Kirby and Profitable combine to win the King’s Stand Stakes. Photograph: Racingfotos.com
Profitable confirmed he was the most improved sprinter in training when landing the King’s Stand Stakes over five furlongs at Royal Ascot today – the first race in the sprint category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Profitable beat Cotai Glory by a neck, with Goken a length further back in third. The 6/4 favourite, Mecca’s Angel, ran flat and beat only one home in the 17-runner contest.
Winning trainer Clive Cox said: “I bought him as a yearling and he’s been progressive all the way. He was so quick to start with that he was hitting the front too soon in races as a youngster and he didn’t know what life was all about. He was a victim of his own ability, but when he got the hang of it and we got the hang of him it’s been an upward curve.
“We gave him some fancy entries last year because we believed in him, but it didn’t quite work out, but physically he’s a man now.
“He’s very special and I’m delighted for [owner] Alan Spence, for [jockey] Adam Kirby and for the horse’s new connections [breeding rights to Profitable were last week sold to Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud]. Adam had a late night last night as his wife was expecting a baby [now born] and to win a Group One so soon after makes it a great day.
“Any horse that wins a Group One is special and I hope we can enjoy a little more success before he goes off to stud. We didn’t enter him for the July Cup because I felt he was best over five furlongs, but the way he has toughed it out today on easy ground, we may need a rethink. We’ll talk with Alan and see what’s what.”
Kirby was gaining the third Group One success of his career on on the 4-1 winner. It was a momentous day for the jockey following the birth of a baby boy earlier in the afternoon.
Profitable was held up early on by Kirby and was always travelling well. Clive Cox’s charge took up the lead inside the final furlong and despite the late challenge of Cotai Glory, the four-year-old colt held on gamely.
The jockey said: “Profitable was a boy last year. Now he has filled out, he is big and strong. His neck and shoulders have developed, he’s got a big back and developed into a top-class sprinter.
“He has showed this year just how good he is. He’s a top-class horse who has speed to burn.
“If I let him off the rein, he would lead by four or five lengths but he gets a bit lonely out in front which is why I try and play it late on him. He got there and half pulled up today but he still managed to hang on; he’s very good. He is the fastest horse I’ve ridden and is electric under you.
“Profitable is the best five-furlong horse I have ever ridden. He is very, very good and his cruising speed is phenomenal. I am delighted for Alan Spence, Clive and everyone involved.”
Kirby was quick to heap praise on the son of Invincible Spirit by highlighting his latest victory in the Temple Stakes at Haydock. He commented: “They all said that Mecca’s Angel got tired at Haydock in the Temple Stakes last time but as far as I was concerned she got beat by a classy sprinter so she was very unlucky to bump into Profitable. He was all over her at Haydock.”
Kirby also paid tribute to his wife Megan who had given birth to their baby boy earlier today. He remarked: “Fair play to Megan [wife] who told me to leave and go to work. She was in a lot of discomfort so it was hard to leave.”
The jockey added: “She coped all on her own so very well done to her. That’s a hard thing to do but it is obviously a great day all round and I will be going back after the last.”
Charlie Hills was almost speechless after Cotai Glory put in his best performance of the season to finish second, a neck behind the winner Profitable, in the King’s Stand Stakes at odds of 33-1.
The delighted trainer said: “When the rain came I thought we had no chance. But soft ground at Ascot is a little bit different to anywhere else and they seem to be getting through it today.
Mongolian Saturday faded to finish ninth after running prominently.