Kentucky-bred Tungsten Strike, narrowly beaten in back-to-back group III efforts, found the soft going at Sandown Park to his liking Monday and rolled to a five-length win in the more prestigious Henry II Stakes (Eng-II).
The 5-year-old gelded son of Smart Strike
, bred by Minster Stud and conditioned by Amanda Perrett for owner John Connolly, earned a shot at the Ascot Gold Cup (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot June 22 with his first group victory in the Henry II, contested at a distance of two miles and 78 yards.
Tungsten Strike was twice defeated by Henry II rival Cover Up in group III events – by a head and by a half-length – in his two previous starts, also at the marathon two-mile distance. Never comfortable on the heavy going, Cover Up was last as the 11-4 favorite for most of the trip Monday and gave up the chase with two furlongs left while bringing up the rear in the seven-horse field.
Racing in second behind the pacesetting Art Eyes, Tungsten Strike was driven to the lead by Ryan Moore on the stands side of the course with two furlongs remaining and they pulled away in the final furlong.
"He deserved that," Perrett told Racing Post
. "He has been robbed a couple of times but he is very game. He has a lovely long stride and Ryan found the best ground under the hedge. This horse is so enthusiastic. We will have a go at the Gold Cup where I would think he would have an each way chance."
Winged D'Argent took second by a half-length with Barolo and Art Eyes following. Vinando and Mubtaker finished of Cover Up. The final time was 3:45.28
Tungsten Strike, who was sold at Tattersall as a yearling for $84,865 in 2002, has now earned (U.S.) $289,461 while winning five of 18 starts.