Farhh Wins Champion Stakes Thriller at Ascot
In a rousing three-way charge to the finish line, game Farhh edged 6-4 favorite Cirrus Des Aigles and Ruler of The World in the £1.3 million QIPCO Champion Stakes (Eng-I) Oct. 19 at Ascot.
The race was the centerpiece of QIPCO British Champions Days, which featured two other group I races. Olympic Glory won QIPCO Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) and Seal of Approval sprung a scintillating upset in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes (Eng-I).
At 11-4 odds in his second start of the year after an injury, Farhh brought his top game for the race that was undeniably the most thrilling of day. He tracked stablemate Hunter's Light from second and took command over a furlong out, but Cirrus des Aigles and Ruler of The World soon came calling.
The trio separated themselves from the rest of the field for their battle royale, but the Farhh had plenty of stamina in reserve to deny 2011 winner Cirrus Des Aigles by a neck. Ruler of The World pressed hard to finish a half-length back in third.
Checking in six lengths back behind Ruler of The World, who was hung wide throughout, was Hunter's Light.
Expertly ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, Farhh finished the 1 1/4 miles in 2:12.02 on turf rated as soft.
A proficient miler for Godolphin, Farhh has had continual physical problems as well as surgery to remove an ankle chip. He injured himself again after a smashing win in the one-mile JLT Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) May 18 at Newbury in his only other start of the season. He stretched out for his comeback in the Champion.
"My horse traveled like a dream and felt like the winner throughout the race," said de Sousa.
"I was concerned that he would get in front a bit too soon on that heavy ground, but he is a marvelous horse," De Sousa said. "It was some performance from him.
"I knew that the French horse (Cirrus Des Aigles) would travel behind me, but the way that my horse traveled, something really good would have to beat me.
"He has been very well trained by Saeed (bin Suroor) as he's had plenty of problems this season, but we know he goes well fresh."
Christophe Soumillon, aboard Cirrus Des Aigles, said he thought this mount would be the winner entering the straight after racing in midfield early.
"I knew Farhh was the horse to beat so I tried to follow him, but unfortunately when I got to him he found more," the rider said.
Farhh will now be retired to stud.
"He had to have a break after winning the Lockinge," bin Suroor told England's Press Association about the 5-year-old Pivotal horse out of the German multiple group I winner Gonbarda, by Lando. "He's been a miler in the past but he did it today really well over 10 furlongs, especially in that ground."
Farhh concludes his career with five wins, four seconds, and a third from 10 career starts. He was runner-up four times at the group I level last year, including twice to the mighty Frankel.
Sire Pivotal, with 113 stakes winners, stands at Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket.
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