Caravaggio produced a stunning performance comprising speed and stamina to win the group one Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
Settled in mid-division early on by jockey Ryan Moore under a furious gallop set by Clive Cox’s Harry Angel (11/4) in the six-furlong event, the three-year-old son of Scat Daddy, stayed on tenaciously in the closing stages to master Cox’s charge by three-quarters of a length, with Charlie Appleby’s Blue Point (9/2), who like Harry Angel is owned by Godolphin, a further half-length behind in third in a pulsating finish .
The master of Ballydoyle, registering his 58th victory at the Royal Meeting and third success of the week, has always rated Caravaggio highly and he was effusive in his praise of the US-bred colt.
O’Brien said: “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.
“He was racing against three-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.
“The lads have a plan in their mind that he might go to Australia for the Everest [G1, six furlongs, Randwick Racecourse, October 14, 2017], so we have to be very conscious now if we want him to last for the autumn.
“I was very nervous today as he was just ready to come through today, so I’m delighted that it all went well.
“Ryan was super confident on him and put him to sleep in the race. 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 two and a half-furlongs.
“He 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 two furlongs than six 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.
“Ryan gave him a brilliant ride and his change of pace is unbelievable. He is just an unbelievably quick horse.”
Caravaggio is 6/4 with Betway for the July Cup at Newmarket on July 15.
CARAVAGGIO WINS A COMMONWEALTH CUP HAILED
AS AN “EXCEPTIONAL RACE” BY MOORE
Caravaggio maintained his unbeaten record (six from six) in the G1 Commonwealth Cup, but, for the first time in his life, the son of Scat Daddy, had to work to get to his win.
By the line, the 5/6 favourite had asserted his dominance and was the clear three-quarters of a length winner.
“I think that was a fairly exceptional race and he beat two very good horses. There’s quite a headwind and it has been hard to make up ground today and yesterday. They made him work, but he picked them up well in the end,” said winning jockey Ryan Moore.
“I think it was a very good race, they are two very good colts who were leading him. Caravaggio was very good here, it is the first time he has ever been asked a serious question so he was a bit unsure when he got the message, but he’s responded very well. I think there is some more improvement in him.
“I had two very good horses in front of me and they weren’t stopping. It was a very good performance and these horses have a serious amount of talent. He is a very, very good colt and that was a very good race.
“He reared in the stalls before the starter let them go, but soon got into a good rhythm.”
Coolmore boss John Magnier, whose wife Sue is a joint owner of Caravaggio, said: “Every time we get a winner here, it always means something. We were unlucky to lose Scat Daddy a few years ago and this horse is his fourth winner at Royal Ascot this year. Hopefully, this fellow will take his place [at stud].
“Aidan has always said that Caravaggio was one of the quickest that he ever had. He is unbeaten so far, so fingers crossed. He is a better racehorse than Scat Daddy and it is a cross that we need. It’s just fortunate for us that he has come at the right time, like the cavalry.”
The three-year-old colt has now won twice at Royal Ascot having won the G2 Coventry Stakes as a juvenile. This is Caravaggio’s second G1 win after victory in the Phoenix Stakes last summer.
CLIVE COX THRILLED WITH RUNNER-UP IN THE COMMONWEALTH CUP
Godolphin runners filled the placings in the G1 Commonwealth Cup behind the winner Carvaggio, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore.
Clive Cox trained the runner-up, Harry Angel, a relatively new purchase for Godolphin. The Dark Angel colt burst out of the stalls under Adam Kirby to take the lead for much of the six-furlong race, but was worn down in the closing stages to finish three-quarters of a length behind.
Cox said: “It was a great run, a great horse race. He wore his heart on his sleeve a little bit there but when you take the blindfold off them and they jump that quick there’s not a lot you can do about it.
“Adam [Kirby] has given him a great ride and it was a very, very special race.
“It was close; he [Carvaggio] had to work to get us. So I don’t think there’s any doubt. Second in a Group One – I don’t think it will be long before he takes his revenge in a Group One race.”
Cox said of the Dark Angel colt’s future plans: “We’ll see how he comes back from this race [as to where we go next], but just very pleased with this.”
3.40pm £400,000 Commonwealth (Group 1)
(British Champions Series)
1 (5) CARAVAGGIO (USA) AIDAN O’BRIEN, IRELAND 9ST 3LB RYAN MOORE 5/6 FAV
2 (7) Harry Angel (IRE) Clive Cox 9st 3lb Adam Kirby 11/4
3 (10) Blue Point (IRE) Charlie Appleby 9st 3lb William Buick 9/2
4 (3) Bound For Nowhere (USA) Wesley A. Ward, USA 9st 3lb David Flores 10/1
5 (9) Mr Scarlet Ms Sheila Lavery, Ireland 9st 3lb Pat Smullen 80/1
6 (4) Tis Marvellous (Tongue Strap) Clive Cox 9st 3lb Gerald Mosse 33/1
7 (8) Straight Right (FR) C. Ferland, France 9st 3lb Olivier Peslier 66/1
8 (2) Visionary (IRE) Robert Cowell 9st 3lb Jamie Spencer 50/1
9 (1) Intelligence Cross (USA) (Blinkers, Tongue Strap) Aidan O’Brien, Ireland 9st 3lb Seamie Heffernan 25/1
10 (12) Legendary Lunch (IRE) Richard Hannon 9st 3lb Tom Marquand 50/1
11 (11) Victory Angel (IRE) Roger Varian 9st 3lb Silvestre De Sousa 66/1
12 (6) Yalta (IRE) Mark Johnston 9st 3lb James Doyle 50/1
Winner owned by Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith
Time: 1m 13.49s
Distances: ¾, ½, 3, 2, ½, ¾, 1¾, ¾, 5, 4½, 6
Breeder: Windmill Manor Farms Inc Et Al
Breeding: gr c Scat Daddy(USA) – Mekko Hokte (USA) (Holy Bull)
Tote Win: £1.80 Places: £1.10, £1.40, £1.70 Exacta: £3.80
58th Royal Ascot winner for Aidan O’Brien
46th Royal Ascot winner for Ryan Moore