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Society Rock wins his second Series Sprint

8 Sep 2012

James Fanshawe's admirable sprinter, who won last year's Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and was a somewhat unlucky fifth in it this year, came home a comfortable winner of this afternoon's Betfred Sprint Cup.

Society Rock, ridden by Kieren Fallon, comes home a comfortable three-quarters of a length winner of the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park, with Irish raider Gordon Lord Byron in second. Image courtesy of

Society Rock proved this afternoon that he can excel in top level sprints away from Ascot by landing Haydock Park’s Betfred Sprint Cup, race six in the QIPCO British Champions Series Sprint category.

Next he will tackle the final Series Sprint at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day, Saturday 20 October, the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes.

The James Fanshawe-trained speed merchant first came to prominence when running second to Starspangledbanner in the 2010 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and he returned to win the race last season.

In this year’s renewal he fluffed the start completely, yet finished to great effect to be beaten just two lengths by Black Caviar, leaving many to pose the question whether, if he had started on terms, might he have bagged a second Diamond Jubilee?

In last year’s Betfred Sprint Cup he was nearly five lengths behind Dream Ahead and Bated Breath, but he turned that form around with Bated Breath in no uncertain terms this afternoon, surging into the lead well inside the final furlong and comfortably holding Irish raider Lord Gordon Byron by three-quarters of a length with Bated Breath a length and a quarter back in third.

The favourite, Ortensia, heroine of last month’s Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, was very disappointing, probably not appreciating the relatively slow early pace.

She failed to pick up and was eased down to finish in 12th place by jockey William Buick who needed a top two finish to go top of the Jockey of the Series table.

Dandy Boy, Genki and French challenger Wizz Kid were never closer than at the finish in fourth, fifth and sixth, while Strong Suit, who led until approaching the final furlong, weakened to finish seventh.

The winning jockey, Kieren Fallon, said: "He travelled really well and I got all the splits down the rail that I needed.

"He’s a little terrier and he tries very hard, which is what you need in this type of race.

"I followed James (Doyle, on Bated Breath) through as I thought he was the horse I had to beat, he gave me a lovely lead through and I was able to pick up on that fast ground.”

Fanshawe said: "It’s been a real team effort, I just felt he was a very underrated horse.

"We’ve been really working on him in the stalls since the July Cup and it’s paid off today.

"I haven’t had a winner at Haydock in about three years, and I thought with the ground a bit quick that we had no chance.

"I’m chuffed for the horse, the owner and the yard.

"I’m looking forward to the Qipco Champions Sprint at Ascot in October.

"This is the second Group One he has won and he is a proper horse.

"If we had got his stalls problem organised a bit earlier, I’m sure his record would have been even better.

"He completely missed the break when he was fifth in this year’s Golden Jubilee. He’s always hovered there in these big sprint races.

"I was very worried about the ground. I think Haydock is like Ascot. It is better to ride than to walk because it has got that cushion underneath.

"We were thinking about pulling him out at one stage but I’m glad we didn’t!"