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Kyprios Reigns King in Gold Cup at Royal Ascot

Not This Time colt Shareholder lands Norfolk Stakes (G2) earlier on the card.

Kyprios wins the Gold Cup at Ascot Racecourse

Kyprios wins the Gold Cup at Ascot Racecourse

Mathea Kelley

Kyprios became the third horse to win nonconsecutive editions of the Gold Cup (G1) when a game winner over the front-running Trawlerman June 20 at the Royal Ascot meeting.

It was a record-extending ninth Gold Cup success for trainer Aidan O'Brien, with the son of Galileo emulating Anticipation and Kayf Tara by winning back his crown.

William Buick set steady fractions on Godolphin's Trawlerman in the early stages with Kyprios, the mount of Ryan Moore, looming up on the outside to race in second with a circuit to go.

On the downhill run into the back straight, Caius Chorister pulled her way upside Trawlerman, while Moore was content to watch on in third.

The 11-10 favorite made his move wide into the home straight, and was tracked by Vauban, but a battle between Trawlerman and Kyprios unfolded.

Kyprios hit the front approaching the final furlong, and while Trawlerman gave his all and attempted to battle back, there was no denying Moore's mount. Sweet William stayed on for third, while Vauban was fourth and Gregory was well beaten in seventh.

Moore said on ITV: "It was smooth early on, and when Caius Chorister ran off with Benoit (de la Sayette), I ended up having to go round her and he was going too well too early.

"He was more value than the winning distance. We didn't get it quite right but he still won.

"Aidan knows exactly what is required to win this race and how to get his horses ready. I'm lucky to ride a horse like this and it's great he can come back and do it again."

Kyprios and Ryan Moore win the G1 Gold Cup, Royal Ascot, Ascot, UK, June 20th, 2024, Mathea Kelley
Photo: Mathea Kelley
The connections of Kyprios in the trophy presentation for the Gold Cup

The Gold Cup victory marked Moore's 83rd winner of the Royal Ascot meet. Earlier in the day, he catapulted past Frankie Dettori as the most successful active rider at Royal Ascot when taking the Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) aboard Port Fairy. Moore now trails only the great Lester Piggott as Royal Ascot's all-time winningest rider.

Kyprios' second Gold Cup success was particularly satisfying for all involved at Ballydoyle, with the star stayer missing most of last season, including this race, due to injury.

O'Brien said: "There were so many people involved in bringing him back following his injury.

"His owners have shown great patience with him, he had two lovely runs when he was back last year and did well over the winter.

"He's a beautiful horse and Ryan was masterful with how he rode him. He had to judge exactly when to go on him, which is not an easy thing to do."


Not This Time Colt Shareholder Lands Norfolk at Ascot

Wathnan Racing claimed their second Royal Ascot success this week after the Kentucky-bred Shareholder stormed to victory in the Norfolk Stakes (G2).

The Qatar-backed operation enjoyed victory June 19 with Leovanni in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) and were soon back among the winners with the Karl Burke-trained colt, who maintained his unbeaten record. He paid $24.20 to win an international pari-mutuel wagering pool.

Shareholder and James Doyle win the G2 Norfolk Stakes Royal Ascot, Ascot, UK, June 20th, 2024, Mathea Kelley
Photo: Mathea Kelley
Shareholder on his way to winning the Norfolk Stakes

The 2-year-old son of Taylor Made Stallions stud Not This Time  was the first choice of Wathnan's retained rider James Doyle over the shorter-priced Aesterius, and he rewarded his jockey's faith with a smooth passage down the center of the track to hold off Tropical Storm and the fast-finishing Arizona Blaze by a length.

The winner was bred in Kentucky by Skyfall Thoroughbreds. 

Doyle said: "He's got a big engine, and I just want to give a big thank you to Karl Burke, who has produced his horses lovely and that's not an easy thing to do. Karl was very confident, and when he is you respect his opinion.

"It's great for Wathnan Racing. The Emir (Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani) himself has been really excited by Royal Ascot as a spectacle, so it's good to come back a year later and get another couple of winners. Hopefully, we've got more to come.

"It's great to have a superpower like this really getting behind British racing. It's been a tough sell, our sport, so we have to really take note when people want to invest the way Wathnan have, and they deserve every success."

The market had been dominated by Whistlejacket, a full brother to high-class juvenile Little Big Bear who was sent off odds-on to deliver Aidan O'Brien his fourth Norfolk success. Yet despite staying on well in the closing stages, the imposing chestnut could only finish fourth, a length and a quarter behind the impressive winner.

"The Irish horse had a big reputation and we've only had him six weeks, so he's taken a big step forward from his maiden at Beverley," said Burke. "He did everything wrong there and still won, beating a decent animal of Richard Fahey's, so I was pretty confident we had a very good horse.

"He's speed. He'll definitely stay six furlongs and I'm sure he'll be a Commonwealth Cup horse; I think we'll step him up to six next time but we'll speak to the owners. I don't think he'll be a Guineas horse, he hasn't shown us that, though he relaxed very well there. He's still got a lot to learn but today was great."

It was a first win in the group 2 contest for Burke, who was also full of praise for the winning jockey after his second win of the week.

"James has been a top-class jockey for a number of years now; he works with you, and you can tell him about the horse and he listens," Burke said. "He's a pleasure."

The U.S. trained-Saturday Flirt, from the barn of trainer Wesley Ward, finished 10th in the 13-horse field after a slow start. The filly won a maiden race on debut in April at the Keeneland spring meet.

The Norfolk is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, and offers the winner an automatic starting position into the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1T) this fall at Del Mar.