Rebel delivers challenge for stayers' crown

Kinane cajoles a gritty display from a quirky character while a juvenile shows his credentials for next season's Classics

There were daggers of lightning before the Goodwood Cup here yesterday, and in the Tattersalls stand, which is topped by three large flagpoles, some racegoers were casting nervous glances towards the heavens. Once the race was underway, however, all eyes were on the track, as Royal Rebel and Far Cry fought over every inch of ground from the furlong pole to the line. After the retirement of Kayf Tara last week, racing has a vacancy for a champion stayer. It is one which Royal Rebel, who won by half a length, could well go on to fill.

There were daggers of lightning before the Goodwood Cup here yesterday, and in the Tattersalls stand, which is topped by three large flagpoles, some racegoers were casting nervous glances towards the heavens. Once the race was underway, however, all eyes were on the track, as Royal Rebel and Far Cry fought over every inch of ground from the furlong pole to the line. After the retirement of Kayf Tara last week, racing has a vacancy for a champion stayer. It is one which Royal Rebel, who won by half a length, could well go on to fill.

The winner went off at 10-1, with Far Cry the 2-1 favourite after his second to Kayf Tara in the Ascot Gold Cup, but there was enough in Royal Rebel's form to show that he has been held in some regard by Mark Johnston, his trainer. Though a maiden after his two-year-old year, he had run in two Listed events and a Group One, and contested the French Derby last year. "We thought he was in with a chance," Johnston, who won the Goodwood Cup three times with Double Trigger, said. "But he had to improve. He is rated 107, which in Double Trigger's day would not have been enough to win, and he's a lazy horse who's had so many off days that you can never be sure how he will run. But he's never been better than today, and he got the perfect ride from Mick Kinane."

Royal Rebel was completing an excellent week for his owner, Peter Savill, who learned on Monday that he has the backing of Britain's racecourses in his bid to maximise racing's profits from its media rights. "He's a lazy horse who takes a lot of stoking and he's had his last couple of runs in Ireland because the stewards are more lenient with the whip rules," Savill said. "I travelled back with Mick Kinane in a plane a few weeks ago and asked him if we should go for the Northumberland Plate [at Newcastle] or the Curragh Cup. He said it depended whether I could do a deal with the Newcastle stewards."

There was more promise of future success in the Richmond Stakes, won with efficiency by the favourite, Endless Summer. Now unbeaten in two starts, John Gosden's colt will step up to Group One company in the Prix Morny at Deauville next month, and is already as short as 20-1 for next year's 2,000 Guineas with several of the bookmakers.

"He is a pleasure to train, with a lovely temperament," Gosden said. "He was not well drawn on the outside and could not get tucked in, so he hit the front a bit too soon. Then I think he was idling when he heard the crowd, but he has done it well."

Perhaps the day's most predictable outcome was the winning margin in the William Hill Mile, which was a short-head for the fourth time in eight years. Persiano, who has run well in several big handicaps without winning, was rewarded for his consistency, holding off the fast finish of Parisien Star.

"He deserved that," James Fanshawe, his trainer, said. "He was very unlucky not to be placed at Ascot on Saturday, but I thought we were going to be swallowed up with a furlong to go. And it was very good for David [Harrison]. Things have been a bit quiet for him since he came back from Hong Kong, and to win a big race like this is just what he wants."

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