Saddler’s rocks Glorious Goodwood
Thursday 2 August 2012
1 Saddler's Rock (J P Murtagh) 2-1 Fav
2 Askar Tau (G Baker) 25-1
3 Colour Vision (L Dettori) 5-2
By Geoffrey Riddle
Johnny Murtagh admitted that he got it wrong in the Ascot Gold Cup but he gave Saddler's Rock a peach of a ride when the pair took the Artemis Goodwood Cup.
Saddler's Rock proved too free at Royal Ascot off a slow pace but with Chiberta King and Electrolyser cutting out decent fractions the Irish raider held off the late thrust of the fast-finishing Askar Tau and Colour Vision, his Ascot conqueror.
“If you don’t learn from your mistakes and you keep making the same mistakes over and over again you don’t learn very much and sometimes when you do get beat you learn more,” Murtagh said.
“The Ascot race was a total farce for the first mile and a half. I couldn’t get him settled as it was his second run of the year and he was fresh. I should have sent him on five furlongs out at Ascot and he might have won.
“I know that’s no good for the punters who backed him at Ascot but he did enough today.”
Saddlers’ Rock was sent off the 2-1 favourite on account of the 4lb advantage he enjoyed from Colour Vision and this time Murtagh stalked the pace in third behind Chiberta King and Electrolyser.
He used the downhill section well and hit the front from Electrolyser two furlongs from home.
Colour Vision was too far back and looked right up against it under Frankie Dettori but stayed on really well and looked the best horse in the race at the weights.
Askar Tau was sixth two furlongs from home but came with a rattling run down the outside to belie his odds of 25-1.
“It helped that those two went on and I thought I might be second or third. It worked out as I thought it would and thankfully the result is how I hoped it would be,” Murtagh added.
“The last half furlong was hard work. He was looking around and you have to keep going on him. I think he’s better than all of those horses. I don’t think they were flying home, I think he was pulling up more.”
It was the first winner along the Sussex Downs for John Oxx and the Irish trainer was another who felt a sense of vindication after the Ascot fiasco.
“Nothing went right for us that day,” he said. “It wasn’t just one thing, it was three or four. It it was only one thing we may have won.
“This is a lovely race to be the first, with the all the tradition and history around it.”
Oxx would not commit to any race as a target with the going crucial to the improving four-year-old's participation.
The Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup at York on August 25 was mentioned, as was the Stobart Doncaster Cup three weeks later but the Prix du Cadran on Arc day at Longchamp in October and the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup are also possible targets.
“Faster ground is good for him though he’s beginning to handle softer a bit better as he gets older,” Oxx added. “He’s just an ideal cup horse. He has a great temperament and doesn’t take much out of himself, then one crack from Johnny and off he goes.”