Racing: Malhub snub works wonders

Royal Ascot: Sheikh Hamdan's third-choice outsider romps to surprise victory after recovering from throat surgery

That old adage that jockeys are not necessarily the best judges proved entirely to Kevin Darley's benefit here yesterday. The 41-year-old took the Group One feature, the Golden Jubilee Stakes, on the barely considered 16-1 shot Malhub, carrying the third colours of Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum. The John Gosden-trained four-year-old had been rejected by both the owner's retained jockey, Richard Hills, and his deputy, Willie Supple.

Malhub, who came to the £250,000 six-furlong test on the back of a victory in a four-runner contest at lowly Yarmouth, made just about every yard to beat Danehurst a length and a half, with Three Points third and Indian Country fourth.

The favourite, Johannesburg, who was weak in the market, beat only three in a field that had been reduced to 12 runners by four withdrawals. The most notable of the absentees was the US challenger, Caller One, who had been found to have a throat infection late on Friday night.

The winner, a son of Kingmambo, ran ninth to Black Minnaloushe in the St James's Palace Stakes here a year ago but was one of the least exposed of yesterday's contestants over the sprint distance. Now that his métier has been identified, he will next stake his claim for divisional honours in the July Cup at Newmarket next month.

The Yarmouth race, nine days ago, was Malhub's seasonal debut, as his reappearance had been delayed by surgery to correct a breathing problem. But he gave notice of his potential by breaking the track record. Gosden said: "I felt a mile was too far for him, but I also felt he had it in him to be a proper horse, so we gave him this one really smart entry at the shorter distance. He had throat surgery after the race here last year and had to have a touch-up in February and it's a testament to Sheikh Hamdan's patience that he stuck with him."

Darley's previous top-level association with Gosden here also resulted in victory, when he rode Observatory for the stable to beat Giant's Causeway in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes two years ago. "On paper, Malhub perhaps did look the least of the three," said Gosden, "so perhaps you can't blame the boys, and I was delighted when I found out Kevin was available." Hills, on Misraah, came in eighth, two places ahead of Supple on Mugharreb.

The race went entirely to plan as far as Darley was concerned. "The idea was to jump out quick, grab a chunk of mane and throw the reins at him," he said, "It seemed to work." The Golden Jubilee Stakes – the renamed and upgraded Cork and Orrery Stakes – was Darley's second successive winner on the day. Half an hour earlier, he had brought the wholly admirable Zindabad home a length in front of Storming Home in the Hardwicke Stakes, and did not see another horse's backside in that race either. The six-year-old bowled along in front and found plenty as the challenges began to stack up behind him in the straight.

"He is absolutely genuine and straightforward, a bus of a ride," said Darley. "It may seem he gets lazy in front and I have to work a bit, but he is only waiting for the others to get to him. As soon as they do, he puts his head down again."

Zindabad, who was recording his ninth victory, is now firmly top of the middle-distance first division. But a premiership win is the target, with the Canadian International in September the favoured target. The Hardwicke Stakes, a Group Two race, put Middleham-based Johnston top of the trainer's table for the week on four wins, ahead of the racing superpowers of Ballydoyle and Godolphin. Johnny Murtagh took the jockey's title, also on four wins.

Yesterday's one-off Royal day to mark the Golden Jubilee made the week the most successful race meeting ever held in Britain in terms of attendance, with more than 300,000 people going through the gates over five days.

The afternoon, though, began on a note of intense regret among the sport's professionals with the news that Gerald Leigh, one of Britain's leading owner-breeders, had lost his four-year battle with cancer. Poignantly, his death came less than 24 hours after his filly Gossamer ran last in the Coronation Stakes.

In 30 years, Leigh developed a small-scale broodmare band of the highest quality at his 600-acre Eydon Hall Farm in Northamptonshire. His top-level successes in his own colours included Brocade, Infamy, Markofdistinction and two current stars, Gossamer and Act One, and, in other silks, Barathea and Bosra Sham.

Leigh's horses were his delight and his passion, and the exploits of Gossamer and Act One gave him the focus and strength to fight the increasing effects of his illness during the past year. Two weeks ago, he had his accommodation at home rearranged so that he had a view of his beloved 21-year-old Brocade in her paddock from his bedroom.

Luca Cumani, trainer of Gossamer and others, paid tribute to Leigh, saying: "He was a great man in every walk of life and did an enormous amount of good over the years. I'm sure his work will have a proud effect for many years to come in racing." That legacy became apparent within hours of Leigh's death when the juvenile filly, Duty Paid, whose sire is Barathea, won the opening race here.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering