Rule of Law satisfied punters in the betfair.com St Leger Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday, coming home to take the race by a neck from Quiff.
At only three-years-old, the Godolphin colt has the prospect of a great career ahead of him. This season he has shown tremendous consistency, proving his true quality when he finished second to North Light in the Derby in June.
Since then, under the magic touch of Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who has done enough this season to become a firm fixture in the Godolphin set-up, Rule of Law has raced from strength to strength. He has continued to devour victims from earlier in the season, and Saturday’s win showed his great courage as he staved off a determined challenge from Quiff, under champion jockey Kieren Fallon.
Diana Cooper, representing the Godolphin team, praised Kerrin McEvoy for “a brilliant ride”.
“That was perfection,” she declared. “Kerrin deserves all the acclaim that is coming his way. He has adapted so well to British racing, and to achieve what he has done in his first season in Europe is absolutely amazing. He says he doesn’t want the feeling he has just now to ever end, and I don’t blame him.
“He set an even pace out there and quickened the tempo up the straight. He knows the horse so well, and he kept something in reserve.”
Resounding success for Soviet Song
Soviet Song powered home in a late run at Leopardstown to once again establish superiority over the younger filly Attraction.
The main focus of the Group 1 Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes had always been going to be the two fillies’ rivalry, so that the reduction of the field to six through the defection of Favourable Terms, Majestic Desert and Miss Mambo did not detract significantly from the quality of the race.
Attraction led in characteristic fashion until one-and-a-half furlongs out, when Soviet Song pounced, coming from behind with a good deal of ground to cover. She battled on to eventually steal victory by a mere half a length – a much narrower margin than her previous victory over the three-year-old Attraction.
“It was touch and go, and for a while I didn’t think that she was going to make it,” said James Fanshawe, Soviet Song’s trainer. “But she is a great battler. While I couldn’t say that the race exactly went to plan, it was a big help to have Johnny Murtagh aboard with his great knowledge of the track here.”
With her Leopardstown win yesterday afternoon, the four-year-old now has a tally of three Group 1 victories to her name this season, showing constant improvement over the summer, and maturing into a star four-year-old following a somewhat disappointing season last year.
Azamour lands Irish Champion Stakes
Azamour made his fourth Group One challenge of the season at Leopardstown on Saturday in the Baileys Champion Stakes. The Aga Khan three-year-old had the race well under control as he came for the back to score victory, defeating the 4-5 favourite Doyen, who had been widely acclaimed as unbeatable in this race.
Azamour won his last outing at Ascot in the St James’ Palace Stakes in June, when he claimed the scalps of Haafhd, who had run on to the finish to land the Ultimatebet.com 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, and Bachelor Duke, who had proved the hero in the Irish version.
Saturday’s win saw several of the season’s most prominent colts defeated, as Azamour attempted 10 furlongs for the first time. He rose admirably to the challenge, reaping the rewards for trainer John Oxx and jockey Mick Kinane.
Kinane sang the colts praises in no uncertain terms: “I’ve enjoyed him all season. He’s a pleasure to be around. He has matured so much physically and mentally and I always thought he would improve stepping up from a mile.”
Plans for the colt in the future are as yet undecided, but there were strong hints that he would stay in training next year.