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The Commonwealth Cup

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History

2015 saw the first ever running of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot – and one of the brightest stars to don the QIPCO British Champions Series emerged from it.

Muhaarar, trained by Charlie Hills, eased clear of his rivals to demonstrate his ability with ease at the Royal meeting before going on to win the Darley July Cup and bowing out on QICO British Champions Day a sprinting hero.

The Group 1 contest, which is the 8th at Royal Ascot, will be run for £375,000 on the Friday of the Royal meeting and will replace the Buckingham Palace Stakes.

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

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No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Quiet Reflection shows herself to be a big noise

Caravaggio produced a wonderful combination of speed and stamina to land the third running of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Settled in mid-division early on by jockey Ryan Moore under a furious gallop set by Harry Angel in the six-furlong event, the three-year-old son of Scat Daddy stayed on tenaciously in the closing stages to master the front-runner by three-quarters of a length, with Blue Point a further half-length behind in third in a pulsating finish.

Aidan O’Brien, registering his sixth victory in this year’s Champions Series, has always rated Caravaggio highly and he was effusive in his praise of the US-bred colt.

“I’m delighted – we were treating it as a second stage race as he had a lovely race at Naas when he won last time,” he said. “He was racing against three-year-olds again today and after that, we thought he would be stepping up against older horses.

“He was just ready for his next step today. The lads had it in their mind to come here and then maybe somewhere like the July Cup and then somewhere else after that.

“The lads have a plan in their mind that he might go to Australia for the Everest [G1, six furlongs, Randwick Racecourse, October 14, 2017], so we have to be very conscious now if we want him to last for the autumn.

“I was very nervous today as he was just ready to come through today, so I’m delighted that it all went well.”

He added: “He had plenty to do at halfway behind two good horses and he only raced for two and a half-furlongs. He was very relaxed in himself before the race – he was very natural and there was no edge to him. He is a natural free sweater anyway, but I was surprised by how cool he was – he is a very calm horse.

“He is very quick, I would be happier at two furlongs than six furlongs with this fella! He is the fastest horse we have ever had.”

Caravaggio is 6/4 with Betway for the July Cup – another Champions Series race – at Newmarket on July 15 and Moore will relish getting back on him then.

“I think that was a fairly exceptional race and he beat two very good horses,” he said. “There’s quite a headwind and it has been hard to make up ground today and yesterday. They made him work, but he picked them up well in the end.

“I think it was a very good race, they are two very good colts who were leading him. Caravaggio was very good here, it is the first time he has ever been asked a serious question so he was a bit unsure when he got the message, but he’s responded very well. I think there is some more improvement in him.”

Moore’s biggest scare was before the start.”He reared in the stalls before the starter let them go, but soon got into a good rhythm,” he said.

Godolphin runners filled the placings and Clive Cox, trainer of runner-up Harry Angel, said: “It was a great run, a great horse race. He wore his heart on his sleeve a little bit there but when you take the blindfold off them and they jump that quick there’s not a lot you can do about it.

“Adam [Kirby] has given him a great ride and it was a very, very special race.

“We’ll see how he comes back from this race [as to where we go next], but just very pleased with this.

Results

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The Course

British horseracing can lay claim to plenty of blue-blooded connections, but none rival those of Ascot. The Berkshire racecourse’s roots go back 300 years to Queen Anne, who recognised the potential of a stretch of heath land while out riding just a few miles from Windsor Castle.

The royal link has endured ever since. Today, Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family attend the world-famous ‘Royal Ascot’ meeting each year, arriving in a horse drawn carriage. Royal Ascot, meanwhile, has earned iconic status as a centrepiece of the social calendar, when the world’s best thoroughbreds face fierce competition from the world’s most extravagant fashion designs.

Ascot, which underwent a £200 million redevelopment between 2004-6, also hosts the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO in July, the most prestigious open-age Flat race staged in Britain.

It will also host the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in October which will be the richest raceday ever staged in Britain with over £4.2m in prize money and the climax to the QIPCO British Champions Series.  Including the five category finales on QIPCO British Champions Day, Ascot stages no less than 13 of the 35 QIPCO British Champions Series races.

What sort of horses like Ascot? Horses that like right-handed courses. And what sort of people? People who like champagne and scones, apparently. During the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in 2010, 60,000 bottles of champagne and 40,000 scones were consumed. Lobsters, meanwhile, don’t like Royal Ascot – 1,500 of them were eaten over that same period.

Getting there

Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 7JX

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