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Giavellotto defends Yorkshire Cup crown in style

Giavellotto dominated his rivals to make it back-to-back wins in the Boodles Yorkshire Cup.

Six runners went to post for the Group Two feature on day three of York’s Dante Festival, with Tower Of London the 7-4 favourite to provide Aidan O’Brien with a first victory in the race following lucrative winter triumphs in Saudi Arabia and Dubai.

The presence of the Willie Mullins-trained Vauban, a top-class hurdler turned quality Flat horse, added further Irish interest, but neither were able to lay a glove on Marco Botti’s defending champion.

Giavellotto, who had finished behind Tower Of London on both of his starts in the Middle East earlier in the year, was a 7-2 shot in the hands of Oisin Murphy, who cut a confident figure in the saddle when looming ominously alongside Vauban and William Buick as the race began in earnest.

The three-times champion jockey had a nonchalant look over his shoulder for non-existent dangers with a furlong still to run and with Tower Of London unable to pick up, Giavellotto put real daylight between himself and his rivals late on, passing the post with four and three-quarter lengths in hand.

Connections of Vauban will doubtless be satisfied with his performance on what was his first competitive outing since failing to fire in the Melbourne Cup in November, but Tower Of London was bitterly disappointing, finishing a well-beaten fifth under Ryan Moore.

Giavellotto bypassed Royal Ascot last year and he is not entered in the Gold Cup this term either, with Botti feeling the two-and-a-half-mile trip is too far for his charge.

He said: “He loves the track, fortunately, he always shows his best form at York. Earlier in the week I thought the ground might be a problem because we know he acts on fast ground best and the forecast didn’t look great, but we’ve been lucky with the rain.

“The race went to plan, he got into a nice rhythm and while he got to the front a little sooner than we wanted, he galloped all the way to the line.

“It’s good to be back and it’s a race that suits him, the track is perfect. We’ve tried several times over two miles and while I’m not saying he doesn’t stay, because he has run well a few times, but it does stretch him. The Gold Cup trip is too far for him.

“I’ll need to discuss with the owners but the plan was not to go to Ascot. The Irish St Leger I know is in September and the ground could be softer, but it was a race we considered last year and we didn’t go but I would say that could be his target. I doubt we’ll go to Ascot.

“He put it to bed very easily today but the track suits him well and Oisin gave him a great ride, he was in a lovely rhythm and he picked up well.

“I was a bit shocked he was in front so early, he made them look slow today.

“We have been thinking of running him over a mile and a half eventually, we wouldn’t rule it out. Between a mile and a half and two miles, I think I’d rather run him over shorter than further. He’s definitely got stronger.”

Vauban is entered for the Gold Cup and Buick felt it was a good starting point for the campaign.

He said: “I was delighted, they’ll be very happy with that. He’s going to get further and he felt he was going to improve for that, so there are plenty of positives to take from it.”

Ascot is the next port of call for Gregory, who won the Queen’s Vase at the meeting last year.

Joint-trainer John Gosden said: “I really liked the way he got his second wind and stayed on again. The plan is to go straight to the Gold Cup. He’ll enjoy the distance.”

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