Thomas Chippendale (right) edging out stablemate Noble Mission (centre)PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Chippendale leads Cecil one-two in King Edward
Report: Royal Ascot, Friday
King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) 1m4f, 3yo colts & geldings
IT WAS a one-two for Sir Henry Cecil as Thomas Chippendale won an exciting contest, staying on best to see off stablemate Noble Mission by half a length.
The pair finished a length ahead of Thought Worthy in what was a thrilling, if rough, three-way finish with short-priced favourite Astrology back in fourth.
Interference was caused to Noble Mission as Thought Worthy veered to his left in the straight and he was the meat in the sandwich between John Gosden's colt and the 9-2 winner, but he soon hit the front only to be outbattled near the line.
Paddy Power now go as short as 8-1 for the St Leger about Thomas Chippendale, while William Hill are a more realistic 14-1 with Camelot the 1-3 favourite (from 1-2).
"I hate one beating the other," said Cecil afterwards. "But they've both run very well."
In what was one of the smallest fields for the King Edward one can remember - only five ran following two withdrawals in the morning - Astrology was expected to follow up on his Derby third with victory here. However, the son of Galileo failed to show his form.
Once the favourite gave way it became a three-way battle up the straight and it was Derby fourth Thought Worthy who was the first to crack, leaning on Noble Mission, who was coming through with his challenge up the straight, who in turn leant off Johnny Murtagh on the winner.
The runner-up came off worst but it made little difference to the result as he was simply outstayed by Thomas Chippendale, who looks a nice prospect for the St Leger at Doncaster in September, as noted by his trainer afterwards.
"He looks as if he stays well and he could be a Leger horse - we will see," added Cecil.
Mutafaweq was the last winner of this to go on and land the St Leger back in 1999.
Of the beaten horses, John Gosden said of Thought Worthy: "He ran a great race and did nothing wrong. We'll point him to the St Leger now and pick one race for him on the way. We'll see if we can meet Mr Camelot at Doncaster. I suspect we might be in trouble."
Aidan O'Brien had no excuses for Astrology. He said: "Maybe Epsom came a bit quick but he seems to be fine. Blame the trainer again!"