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
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
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

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions