Royal Rebel Repeats in Ascot Gold Cup

Royal Rebel Repeats in Ascot Gold Cup
Photo: Trevor Jones
Royal Ascot lived up to its name Thursday, as carriages brought the royal family to the racecourse and Royal Rebel won the Gold Cup.
Back-to-back winner of the Ascot Gold Cup (Eng-I). That title now belongs to Royal Rebel just as such past heroes as Drum Taps, LeMoss, and Ardross.

A 6-year-old gelding, Royal Rebel took his second consecutive Gold Cup Thursday at Royal Ascot, running the 20 furlongs in 4:25.64. Owned by British Horseracing Board chairman Peter Savill, he is trained by Mark Johnston and was ridden by Johnny Murtagh. Royal Rebel had not won a race since last year's Gold Cup.

"It's just fantastic. I've said for quite a while not to discount him because the horse has been physically very well," Johnston said. "You'd have to say it was a different Royal Rebel today--probably the best we've seen him in many years really. It's the first time I've seen the horse switched on in a while and I knew if he could go well for the first four furlongs he would take a lot of beating at the end of two and a half miles."

Vinnie Roe ran second and Wareed finishe third. Jockey Frankie Dettori was handed a four-day suspension for excess use of the whip on third-placed Wareed.

A field of 15 contested the endurance race at 2 1/2 miles. Yet after that lengthy distance, Royal Rebel prevailed by only a neck. He was headed inside the furlong pole, the in an all-out drive, fought back to earn the victory.

Royal Rebel is by Robellino out of the Riverman mare Greenvera.

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