Lancaster Bomber steals Group 1 prize from the front to land gamble
Another masterpiece from the maestro. Who else could win a Tattersalls Gold Cup with a horse who had only won one of his previous 17 starts, had never run over the trip before and, just eight days previously, had worn his heart on his sleeve in the Lockinge.
It proved to be yet another shrewd piece of placing from Aidan O'Brien as the consistent and versatile Lancaster Bomber provided him with a third Group 1 success of the season, staying on resolutely under a positive ride from Seamie Heffernan to contain Cliffs Of Moher with a degree of comfort.
Lancaster Bomber landed quite a plunge too, with an SP of 100-30 a lot shorter than the double-figure prices available earlier in the week.
This was 1m2f but a return to a mile for the Queen Anne now looks on the agenda and Betfair, BoyleSports and Ladbrokes reacted in tandem by cutting him to 8-1 from 14-1. Paddy Power were more impressed and go 7-1.
O'Brien said: "He's been running at the top level all the time. We didn't think he'd get a mile and a quarter the first time we did it with him, but it was beautiful ground, we let him roll and Seamus gave him in a great ride.
"He kept going so we're delighted. The Curragh is a tough place to get a mile and a quarter and he didn't flinch – he kept going.
"The plan was to come here and go back to Ascot for the Queen Anne, and that's probably what's going to happen, but he has the option of the Prince of Wales now."
It was a clever front-running ride from Heffernan, who kept enough in the tank to fend off Cliffs Of Moher and Defoe when it mattered.
Heffernan said: "I was runner-up in two Breeders' Cups on him. He handles the ground and he's getting stronger all the time. It was only a matter of time before he was going to win a big one.
"Fast ground is his thing and he doesn't always get that in Europe. He needs fast ground. He's a lovely horse to ride."
O'Brien said of Cliffs Of Moher: "It was a great run, we were delighted with him. He relaxed well and came there but just couldn't get by. A very solid run."
Roger Varian was humming and hawing about whether to let Defoe strut his stuff, worrying about the sound surface. He consented to let him take his chance and he trailed in third.
Was it the correct decision to let him run?
"The ground was safe and I'm not overly disappointed that we decided to let him run," Varian said.
He added: "It did him no harm and it underlined the fact that he needs a mile and a half.
"He's still a very nice horse and we'll look at the Hardwicke if there does happen to be some cut in the ground at Ascot. You never know."
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