The QIPCO British Champions Day undercard Oct. 19 at Ascot featured victories by determined sprinter Slade Power
and late-running stayer Royal Diamond
Ridden by Wayne Lordan for trainer Edward Lynam, Slade Power fought out the finish with Jack Dexter
and captured the £350,000 QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes (Eng-II).
Eighth last year to Maarek
while sustaining a serious pelvic injury, Slade Power would not be denied again this year. Racing down the center of the track to engage Jack Dexter on the stands' side rail, he edged that rival by a neck in 1:15.79 for the six-furlong test.
finished 3 1/4 lengths back in the third.
Slade Power came in off a second to Gordon Lord Byron
in the Betfred Sprint Cup (Eng-I) Sept. 7. Earlier this year, he was third to Lethal Force
in the Darley July Cup (Eng-I) at Newmarket. He is under consideration for the Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin in December.
Maarek, the 7-2 favorite for a repeat win, was never a threat in a 12th-place finish.
Sabena Power's homebred Slade Power, a 4-year-old Dutch Art colt out of the Key of Luck mare Girl Power, has seven wins, three seconds, and two thirds from 15 career starts.
Andrew Tinkler's Royal Diamond wore down longtime leader Harris Tweed
with a relentless rally and took the £200,000 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (Eng-III) in the final stride.
Trained by jockey Johnny Murtagh, the 7-year-old King's Best gelding kicked from near the back of the field to win by the slimmest of margins in a heartbreaker for Harris Tweed and rider George Baker.
Last year's winner of the 1 3/4-mile Irish St. Leger (Ire-I), Royal Diamond finished the two-mile Long Distance Cup in 3:38.09, putting to rest any doubt about his ability to get the trip on the soft ground.
Though Murtagh piloted Novellist
to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) and the King's Stand Stakes (Eng-I) with Sole Power
among seven group I wins as a jockey this season, he said the Long Distance Cup win as a trainer was the highlight his career.
"I think that this is the best day of my life," he said. "Royal Diamond is all heart and all guts. He's proved he stays today, so next year you could see more."
Royal Diamond has won nine races and placed second or third 10 times from 34 career starts.
Bred by Moyglare Stud out of multiple group winner Irresistible Jewel, by Danehill, Royal Diamond is a half brother to group winners Mad About You and Princess Highway, both Irish classic-placed.