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Royal Ascot Day 4 Recap: Caravaggio Remains Perfect in G1 Commonwealth Cup

Ascot Racecourse

ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – The Aidan O’Brien-trained and well-backed 5/6 favourite Caravaggio produced a spellbinding performance comprising speed and stamina to land the third running of the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. With the win, Caravaggio maintained his unbeaten record of six for six.

Settled in mid-pack by jockey Ryan Moore early on while Clive Cox’s Harry Angel (11/4) set a furious gallop in the 6-furlong event, the 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy stayed on tenaciously in the closing stages to master Cox’s charge by 3/4 of a length. Charlie Appleby’s Blue Point (9/2), who like Harry Angel is owned by Godolphin, was a further 1/2-length behind in third in a pulsating finish.

The master of Ballydoyle registered his 58th victory at the Royal Meeting and third success of the week, following Highland Reel in Wednesday’s Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and Sioux Nation in Thursday’s Group 2 Norfolk Stakes.

O’Brien has always rated Caravaggio highly and was effusive in his praise of the US-bred colt.

“I’m delighted – we were treating it as a second stage race, as he had a lovely race at Naas when he won last time,” said O’Brien. “He was racing against 3-year-olds again today, and after that, we thought he would be stepping up against older horses. He was just ready for his next step today. The lads had it in their mind to come here, and then maybe somewhere like the July Cup, and then somewhere else after that. He might go to Australia for the Everest (a new Group 1 event on October 14), so we have to be very conscious now if we want him to last for the autumn.”

It was the fourth win of the meet for Moore. Apart from riding each of O’Brien’s winners, he also took Monday’s Ascot Handicap aboard Thomas Hobson.

“Ryan was super confident on him and put him to sleep in the race,” said O’Brien. “He said he would have a look at halfway where everybody was, and that is what he did. He had plenty to do at halfway behind two good horses, and he only raced for 2 1/2 furlongs. Ryan gave him a brilliant ride and his change of pace is unbelievable. He is just an unbelievably quick horse.

“(Caravaggio) was very relaxed in himself before the race – he was very natural and there was no edge to him. He is a natural free-sweater anyway, but I was surprised by how cool he was – he is a very calm horse. He is very quick; I would be happier at 2 furlongs than 6 furlongs with this fella! He is the fastest horse we have ever had.

“He’s an absolutely brilliant horse. We felt that, because it was his second run back, we were afraid to do too much because we didn’t want to lose that brilliance that he has.”

G3 Albany Stakes

Different League (20/1) lived up to her name in the Group 3 Albany Stakes when winning the juvenile fillies’ race by a neck. The victory gave jockey Antoine Hamelin his first success in Britain, courtesy of the Matthieu Palussiere-trained horse in the first race of day four of Royal Ascot 2017.

The 2-year-old daughter of Dabirism led throughout on the far side and kept on tenaciously in the closing stages to fend off the sustained challenge from the Jessica Harrington-trained 2/1 favorite Alpha Centauri.

G3 King Edward VII Stakes

The Mark Johnston-trained Permian (6/1) showed the guts and determination traditionally associated with the Middleham handler’s string to land the Group 3 King Edward VII Stakes.

Ridden by William Buick following Wolf Country’s defection, the 3-year-old son of Teofilo kept on tenaciously in the closing stages after making most of the running to land the spoils by a 1/2-length from the fast-finishing Khalidi (10/1), trained by John Gosden. Both the winner and the second ran previously in the British Classic, the Group 1 Investec Derby.

Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean, the well-supported 9/4 favorite, travelled well into the race but faded late on to finish a further 1 1/4 lengths behind in third.

G1 Coronation Stakes

Winter confirmed her superiority in the 3-year-old fillies’ mile division with a decisive victory in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes, providing trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore with a quickfire Group 1 double following Caravaggio’s success in the Commonwealth Cup.

The daughter of Galileo, off as the 4/9 favorite, traveled sweetly under Moore, and when asked to deliver her challenge in the home straight, she found plenty for pressure to quicken away from the field in the closing stages to score by 2 1/4 lengths.

Stable companions Roly Poly (12/1), ridden by Seamie Heffernan, and Hydrangea (16/1), under Padraig Beggy, finished second and third with only a neck separating the pair. La Coronel (25/1), the American invader out of the Mark Casse barn, came in fifth.

G2 Queen’s Vase

The John Gosden-trained Stradivarius set up a tilt at the St Leger at Doncaster in September with a gutsy victory in the Group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.

Ridden by Andrea Atzeni, the 3-year-old son of Sea The Stars came with a withering run in the home straight, and after hitting the front inside the final furlong, responded well to Atzeni’s urgings to score by a neck from Ralph Beckett’s Count Octave (8/1) in second.

Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap

Charlie Appleby’s 20/1 shot Rare Rhythm provided Godolphin with its sixth victory of the week following his impressive success in the concluding race of day four of Royal Ascot 2017, the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap.

The 5-year-old son of Dubawi was eighth in this race last year, but after suffering a small tissue injury, he had been off the track for 371 days since then.

However, racing for just the sixth time, he returned to form in fashion under William Buick, registering a decisive 2 1/4-length victory in the mile event.

Source: Ascot Racecourse

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