, celebrating a second winner of the meeting after Estimate in the Gold Cup on Thursday and a 67th in total at Royal Ascot.
"We had him in the Derby and the Irish Derby, but his first two runs this year were not right. We dropped him out and he settled better."
Moore said: "We've always thought a lot of the horse. He won a nice maiden last year and both his starts this year have been on real fast ground and they didn't work out for him. The trip suited him today."
Aidan O'Brien, who trains the runner-up said: "He ran very well, but the winner came and caught him. He went an even pace, but the winner came from the back.
"Maybe a shorter trip would suit - he was lobbing away and had a nice position, then went clear and wasn't stopping, but the winner was too good."
Roger Varian, who trains the third home Mutashaded, said: "He is an inexperienced horse who came into this race off the back of only two starts, and only one this year. From a mark of 79 in the handicap it was a big jump up.
"Fortunately they went a man's gallop and while he was a little bit babyish throughout the race he did finish well. I think the future's bright - he's big and can only improve. I'm disappointed he didn't win, but delighted he showed he could hold his own in this company."
Mutashaded holds an entry in the Princess Of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket's July meeting, but Varian said: "He's had a hard race and that might come too soon."
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Wolferton Handicap (Listed Race) 1m2f, 4yo+
AN hour and 20 minutes after Ryan Moore moved to within one winner of James Doyle, Johnny Murtagh surpassed the Wednesday wonder at the top of the Royal Ascot jockey standings courtesy of a victory on the Nicky Henderson-trained Forgotten Voice.
"I was following Ryan Moore but couldn't get out," said a delighted Murtagh. "When I switched him inside he came alive. He's come here off the back of Aintree, so this was a piece of cake for him. He's always been a good horse, he likes good ground."
Henderson said: "We took him to the Hills's to put him in the stalls to see if he knew what he was doing and he shot out like a bullet but then did the most dreadful piece of work last week. We then took him away and it sparked him up.
"I've spent all winter trying to get him to settle so he needed waking up. Johnny felt he was as good as ever. I have no idea where we go next. I wanted to go novice chasing but Mrs Roy said 'Over my dead body!'"
A Royal Hunt Cup winner for Jeremy Noseda in 2009, Forgotten Voice was winning at the royal meeting for the second time, delighting owners Paul and Susan Roy.