Eqtidaar Gives Stoute 78th Royal Ascot Win In Commonwealth Cup

by | 06.22.2018 | 1:15pm
Jockey Jim Crowley celebrates after the Commonwealth Cup victory aboard Eqtidaar

Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's Shadwell operation landed its second G1 Commonwealth Cup since the race's inception in 2015, when Eqtidaar won the latest edition for trainer Sir Michael Stoute.

Eqtidaar followed in the hoofprints of Shadwell's Muhaarar, who stepped up from his Royal Ascot victory in 2015 to become champion sprinter, unbeaten in a further three Group One contests, and now regarded as a very promising young sire at the Sheikh's Shadwell Stud in Norfolk. His first crop will appear as two-year-olds in 2019.

A home-bred, by the stallion Invincible Spirit, Eqtidaar has some way to go to match Muhaarar's feats, but he is on his way following victory over his 21 rivals in today's sprint. A 12/1 shot, ridden by Jim Crowley, he beat Sands Of Mali (15/2) and Emblazoned (12/1) by half a length and one length.

Sir Michael was not shocked by the victory, although Eqtidaar had not won on his three previous starts, following a winning debut as a two-year-old.

The trainer said: “We have always liked this horse. I thought things just didn't go quite right for him the first time he ran here in the Pavilion Stakes. Then at Newbury last time, he was on the wrong side of the track and at halfway was too far out of his ground.

“He worked very well the other weekend under Jim Crowley, so we were hopeful.

“He just showed how talented [a sprinter] he is. We have had some good ones like Marwell, Ajdal, and Green Desert. He is progressing nicely.”

Eqtidaar was given a quote of 16/1 for the G1 Darley July Cup, but Sir Michael said he would have to discuss options with the Sheikh before making a plan for the colt.

Overseas visitor Gidu, trained by Todd Pletcher in New York State, came home a creditable sixth in the third race on the card, the £500,000 G1 Commonwealth Cup for three-year-olds over six fiurlongs.

Pletcher was not in attendance, but jockey John Velazquez, who rode the grey Frankel colt, commented: “I thought he went and ran well.

“It was a good effort. It was a tough race.

“I love to be here! You love to win. Winning is the most important bit but as long as they run and try hard, you can't beat that. Especially here.”

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