Aidan O’Brien’s Kew Gardens (7/2) produced a tremendous performance to dethrone flat racing’s top stayer Stradivarius (8/13f), in a thrilling renewal of the £450,000 Group 2 QIPCO Long Distance Cup over two miles at Ascot on British Champions Day.
Ridden Donnacha O’Brien, Kew Gardens rallied gamely in the closing stages to deny Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori an 11th victory in succession, with the pair separated by just a nose at the line.
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) October 19, 2019
The winning trainer, who was claiming his 7th QIPCO British Champions Day success, said of the son of Galileo:
“We were training Kew Gardens for the G1 Gold Cup, but he got an injury and it all went pear-shaped. We are just delighted to get him back really. He barely made it back in time to run in the Irish Leger where he finished and second and it just didn’t go right for him on the day.”
“Kew Gardens is an incredible horse and it was a great performance. The lads will decide if he stays in training, but I think there is a strong chance that he will. He is a very brave horse and we’re delighted for everybody,” O’Brien added.
John Gosden is already looking towards the Gold Cup of 2020 for Stradivarius after a winning streak stretching back over two seasons and 10 races was brought to an end by last year’s Ladbroke’s St Leger winner Kew Gardens, on ground far more testing than he would have preferred.
Gosden also saddled five-length third Royal Line, who came into the race fresher than most and ran right up to form. He said: “He’s run a great race, but he’s just not in the same class.”
Both the winner and runner-up are likely to clash again next season with the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on the agenda for both horses.
2:10pm QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (Group 2) 2m
1 Kew Gardens (IRE) 4-9-07 Aidan O’Brien & Donnacha O’Brien 7/2.
2 Stradivarius (IRE) 5-9-07 John Gosden & Frankie Dettori 8/13f.
3 Royal Line 5-9-07 John Gosden & Robert Havlin 12/1.
Time: 3m 29.49s
Distances: Nose, 5