Fortune finally scuppers Henrythenavigator in QEII

Raven's Pass comes good at fourth attempt, writes Sue Montgomery at Ascot

If there is not a picture of Robert The Bruce on John Gosden's office wall, there should be. Three times this season his Raven's Pass had tried against Henrythenavigator, and three times he failed. But here yesterday, in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, persistence was rewarded. The spider reached the top of the web and grabbed the fat Group One prize.

All season, the distance between the two colts had been diminishing. In the 2,000 Guineas in May, it had been four and a half lengths, in theSt James's Palace Stakes in June, three-quarters of a length, and in the Sussex Stakes in July, a head. This time in the European finale to the elitemiling circuit, Raven's Pass was a length to the good. "It's the last dance you want," said Gosden. "That's the one you remember."

The contest was worthy of its billing as the seasonal decider. The pacemakers, Honoured Guest for Henrythenavigator and Racinger for Tamayuz, ensured a true gallop. The perceived big three, Henrythenavigator, Raven's Pass and Tamayuz, swept through together two furlongs out, with the French challenger the first to crack.

Jimmy Fortune, on Raven's Pass, took the battle to his old rival and doggedly though Henrythenavigator, the 11-8 favourite, kept up the pressure as he responded gamely to Johnny Murtagh's urgings, he was always second best.

"Perhaps I got it wrong at Goodwood," Fortune admitted. "Early on in his career he had been a bit keen in his races, and I think I probably overdid the relaxing at the back. If I'd kicked on sooner then we might have beaten him before now, but we'd always been slightly worried about him stopping in front."Today, I tried to sit and sit as long as I could in front, before I really dug in. I could sense Johnny coming to my quarters, and credit to my lad, when I got serious with him, he really answered." The pair drew more than four lengths clear of Sabana Perdida as Tamayuz faded to fourth.

"It all went wrong in the Guineas from his draw," said Gosden, "but he ran a blinder at Ascot, though we were beaten fair and square. The Sussex Sta kes is water under the bridge now, but this time we knew we had to be handier. And that was the only plan, just be handier."

Henrythenavigator's defeat was a disappointing end to the week for Aidan O'Brien and the Ballydoyle team, who do not intend to appeal against punishments levied by the authorities for their breaches of the so-called team tactic rules.

"He ran a stormer," said O'Brien. "The ground was a little lose on top – he spins a bit on it, he's so much better on real fast ground he can grab – but there's never been much between the two horses, and it was the other's turn today."

Raven's Pass and Henrythenavigator may yet meet again, in California next month. The Breeders' Cup meeting at Santa Anita offers a variety of targets, including the Mile on turf and the ten-furlong Classic on a new artificialsurface. Either horse could go foreither race, with Duke Of Marmalade also factored intoBallydoyle plans. The four-year-old is likely to run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe a week today, and has either the Classic or the mile-and-a-half Turf pencilled in thereafter.

Raven's Pass, who carried the colours of Sheikh Mohammed's wife, Princess Haya of Jordan, for the first time yesterday after a transfer of ownership, ended a perfect day for Gosden, for earlier his star two-year-old filly Rainbow View took her record to four from four in the day's other Group One, the Fillies' Mile.

The daughter of Dynaformer, owned and bred by Pennsylvanian George Strawbridge, is now as short as 7-4 for next year's 1,000 Guineas after coming though her test. In her previous outings, her brilliance had carried her though not only unbeaten but unextended, but yesterday's rivals over one of the stiffest miles inthe country represented a tough examination.

She passed it with A-star talent – she powered past Fantasia to win by two and a half lengths – and high praise from her trainer. "The ground is loose," said Gosden, "and that does not make it easy for any horse, but particularly a young one, and one coming off the pace. It was a test of her stamina as well as her speed. But though she's not very big, she is all heart, and that will take her a long way."

That may, like her older stablemate, be to the West Coast before her date next May at Newmarket. Her win, and that of Royal Lodge Stakes winner Jukebox Jury, guaranteed a place in one of the valuable Juvenile contests at the Breeders' Cup meeting.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - London - £43,000

£35000 - £43000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior IT Support Analyst...

Recruitment Genius: Technical SEO Specialist

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Systems Project Manager - Surrey - £450 per day

£450 per day: Ashdown Group: HR Systems Project Manager - Surrey - £450 per da...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness