Racing: Eddery in a triumph of timing

ROYAL ASCOT: The champion jockey clinches a memorable Gold Cup victory with a perfectly delayed challenge on Celeric

There have been many outstanding rides in Pat Eddery's 28-year career but hardly ever have they been accompanied by a flash of emotion. The Gold Cup changed that yesterday. The Irishman executed a ride of such skill and timing on Celeric that he even managed to satisfy his greatest critic, himself. When he came to a stop, his face covered in a rash of mud spots, Eddery smiled at connections and raised a clenched fist in front of him. The mission had, gloriously, been accomplished.

The huge personality of Frankie Dettori dominates racing today, but he is not champion jockey. That honour belongs to the man who has won the championship 11 times, ridden around 4,000 winners, 67 of them at the Royal meeting.

Pat Eddery's first, and previously only, victory in the Gold Cup was on Erimo Hawk 25 years ago and, as his prowess and longevity remain closely entwined, Celeric should not be the last. He will, however, be the most memorable.

It is the gelding's nature that he must be brought to the front with only fractions of his journey remaining. Thus it was no surprise to see Eddery and his partner ambling out of the stalls yesterday. As anticipated, the outriders were Grey Shot and Double Trigger, who carried wide-cupped blinkers which lent the impression he was wearing sunglasses. Behind them, the order changed but not the position of Celeric, who was glued in last place.

Down the far side, Eddery crept as unnoticed as ivy up brickwork, and by the time the straight was breached the final push was under way. Celeric slid through the bookends of Double Trigger and Samraan and then had just Classic Cliche in front of him. So well was the five-year-old travelling, that his passenger could afford to take a cheeky tug before striking out for the post. At the line there was three-quarters of a length of space behind him.

"The horse loves to be ridden like that and I just went out there with so much confidence as the owner and trainer let me do what I wanted," Eddery said. "It was marvellous."

That David Morley managed to send out such a positive message was a tribute to his stagecraft. He actually felt dreadful. The trainer heard rain spattering against his bedroom window in the dark hours and felt like climbing out on to the ledge for a closer inspection. "I was in the depths of despair this morning with all that rain having fallen," the Newmarket man said. "I was awake from 4.15am listening to the rain and the more it came down the more despondent I got. I thought he had no chance."

Celeric should be Celeriac, a turnip-rooted variety of celery, but somewhere in the transmission to Weatherbys an "a" went missing. He was bred, appropriately enough, in the back garden of his owner, Christopher Spence. "The small stud we have is literally in the garden at home," he said. Celeric's mother, Hot Spice, has produced a greengrocers' shelf of offspring as her progeny also includes Sesame, Myrrh, Camomile, Turmeric and Zucchini.

Elsewhere, there were victories for figures who do not have to ask for directions to the winners' enclosure at the Royal meeting. Yashmak was devastating in the Ribblesdale Stakes for Henry Cecil, while Paul Cole's Central Park provoked a quote of 25-1 for the 1998 2,000 Guineas from Coral with his success in the Chesham Stakes. But perhaps the most warming success was that of Cole's former assistant, Kevin McAuliffe.

The only people who fancied his Tippitt Boy in the Norfolk Stakes were probably those who liked the name or devotees of the system of backing the outsider of six. Tippitt Boy, however, seemed to be unaware that he was a 33-1 option as he caught and passed Hopping Higgins inside the final furlong. "This is the best day of my life," McAuliffe said. "I've always thought he was a good horse, the best two-year-old I have ever trained." To be fair, that particular race does not require much winning.

McAuliffe has been training from Delamere Cottage stables in Lambourn for four years, employing the expertise he collected at Whatcombe. "Paul [Cole] is a very good trainer of two-year-olds and he taught me the bottom line is buying young horses," he said. "He taught me that if you buy a selling plater, it will always be a selling plater."

There were plenty who thought Tippitt Boy was not much above that class before yesterday. After his defeat at Redcar in May one of the trade papers opined that he "might be capable of winning a seller on a small track". They were right.

Royal Ascot set an attendance record for the third successive day yesterday. The Ladies' Day crowd of 77,543 beat the previous best of 76,640, set in 1986.

Almaty may be a late withdrawal from today's King's Stand Stakes if the rain-softened ground is deemed unsuitable.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?