Watch a full replay of a dramatic Londonmetric Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot plus an interview with jockey Jamie Spencer
By Geoffrey Riddle at Ascot
Brian Meehan is eyeing Qipco British Champions Day on October 21 for Raheen House after the colt was awarded the Listed Londonmetric Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot on Friday.
Disappointing in the St Leger at Doncaster three weeks ago, Raheen House came with a barn-storming run down the centre of the track under Jamie Spencer but was just denied at the post by Weekender and a hat-trick seeking Frankie Dettori.
There was just a nose in it and after both riders were interviewed and lengthy deliberation by the stewards Weekender was demoted and Raheen House was handed the £37,000 contest.
Dettori was cautioned for careless riding as he allowed his horse to drift left without sufficient correction.
“Frankie bumped my horse and we got beaten a nose so the margins are there - the rules are pretty straightforward,” Meehan said. “It was close enough, and it was a tiny margin on the line.
“Raheen House looked like he was going to win by a head and it took place 25 yards from the line, which is close enough. I would say it cost us a nose, so there is not much else I can say.”
Meehan is still perplexed at Raheen House’s effort in seventh behind Capri at Doncaster but is seriously considering a tilt at the Qipco Long Distance Cup over two miles 15 days from now. William Hill go a standout 33-1 behind 13-8 Order Of St George for Champions Day, while Paddy Power go the same price about him landing the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next June.
“It was a head scratcher after Doncaster,” Meehan added. “Nothing came to light. He had a few days off and we got straight back in to work.
“I am delighted with the horse and it is a tremendous run with a 5lb penalty. The future is really bright for him, he is a real stayer. Whether he runs again this season or not, we’ll see. He’s in the Stayers race on Champions Day.
“He is a big boy, he doesn’t want to be let down too much. There is nothing for him in the winter so he won’t travel. I definitely think he’ll get the Gold Cup trip in time.”
Dettori had previously partnered Zwayyan to victory the Neptune Investment Management Classified Stakes, his first ride in Britain since his triumph aboard Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, and he followed up 35 minutes later aboard Cheveley Park’s Nobly Born in the Original Harrogate Water Handicap.
Both horses benefitted for the application of blinkers.
"Frankie said he had an easy lead and that the blinkers worked,” Tony Proctor John Gosden’s travelling head lad, said of Nobly Born. "Obviously there have been reasons why he has been beaten, but I don't know why. He was decent and ran really well as a two-year-old. The boss put blinkers on for a reason and they seemed to have worked."
Harry Eustace, assistant to William Haggas, said of Zwayyan: "The drop back in trip and the blinkers have helped. He's been capable of winning races like that all year, it's just been a case of getting the combination right.
"The race fell right for him and he did it OK. He does want this ground and there is a chance for him to come out again if there is the right race, but I will leave that up to the boss."
Ryan Moore delivered Shady McCoy with a perfectly-timed challenge to claim top honours in the Veolia Handicap.
The Ian Williams-trained seven-year-old has been plying his trade in top-grade handicaps this summer without cutting much ice, but this assignment represented a significant drop in class.
Moore appeared adamant on playing his cards late, with Shady McCoy still nearer last than first with two furlongs to run.
However, once switched wide and in the clear, the 13-2 chance charged home and was well on top as he passed the post a length and a half to the good. Hajjam (16-1) was a clear second, with 33-1 shot Another Boy beating 9-2 favourite Alaadel to third place by a head.
Williams said: "The horse was in great form and he could just turn out at York next Friday under a penalty. Ryan said he was well suited by the pace in the race and he enjoyed the ground."