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Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 16:03 UK

Henrythenavigator stars at Ascot

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Henrythenavigator came from second last to win

Odds-on favourite Henrythenavigator justified his reputation as Europe's top miler after triumphing in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The dual Guineas winner came from second-last under Johnny Murtagh and made a move between horses at the key moment with a couple of furlongs left.

The 4-7 favourite was in control and picked up superbly after that, although Raven's Pass tried hard to chase him.

But he went on to win by three-quarters of a length, with Twice Over in third.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "We are delighted - he's a really special horse. He has speed, stamina, class and he picks up - he has a great attitude and Johnny rode him with so much confidence.

Interview: Trainer Aidan O'Brien & jockey Johnny Murtagh

"He's a great horse and I think it's very hard to say that we'll get a better miler than this lad."

Of Henrythenavigator's next port of call, the Ballydoyle handler added: "I think all things are open to him.

"You could drop him back in trip, step him up or leave him at a mile - it's a great decision to have to make."

Earlier, Spanish-trained challenger Equiano landed a 22-1 surprise with victory in the King's Stand Stakes.

The horse, ridden by Frenchman Olivier Peslier, edged out the 2006 winner Takeover Target and Fleeting Spirit.

After the 13-strong field broke into two groups, Equiano was quickly into his stride on the stands-side.


South African raider National Colour was similarly swift from the stalls and set a strong pace on the far side, just in advance of Dandy Man and Moorhouse Lad.

It did not become clear which group were in front until the field approached the final furlong, but it was Equiano on top and he made the best of his way home under Peslier.

Haradasun battled it out to the line with Darjina to win the days's opening Group One race, the Queen Anne Stakes, at 5-1 to give O'Brien and Murtagh the perfect start to the meeting.

The Australian challenger, who came to O'Brien's stable this year, looked out of contention when Finsceal Beo and Darjina took control with two furlongs left.

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But Murtagh refused to panic and eventually the five-year-old got through on the rail to edge out Darjina in a photo-finish.

"We moved off the rails and we got a nice slip through," he said. "I knew over a stiff mile with plenty of pace on he would be hard to beat.

"He's very tough and genuine and they are trained and ridden hard in Australia and I knew he'd improve from his last run.

St James's Palace Stakes (1m)
1. Henrythenavigator (J Murtagh) 4-7 Fav
2. Raven's Pass (J Fortune) 7-1
3. Twice Over (T E Durcan) 8-1
8 ran

King's Stand Stakes (5f)
1. Equiano (O Peslier) 22-1
2. Takeover Target (J Ford) 6-1
3. Fleeting Spirit (R L Moore) 15-8 Fav
13 ran

Queen Anne Stakes (1m)
1. Haradasun (J Murtagh) 5-1
2. Darjina (C Soumillon) 5-1
3. Finsceal Beo (K J Manning) 9-2 Fav
11 ran

see also
Royal Ascot meeting schedule
12 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Royal Ascot on the BBC
19 May 08 |  Horse Racing
Quiz the racing team
17 Dec 04 |  Horse Racing

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