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ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – Day 5 of the Royal Ascot meet resulted in a thrilling “Space” battle when the longshot Space Traveller headed the 5/2 stateside favorite Space Blues at the wire to win Saturday’s Jersey Stakes (G3).
Going off from the gate under under Daniel Tudhope at 45/1 stateside odds, Space Traveller steadied briefly and found himself in the trailing part of the field while Marie’s Diamond set the opening pace. Just past the halfway point, Tudhope urged Space Traveller to start moving and shifted the Richard Fahey trainee out toward the right in search of clear running.
With under 2 furlongs remaining, Space Traveller found free space and began charging strongly down the middle of the lane. Swinging past the outside of Angel’s Hideaway inside the final furlong, he had to dig deep to fend off a challenge from Space Blues to his inside. The challenge never got closer than a head away, though, before Space Traveller completed the 7-furlong sprint in a final time of 1:24.57.
“To be honest, he didn’t travel great, he never felt like a horse who was going to pick up and go and win the race,” Tudhope said. “He was a bit lazy at halfway, so I had to make his mind up – when he got out in the clear, he ran on nice. Take nothing away from this horse, he has a tremendous amount of ability, he has been consistent without winning. I think he is a bit tricky to win with, but I am glad he has done it here today on the biggest stage.”
Angel’s Hideaway was the best of the rest, taking third over Urban Icon by 1 length. The rest of the field crossed thusly: Duke Of Hazzard, Momkin, Happy Power, Marie’s Diamond, So Perfect, Masaru, Dubai Dominion, I Am Superman, Bye Bye Hong Kong, No Nonsense, On A Session, Fire Fly, Air Hair Lair, and Western Frontier.
Space Traveller’s win was his first of the year after finishing second, third, and seventh in his three prior starts. The 3-year-old son of Bated Breath improved his overall record to 10-3-2-1.
“You would have to say it was a surprise, but we did like him last year, and he’s bounced back to what we thought he might be,” Fahey said. “He was very disappointing, but he’s got himself back on track now, and I’m sure the 7 furlongs has helped. He might even get a bit further. We sent him to France a fortnight ago, trying to find an easy option for a confidence booster, and it was a very messy race. I don’t think he was beaten a length and 1/4, but he got struck into and knocked over, and so was probably unlucky.”
Space Traveller returned $96.60 to win and $22 to place, Space Blues brought back $2.80 to place, and Angel’s Hideaway paid $11.60 to place.
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