Equiano Gelding takes the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock
Hot favourite Harry Angel burst out of the stalls without a problem this time after his mishap at Royal Ascot, but might have used up too much gas too soon, as despite having a break on all the field bar outsider Hey Jonesy, he was treading water inside the final furlong of the QIPCO British Champions Series contest.
Brando and Gustav Klimt, who was last at halfway on his return to six furlongs, were closing in the final strides, but James Fanshawe’s 7-1 chance hung on to win by half a length, having been second two years ago and third last year.
He became a rare horse to have won at least one QIPCO British Champions Series race three seasons in succession, having won the QIPCO British Champions Sprint in 2016 and Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2017.
“He’s a wonderful horse and is so consistent,” Newmarket trainer Fanshawe said: “You could argue he’d been unlucky a couple of times this year.
“Everyone is biased towards their own horses, but I felt he’d run two really good races at Ascot and Deauville.
“I was concerned about the (heavy) ground, but the rest of the family love it. It’s easy to say after the event.
“It was a long last furlong, but he’s won nicely. They went a bit quick and they got tired in front of him. He’s seen the trip out well and is a very good horse.”
He added: “It’s amazing because the vets in Hong Kong did a fantastic job. He nearly died in Hong Kong. He had a temperature and we couldn’t run him. We got him back and the vets have done a great job getting him back again.
“We couldn’t do it without our staff as well. They’ve done a wonderful job to get the horse to run in this race.
“I hope he’s in one piece after this and then he’ll go to Ascot [on QIPCO British Champions Day]. He likes it there and he likes it here, too!”
Murphy has also won the Coral-Eclipse, Qatar Sussex Stakes and Juddmonte International this season, in what has been a breakthrough campaign.
He said: “I’m so lucky to have found so many good horses in such short space of time. This was great. He’s a horse I’d looked forward to riding all week.
“The race didn’t really go to plan. I didn’t travel great early, but he’s a very good horse and deserved this.
“It wasn’t until Monday or Tuesday until I got the call to ride. I had a few sleepless nights, but I believed the horse could win.”
Kevin Ryan was delighted to see Brando put a disappointing run in France behind him.
He said: “I think he was the forgotten horse of the race. He’d been running really well and then he comes up with one average race and some people ignore him.
“He travelled into the race great. They have gone pretty hard up front and he’s done everything right, it’s just on the day.
“Fair play to James. It’s a great training performance by him to get him back after what the horse endured last year in Hong Kong. Fair play to the man to get him back to this level. He’s a great trainer.”
Aidan O’Brien said of the Classic-placed Gustav Klimt: “We were delighted with our horse, a three-year-old on that ground. It was his first run back at six. The first two are two very solid older horses.”
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