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Sheikhzayedroad goes the Distance for happy Simcock

16 Oct 2016

Seven-year-old proves too strong for old rival Quest For More in staying showpiece

Sheikhzayedroad poses for a picture after his win in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot. Picture:

Trainer David Simcock was delighted with the performance of Sheikhzayedroad after the popular seven-year-old had run out the half-length winner of the Group Two QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot.

The 11/1 shot, who was successful in the Group Two Doncaster Cup last time out, was always travelling kindly for jockey Martin Harley and got the better of 9/1 runner-up Quest For More once again as the pair battled hard in the final furlong, with 6/1 shot Simple Verse a further half-length back in third.

“I don’t normally get excited but I did today,” Simcock said. “It’s an important day, a wonderful day’s racing and, with old pros like this – he really is a diamond – it really makes it worthwhile.

“I’m very proud of the horse. He’s been with us a long time – he’s seven years old now – and he’s a pleasure to train as he trains himself. It’s as simple as that.

“It was a perfect scenario today. We thought if we could just park him behind the leaders it would work and he had a lovely tow into the race.

“He’s genuine and he enjoys racing. As he’s got a little bit older, he’s got a little bit slower but he’s got a massive appetite and that little bit of speed he’s got over this trip helps.”

Winning Harley said: “When we went past the winning post first time we were going steady, and it didn’t get much quicker going down the hill, so it was always going to turn into a bit of a sprint. But my lad has won over a shorter distance and he picked up real good.”

Jockey Martin Harley was enjoying his first winner on QIPCO British Champions Day and said: “I thought he’d be in the money – I was very worried about the Aidan O’Brien horse [Order Of St George, the odds-on favourite] but he didn’t turn up today, or maybe he did and maybe mine was just better. Full credit to the horse. He’s very tough and it was a great training performance.”

Order Of St George kept on to finish fourth, but never looked like winning. The race might have come a bit quick for the brilliant Gold Cup winner, who had finished third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe just 13 days earlier.