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Elusive Kate triumphs in controversial Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes

12 Jul 2013

Elusive Kate made all the running to win the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes, but she drifted across the track, carrying the hot favourite, Sky Lantern, with her and had to survive a stewards' enquiry to keep the prize.

Elusive Kate (left) holds the grey Sky Lantern in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes. Image courtesy of

Hot favourite Sky Lantern was beaten a neck in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes, giving best to her elder, Elusive Kate, in a slowly run race.

The John Gosden-trained winner went one better than she did in this race last year when she finished second to Giofra.

After making all the running, Elusive Kate drifted left inside the final furlong, carrying the challenging Sky Lantern with her.

Sky Lantern was struck twice in the face by the whip of William Buick, Elusive Kate’s jockey, but there was no contact between the two fillies.

At the stewards’ enquiry after the race, Richard Hughes, rider of Sky Lantern, made it clear that he was sure this had cost him the race, but the stewards allowed the result to stand.

It would have been difficult for the stewards to be sure that if Elusive Kate had kept a straight path, Sky Lantern would definitely had won.

Giofra, winner of this race last year but who would not have appreciated the fast ground, and Purr Along never landed a blow in third and fourth.

Buick, said: "She hung to her left and I ended up taking Richard with me, but she beat her (Sky Lantern) fair and square and she’s a very good filly.

"I wish she hadn’t hung left, as she would have shown it was fair and square, but she’s done it all her life.

"She costs herself a lot of ground by doing it, but she keeps winning and she’s never run a bad race.

"She’s an absolute joy for a jockey to ride.

"I’m very pleased for her and the team at home, who’ve done a very good job."

Gosden said: "She always drifts left, this filly. When she won the Prix Marcel Boussac she drifted – she always drifts left and that’s probably why she likes Deauville.

"They’ve drifted across the track together but there’s been no contact.

"She’s a tough filly. She’s a very talented filly and for a first foal she’s very powerful – she’s as wide as she is tall. We’re thrilled with her attitude."

Richard Hannon Jnr, Sky Lantern’s assistant trainer, said: “She’s run a good race and that’s racing.

"She’s taken on the older generation and she wasn’t as impressive as she was at Ascot. We’ll give her break now and she’ll be back.”

Asked if he felt the stewards had got the decision right, he said: “The stewards’ decision is not going to change – that’s life and we’ll have to come back and worry about winning the next time.

“We are going to look at the Matron Stakes [at Leopardstown] and the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare over a mile and a quarter.”

CLICK HERE to re-watch the race.