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The Investec Coronation Cup

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History

The opening middle-distance race in the QIPCO British Champions Series, the Investec Coronation Cup provides the perfect opportunity to see some of the best older horses (four-year-olds and up) contest their first big mile-and-a-half (2,400 metres) race of the season.

Its field regularly includes runners that featured in the Investec Derby or Oaks, run over the same course and distance but for three-year-olds only, in preceding seasons. Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien is clearly a devotee, with a remarkable seven wins in the last nine renewals, including a 2005 victory with Yeats – the only horse ever to win the Ascot Gold Cup four times in a row.

Fame and Glory, the 2009 Irish Derby winner, came home for O’Brien in 2010 and he won the race with St Nicholas Abbey three years in succession in 2011, 2012 and 2013, a record for the race. The remarkable Cirrus des Aigles was triumphant in 2014.

Leading French trainer, Andre Fabre, has also had remarkable success in the race with six victories – his best record in a British race.

This Group 1 event dates back to 1902 when it was established as a commemoration of King Edward VII’s coronation.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 4 wins (1996-7, 1999, 2001)
Current leading trainers: Aidan O’Brien, 7 wins (2005, 2007-8, 2010-13)

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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Postponed powers to Coronation Cup win

Beauty and the beast – that’s Postponed. If there was an equine show for good looks, he would surely win all the prizes. But he’s not just a pretty face, as exhibited by the way he crushed his rivals in the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Cup at Epsom today.

Andrea Atzeni described the five-year-old as “different class” after he had turned the £400,000 QIPCO British Champions Series feature into a procession. And the good news for racing fans is that his owner intends keeping him in training until at least the end of 2017.

The five-year-old was in a different league to his rivals, who included four Group 1 winners, as he cruised to a commanding four and a half-length victory over Found.

Supporters of the 8-11 favourite didn’t have an anxious moment as Postponed was never out of second gear. In a contest run at a stop-start gallop, he swept past his pacemaker Roseburg two furlongs from home and asserted in a matter of strides without his jockey having to get serious.

“He’s different class, a machine,” Atzeni said. “He’s just a proper racehorse. You can put him anywhere in the race, he travels good, he goes on any ground, he quickens up and I am very, very lucky.

“I am glad that Sheikh Mohammed Obaid [the owner] is here – he’s the main man. It’s good to do it for him and Roger [Varian, the trainer]. He’s a typical Dubawi [sire of Postponed] and he’s improving with age.”

Sheikh Obaid was in triumphant mood and touched on Postponed’s move to Varian from the yard of Luca Cumani last autumn.

He said: “I am really proud of this horse and, since he has joined Roger, I think he has improved. Whatever people say, I think all the benefit is from Roger and his staff, nobody else.

“I have already decided that, if Postponed is sound, then he will go back to the Sheema Classic next year.”

Varian will be delighted to hear that because he says one of the highest-rated horses in the world, who will next seek back-to-back wins in the QIPCO-sponsored King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, is flawless.

He said: “He’s just a pleasure. He really is the ultimate and he’s shown his adaptability at a track like Epsom – the conditions couldn’t be more different from Meydan [where he won the Group One Dubai Sheema Classic in March], so he’s a versatile, talented horse and we are all very lucky.

Asked what set him part to others, he said: “His ability – you can’t install that. All his other attributes come a close second. He’s got the most level temperament; that’s a real quality.

“I should have thought he’s got the most level heartbeat of any horse at the start; he takes any situation in his stride. He can operate off a fast pace or a slow pace and in different ground conditions. He really is the ultimate.”

Simple Verse finished fourth but the stop-start gallop did not help last year’s St Leger winner.  “They only raced for seven furlongs,” Ralph Beckett, the trainer, lamented. “The early pace wasn’t quick enough, which meant he [Oisin Murphy] was asking her to go quicker than she was able when it mattered.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

If it weren’t for the 12th Earl of Derby, perhaps Epsom would be best known for natural mineral water, London commuters or bath salts. That or the fact that Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page came from the Surrey town. As it is, Epsom stands for horseracing, and the Investec Oaks and the Investec Derby in particular.

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The earl invited his friends to race their fillies on the Epsom Downs in 1779 and thus The Oaks was born. A year later and a second race, for colts and fillies, was introduced. A toss of a coin and it became known as The Derby (if the earl’s friend, Sir Charles Bunbury, had called right then flat racing’s Blue Riband event might today be called ‘The Epsom Bunbury’).

The racecourse has witnessed some of the sport’s most glorious moments, with Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Shergar among the horses to enter the winner’s enclosure. It has also seen tragedy, however, when suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of King George V’s horse Anmer in 1913 and died of a fractured skull.

Getting there

Epsom Downs
KT18 5LQ

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