Falbrav Wins Ascot's QE II; Breeders' Cup Next

Falbrav, a horse with something to prove after his controversial loss to High Chaparral in the Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I), swept to a two-length victory over Russian Rhythm in the $535,000 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot on Saturday.

The 5-year-old Irish-bred son of Fairy King cut back to a mile from the 10-furlong Champion Stakes, the first time he's tested the distance since he was 2.

Falbrav brushed aside pacesetting Blatant with 3/16 of a mile to go and held off the brilliant filly Russian Rhythm to win as the 6-4 favorite in the eight-horse field. Tillerman was third, another 1 1/4 length back. The time was 1:38.99 on a good to firm course.

Trainer Luca Cumani said he is anxious to travel to Santa Anita for the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup.

"I would very much like to go to the Breeders' Cup. It's going to be a very difficult one because the race for him should be the mile and a half Turf so we would be going from a mile to a mile and a half.

"The mile and a half at Santa Anita with the first four furlongs down hill and being a small, flat oval, I think he should have a chance. With the amount of money he has won the supplementary, which is $180,000, I'm hoping it may not appear that much for a horse that has won over £1 million this year."

Cumani boasted after losing the heated debate over the result of the Champion Stakes that Falbrav was "the best horse anywhere in the world"

"We had more to prove today," Cumani told The Racing Post. "We had to prove that the result in Ireland was a travesty, that he could come back to a mile and he did. I feel very proud of the horse.

Cumani admitted he may have spoken out of turn earlier, but the was relieved that the horse vindicated him.

"I did say it in a moment of desperation after he lost a race in Ireland which he shouldn't have lost but I don't think it can be disproved now. Everybody will agree that the horse should have won in Ireland. Even though it was a bit of an afterthought to come here, it was thanks to the lack of rain that we did.

"The horse is just amazing. I probably went a bit overboard when I said after Ireland that to me he was probably the best horse in the world at the moment but I think today confirms it. He's probably the best horse in the world on grass between a mile and a mile and a quarter."

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