City Leader Battles to Royal Lodge Victory

City Leader took the lead with two furlongs left and resolutely held off all challengers to capture the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Eng-II) at Ascot Sept. 29.

The victory by City Leader was the first for a Sangster family colorbearer in a group event since Playful Act won the Lancashire Oaks (Eng-II) in 2005. The Sangster family is set to disperse most of its breeding stock at major sales within the next few months, and will only keep about 12 horses in training.

City Leader is the last foal from one of the Sangster family’s most reliable bloodlines. Kanmary, the dam of City Leader, died while foaling the grey colt. Previously, Kanmary had produced North American sprint champion Lit de Justice, group I winner Commander Collins, and stakes winner Colonel Collins for the Sangsters.

Campanologist set a decent pace as he led the field of 11 through the first six furlongs of the one-mile contest.  Kevin Darley kept City Leader in second, just off the flank of Campanologist. As the field turned into the straightaway, Darley pushed City Leader to the front, and the pair took command with two furlongs left.

City Leader had to dig deep to fight off the challenges of Achill Island and Scintillo, who battled the grey every step to the finish. City Leader held on to win by three-quarters of a length over Achill Island, who finished a head in front of Scintillo.

Time for the mile was 1:43.64 over the soft going.

Trainer Brian Meehan was delighted to have a group winner for the Sangsters, who own his Manton-based stable.  “I have not been at Manton two years yet, so to pull out a winner like this for the family is marvelous,” Meehan told reporters.

Future plans for the son of Fasliyev are up in the air, but the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) was mentioned as a possible target.  City Leader’s half-brother, Commander Collins, captured the race in 1998.

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