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Penitent lifts the Nayef Joel Stakes

28 Sep 2012

David O'Meara saddled his first QIPCO British Champions Series winner when Penitent held off Side Glance to win the Nayef Joel Stakes on Newmarket's Rowley Mile racecourse this afternoon.

Penitent (left) wins the Nayef Joel Stakes under a fine ride from Danny Tudhope. Premio Loco (right) finished third. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Penitent recaptured his early season form this afternoon when landing the last race in the QIPCO British Champions Series before the grand finale on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 20 October.

The Nayef Joel Stakes, race six in the Mile category, had attracted a highly competitive field of 11 runners and the David O’Meara-trained six-year-old needed to return to the level he attained back in April when landing the Doncaster Mile and the Bet365 Mile at Sandown Park.

Always in front on the far side while favourite Most Improved had the overall lead in the centre of the track, jockey Daniel Tudhope took it up on Penitent before the final furlong and stayed on really well to hold the late challenge of Side Glance by a neck.

Premio Loco was third and Stipulate fourth, while the St James’s Palace Stakes winner, Most Improved, dropped away disappointingly to finish seventh.

The winning trainer said: "He’s a grand horse. We thought he should’ve been third at Doncaster on fast ground over seven furlongs.

"He was hampered against the rail and his run in France didn’t suit him at all.

"He ran flat in Ireland but he was showing enough for us to think he retained plenty of ability and the fact he can do it at either end of the season is great"

The jubilant jockey said: "He’s a very good horse on his day. You could probably put a line through a couple of his runs but he’s not a horse to forget, he’s very good.

"The plan was to stay on the far rail and if I got beat I got beat.

"I wasn’t always ahead as they went such a strong gallop but he’s more than capable and he’s proved that today.

"He usually likes it soft but good horses go on any ground and he’s proved that."

The runner-up, Side Glance, will now head to QIPCO British Champions Day for Europe’s richest mile race, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO.

His trainer, Andrew Balding, said: "That was very pleasing and he’s held his form well.

"I hope that will put him right for the QEII and that’s where we go now. He loves the mile at Ascot."