Baron's Pit Upsets Marino Marini in Norfolk

Trainer Aidan O'Brien wins many group races in Europe, but for the second straight day at Royal Ascot, he was upset in one of the meeting's major stakes.

On Thursday, O'Brien's 4-7 choice Marino Martini finished third as Baron's Pit pulled the 12-1 upset in the Norfolk Stakes (Eng-III) for 2-year-old colts. A day earlier, 1-2 shot Tomahawk was defeated in the Chesham Stakes by 25-1 outsider Helm Bank.

Before the Norfolk, Marino Martini had to have a shoe replaced.

Baron's Pit (Night Shift--Incendio, by Siberian Express) was bred by his owners, J.T. and K.M. Thomas. He is trained by Richard Hannon, who was not at the track. The colt was saddled by his son, Richard Hannon Jr.

"He's had a day off today," Richard Hannon Jr. told The Racing Post of his father's absence. "There's Friday and Saturday to come and evening racing as well so he's having a rest.

"The owner's ecstatic. He's obviously a good 2-year-old but it's difficult to win here. You get group class horses getting beat.

"He's the kind of horse who always looks a bit burly and I think he obviously saves a bit for himself. 'Hughesy' (jockey Richard Hughes) said he couldn't believe how well he was traveling a furlong out.

"The horse is owned by a nice guy called Jeff Thomas who bred him himself and he hasn't always had a lot of luck with his yearlings. He took this one to the sales last year but he went through unsold for less than 8,000 guineas so he came back.

"There was a horse in this race that cost $1.8 million (Marino Marini) but that's the beauty of racing--you can pay as much as you like but it doesn't mean they can run fast. For a small owner a day like today is something that you can dream about."

Baron's Pit won the Norfolk by a head over The Bonus King, with Marino Martini another three lengths back in third. He ran the five furlongs in 1:01.99.

It was the second win for Baron's Pit in three starts. He broke his maiden May 20 in his second outing.