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Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 15:57 UK

Yeats claims Gold Cup hat-trick

ROYAL ASCOT 2008
Date: Tuesday 17-Saturday 21 June First race: 1430 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC One (1345-1520) and BBC Two (1520-1715), BBC Radio Five Live and the BBC Sport website

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Yeats may be back for a fourth tilt in 2009

Irish raider Yeats became only the second horse to win three successive Gold Cups at Ascot on Thursday.

Yeats was challenged by last year's runner-up Geordieland and previously unbeaten French horse Coastal Path but eventually finished five lengths clear.

Yeats, ridden by Johnny Murtagh, also became the first seven-year-old to win the race since Drum Taps in 1993.

The only other three-time winner before the Aidan O'Brien-trained champion was Sagaro between 1975 and 1977.

Yeats, the 11-8 favourite, took up the running in the two-and-a-half mile marathon turning into the straight, but was quickly joined by 15-2 third favourite Geordieland.

Shane Kelly's mount looked like he might get the better of the tussle, but Yeats dug deep into his reserves and gradually drew away to seal the historic win.

Interview: Aidan O'Brien and Johnny Murtagh

O'Brien and Murtagh have now picked up three of the four Group One races on offer during the first two days of the meeting, having already landed the Queen Anne Stakes, the St James' Palace Stakes and the Prince of Wales Stakes.

"I didn't really think it could happen," O'Brien told BBC Sport. "It's incredible, it's marvellous.

"To come here and win it a second year and then a third is just beyond belief.

"Whether he comes back next year [Yeats is 3-1 to add a fourth] depends on the boss man [owner John Magnier] because there will come a time when we need to preserve his genes.

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"He really is the horse with the largest heart and lungs I have ever been associated with, and I mean physically."

Murtagh, who claimed his second Gold Cup victory, was also gushing in his praise of Yeats.

"He has the heart of a lion and I knew he would kill them," he said. "He has that touck of extra class."

Part-owner and breeder of Yeats David Nagle said that thoughts of coming back next year would be put on hold for a while, although he added that it was "a dream we aspire to".


see also
Royal Ascot day three photos
19 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Ascot day three as it happened
19 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Murtagh rides Duke to Ascot glory
18 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Henrythenavigator stars at Ascot
17 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Royal Ascot meeting schedule
18 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Horse racing on the BBC
19 May 08 |  Horse Racing
Quiz the racing team
17 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing


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