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ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – King Power Racing’s Cleonte turned the tables on defending champion Pallasator, outstaying the field and closing out the 2019 Royal Ascot meet triumphantly in Saturday’s Queen Alexandra Stakes.
Breaking from the gates under Silvestre de Sousa as the second choice at 7/2 stateside odds, Cleonte was well in hand early while Black Corton held the early lead for much of the marathon event’s early running. Cleonte began slowly advancing along the outside after completing the first 2 miles, and at the top of the stretch, he tipped out to run five-wide after the pacesetter.
With 2 furlongs remaining, it was a two-horse race between Cleonte and Max Dynamite, but Pallasator was giving close chase behind them. After dispatching of Max Dynamite, Cleonte kicked clear and made it impossible for Pallasator to repeat. The Andrew Balding trainee crossed the wire with a 1 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 4:51.22 for the 2 mile, 5 1/2-furlong race.
“We had a lot of runners here and we had a few hard luck stories,” de Sousa said. “That’s just racing, you win and you lose, but I’m just delighted to have a winner for Fox Power on the big stage. We’ve had a lot of winners this year, but these are the days that matter most.”
Max Dynamite faded to finish 4 lengths behind Pallasator in third. The rest of the field crossed thusly: Lucky Deal, Paddys Motorbike, Jukebox Jive, Corelli, Black Corton, Pilansberg, Coeur Blimey, and Younevercall.
Cayirli and Le Maitre Chat were non-runners.
Cleonte’s win was his first in three starts in Royal meets, having finished ninth in last year’s Ascot Stakes and 12th in that race’s 2017 edition. The 6-year-old gelded son of Sir Percy now sports a career record of 23-4-4-5.
“It is just a thrill for them as it has been a real journey over the last 12 months,” Balding said. “Silvestre gave this horse such a great ride. We thought at the beginning of the week that he was one of our better chances – we have just had some near misses for King Power. It seems a long time ago since Beat The Bank was beaten on the first race of the meeting!”
Cleonte returned $9.80 to win and $3.40 to place, Pallasator brought back $8 to place, and Max Dynamite paid $3 to place.
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