Racing: Invasor confirms status but does it the hard way
Monday 05 February 2007
The best horse in the world, Invasor, produced a performance worthy of his billing as he launched his 2007 campaign with a remarkable win in Florida on Saturday night, overcoming top weight and difficult passage to take a nine-furlong Grade One dirt contest at Gulfstream Park.
Sheikh Hamdan's five-year-old came off the final turn full of running but boxed in. His jockey, Fernando Jara, had to check; his mount clipped heels, propped and lost momentum, still trapped on the rails. A gap appeared, the 2-5 favourite shot through, went after the leaders, caught them with half a furlong to run and accelerated away.
"I was worried when Fernando came up the inside because when you're that sort of favourite nobody wants to open the door for you," Kieran McLaughlin, his trainer, said. "It was scary, but he just showed what a superior horse he is. He finds a way to win every time."
It must have looked worse than it felt. "Being in tight wasn't a concern," said Jara. "I had a lot of horse to go on and a lot of horse at the end. He has a really big heart."
Invasor, who topped the World Thoroughbred Rankings after his Breeders' Cup triumph, has now won 10 from 11, the last five at top level. His only defeat came when fourth to year-younger Discreet Cat in last year's UAE Derby and he now heads for the Dubai World Cup, and a rematch with unbeaten Discreet Cat.
"It's going to be exciting," added McLaughlin. "He wants a mile and a quarter and will be at equal weights with Discreet Cat this year."
Nap: Bedlam Boy (Hexham 3.30)
NB: Mystic Man (Lingfield 2.40)
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Latest in Sport
Think before you ink: Manchester United fan gets Sir Alex Ferguson tattoo - and will regret it for the rest of his life
Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Mesut Ozil given the worst rating possible by German newspaper Bild after poor performance
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Paul Scholes column: Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is too good for Arsene Wenger to waste on the left wing
- 2 Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
- 5 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£27000 - £31000 Per Annum Excellent Benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We urgently require an experienc...