Eqtidaar raised his game when it counted to land the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt had won only one of his previous four starts but those closest to him were expecting a bold showing and the 12/1 chance delivered under an exultant Jim Crowley – beating Sands Of Mali (15/2) and Emblazoned (12/1) by half a length and a length.
It was the second time in the four-year history of the QIPCO British Champions Series race that Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s silks had been carried to victory. Eqtidaar has some way to go before emulating Muhaarar, who won the first running in 2015 and went on to be champion sprinter, but has stacks of potential.
“Eqtidaar was one of my best rides of the week and it’s great he could pull it off,” Crowley said. “He is trained by a master and just keeps on improving.
“Things didn’t pan out last time as we were on the wrong part of the track, whereas today we got a lovely tow into the race. It went like clockwork really.
“I knew his potential. He had been working unbelievably well, and you could make excuses for his last two starts. We knew coming here today that he would have a great chance.”
Paul Hanagan, rider of the fast-finishing runner-up Sands Of Mali, said: “They went a really nice place my side, which suited me, he was able to drop his head and he was relaxed and he came home.
“The ground might just have been a shade too quick for my lad, maybe he was just feeling it and not letting himself down completely, but to finish second, beaten just half a length in a Group One, he’s run a great race.”
Emblazoned’s trainer John Gosden said: “I am very pleased with that. It was not the plan to be so forward, but the horse took himself there. The form is rock solid.”