In one of the largest fields we've seen so far this season, Gabriel's Lad (12-1) broke away in the final furlong to record a comfortable win in the 2014 Victoria Cup race, ridden at the Ascot track.
At The Races confirmed the horse gave its owner, Denis Coakley, his first triumph of the 2014 season:
A total of 25 horses started at Ascot, and after breaking off into two groups, the straight sprint seemed to weigh on joint-favourite Ayaar (9-1), who never really seemed to bother the top finishers.
Glen Moss (16-1) came closest to Gabriel's Lad, who was ridden by George Baker, but finally broke in the last furlong to finish at a distance of more than two lengths. Belgian Bill (25-1) finished third, keeping Ayaar at bay.
|2014 Victoria Cup Order of Finish|
|7||Boots And Spurs|
|8||Don't Call Me|
|9||Dont Bother Me|
|20||Burn The Boats|
|21||Louis The Pious|
The field of 25 was indeed a very large one, perhaps too large for a straight race. As shared by Chris Cook, the draw made for some rather funny coincidences:
The pace was set early by Purcell and Dubawi, with the 10-1 favourite Purcell, in particular, showing heavy signs of deterioration with two furlongs left to race, finishing a disappointing 16th.
Baker kept his horse close to the two leaders from the start and started pushing the pace as soon as Purcell started slowing down, and once Gabriel's Lad took the lead, the race was over.
Speaking to Bloodstock.racingpost.com's Peter Scargill, trainer Coakley said he believed his horse has the potential to be dominant when everything goes its way:
Everything went his way today and he is plenty good enough when they do. He can be a Group horse. He's a nice horse.
He likes Ascot, cut in the ground and a straight track so that will help us decide where to go.
The payout for the 2014 Victoria Cup:
Tote Win £16.60
The Victoria Cup is often seen as a precursor for the races at the historic Ascot Racecourse later in the year, with the Royal Meeting and the Champions' Day standing out as two of the biggest events on the UK's racing calendar.
Judging by trainer Coakley's comments on his horse's liking for the Ascot course, he may have plans for his first-time Victoria Cup winner in those races. And if Gabriel's Lad's dominant display in Saturday's win is any indication, the horse could play a big part at future Ascot races.