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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Lion roars to Group 2 victory despite hanging close home

Roaring Lion (nearside): gets back up to deny Nelson after hanging
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Roaring Lion extended his unbeaten streak to three by narrowly denying Nelson in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, despite hanging left in the closing stages under Oisin Murphy.

Given a nice run into the race in behind dueling pacesetters Nelson and Mildenberger, Murphy pulled out the son of Kitten's Joy to challenge two furlongs from home when still on the bridle, and he quickened up nicely to hit the front. 

However, he hung left under pressure, like he did when winning by six lengths at Kempton last time out, and had to be galvanised to fend off the rallying O'Brien charge, who was sent off the 5-6 favourite.

Murphy said: "I was still on the bridle passing the Bushes so I couldn't have sat on the bridle any longer. We went a good gallop, he travelled like a really nice horse and I must be the luckiest young lad in the world to ride horses like this.

Asked whether Roaring Lion could be a contender for next year's Derby, Murphy added: "To be honest I haven't ridden a Derby horse in a while so I'm not sure, but he certainly has a big future and he might not be running over a mile and a half anytime soon."

Instead, he may be targeted at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf for which he was awarded odds of 6-1 (from 10) after his victory. He is available at 25-1 for the Epsom Classic. 

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I must be the luckiest young lad in the world to ride horses like this
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