There was no storybook ending for the careers of both Nayef and Alamshar in Saturday's Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket. Gary Tanaka's Rakti played the spoiler while ridden out for a surprisingly easy two-length victory.
Favored Alamshar, who is retiring to stud duty in Japan, won both the Irish Derby (Ire-I) and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) this year. He was prominent early and led with less than a half-mile to go in the 1 1/4-mile Champion, but tired to sixth. The English champion Nayef, a four-time group I winner who is headed home to Shadwell Stud in England, pressed the lead until the final three furlongs before fading to eighth in the 12-horse field. The brilliant filly Russian Rhythm was fifth.
Rakti, 11-1 in the public betting, successfully returned to action after suffering a hairline fracture of a left ankle while finishing second to Nayef in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in mid-June. He won the Italian Derby last year.
Ridden by Philip Robinson for trainer Michael Jarvis, Rakti was in mid-pack early and grabbed the lead less than three furlongs from home. He opened up his advantage while hard ridden to the final furlong and cruised home in front of Carnival Dancer, who was 1 1/2 length in front of Indian Creek. Imperial Dancer was fourth. The final time was 2:03.34 on a good to firm course.
Chris Richardson, managing director for owners Cheveley Park Stud, said 5-year-old Carnival Dancer is also being retired to stud.
The British-bred 4-year-old Rakti is a bay colt by Polish Precedent – Ragera (Rainbow Quest).