Kyprios reigns in the Gold Cup
Kyprios held off Mojo Star and Stradivarius to claim the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.
Having gone a slow pace there were plenty in with chances turning into the straight, as the mare Princess Zoe just about hit the front a furlong out looking to go one better than 12 months ago.
She was soon headed by Kyprios, but Mojo Star, second in the Derby and St Leger last year, and eventually Stradivarius having had to be switched for a run, threw down their challenge.
But it was not to be, as the 13-8 favourite held on for a famous win by half a length with another three-quarters of a length back to Frankie Dettori and Stradivarius, who was bidding to join the O’Brien-trained Yeats as a four-time winner.
“We’re delighted with him, Ryan gave him a great ride,” said O’Brien, who was landing the historic race for the eighth time.
“He’s a baby, but he’s a brave horse and he’s going to progress – he’s only a baby and he missed all of last year. We thought he would do the Leger, but he got out under the stalls (in the Queen’s Vase) last year and badly bruised his back.
“We couldn’t race him for the rest of the year – he’s a brave horse and we think there’s more to come from him.
“It was a competitive race with Stradivarius and all the good horses. It’s incredible, and it was great Stradivarius was here and he ran in this race. It makes these races even more special and incredible. I’m delighted for all the lads and the team.”
He added: “He could race for a good while, he’s a lovely, kind, good-natured horse and a very sound horse.
“Hopefully the lads will decide to keep him going (next year).”
On what might await for the rest of the season, O’Brien said: “He looks after himself and they are all the things that he will need. He did it today and hopefully he can do it in the years to come. He could go to Goodwood next or something like the Irish St Leger.
“We’ll see how he is. I think everybody would want to aim him back here next year. We’ll see how he comes out of this, but those are the sort of races we could target.”
Moore – who was given a two-day ban for careless riding – said: “It wasn’t a nice race to ride. Kyprios stepped slow for him which was unusual. I didn’t like the position I was in. I knew I had Frankie on my inside and they were going slow up front.
“I had to move him to the outside and I don’t like doing that, but I felt I had to keep Kyprios going.
“He’s got there and Mojo Star has come to us and this fella kicked in then and it was comfortable at the line.
“It wasn’t a true test today, I don’t think we saw the best of him. I’m glad he has come over here and won – there are plenty more good days to be had with him.
“He is brave. It was a more complicated race than it should have been. I think he was much the best.”
As for Richard Hannon’s Mojo Star he surely has the unwanted moniker of being the unluckiest horse in training.
He has only won one of eight lifetime starts but he has finished second in the Derby, St Leger and now a Gold Cup.
Hannon said: “Gold Cup next year is where we work back from. He is in all the good races. He is very manoeuvrable and he can go back to a mile and a half and now gets two and a half miles. Or anything in between.
“I worked him with my milers, Lusail and Chindit at Kempton, and thought he might have worked the best.
“I knew then he might run a big race if he would go the trip – and he got the trip and for a second I thought he might go and win it. Obviously, I’m gutted not to win.
“We have had a few seconds this week, but it will come and it is a real pleasure to be associated with him and his day will come. He has been second in three Group Ones. It took a lot to get him here and to run him in the Gold Cup first time out.
“If he was trained by a good trainer, he might win four lengths and win the Hardwicke on Friday. I am so proud of the horse and the people surrounding him. He has only just won his maiden – six months ago.
“He looks like Superman. You would not get a better-looking horse. He takes a bit to get fit and when you go that trip he does come into consideration. He has had a hard race today and we will pick our way.”