Taking on 18 opponents – the largest field in the history of Haydock Park's Sprint Cup (Eng-I) – surprising Tante Rose rallied from the back of the pack to overtake defending champion Somnus near the wire to win by a short head.
The 4-year-old Barathea filly, ridden by Richard Hughes for trainer Roger Charlton, won her thrid consecutive stakes this year over a stellar field of Europe's top sprinters after rating in 15th midway through the six-furlong event. Hughes shook her up a quarter-mile from the finish and she made good progress, challenging Somnus and Mick Kinane in the final furlong. The two drove for home with Tante Rose prevailing in the closing strides.
Charlton also saddled the third-place finisher Patavellian, who finished three-quarters of a length behind, with Royal Millenium fourth. One Cool Cat, the 6-4 favorite with Jamie Spencer aboard, managed to get into position for the final push, but came up empty and finished sixth. The final time on good going was 1:11.58.
The 4-year-old gelding Somnus was forwardly placed, disputing second from the midway point until overtaking narrow leader Welsh Emperor approaching the furlong marker. It appeared Somnus might duplicate his 2003 win but for the late burst from Tante Rose.
Tante Rose and Somnus could be headed for a rematch in the Prix de la Foret (Fr-I) at Longchamp Oct. 9, Charlton said.
The trainer told Racing Post
that he was "gobsmacked" that he was able to get her to the starting post at all after a cough swept his stable in recent weeks.
"I can't believe it's happened really," said Charlton, and he genuinely could not. "Each day has been a nightmare, wondering if she was going to be the next one to cough.
"She's been in isolation for two weeks, but these viral things are very hard to detect. When we've been going out, I've been waiting for the girl to say, 'she's coughed guv'nor'."
Tante Rose, who won her first group I race, has delivered three straight wins since Bjorn Nielsen purchased her from Barry Hills in December.
Kentucky-bred Bahamian Pirate, who won the Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-I) at York last month, finished 12th.