Highland Reel provided Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O’Brien with an eighth victory in the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom on Friday.
Despite the late arrival of the winner and his stablemates following a technical fault with their plane, the five-year-old was the 9-4f to claim the fifth Group One success of his globetrotting career.
Successful jockey Ryan Moore kept things simple aboard the market leader by sending his mount straight into the lead, and gradually upped the ante.
Hawkbill ranged alongside racing inside the final two furlongs and the pair knuckled down to fight it out.
Despite looking a little uncomfortable on the cambered track, Highland Reel found plenty for pressure and began to assert.
Hawkbill’s fellow Godolphin-owned runner Frontiersman also looked ill at ease on the track but finished strongly to come through and grab second, a length and three-quarters behind the winner.
O’Brien said: “I’m delighted with him, he’s obviously gone through a lot today, and just before the race, but Ryan gave him a great ride. He hadn’t run since Dubai (in March), but he was brilliant. What happened this morning was unavoidable, the lads were doing their best but things weren’t running smoothly.”
The winning trainer added: “He has the option of the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot and then on to the King George, but I suppose we’ll see how he comes out of this and see whether he goes to the Hardwicke or straight for the King George.”
— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) March 22, 2017