ROYAL ENJOYS HAPPY ENDING Golden Gosden finishes on high
ROYAL LINE capped John Gosden’s remarkable season with a record sixth victory for the trainer in Doncaster’s November Handicap.
Gosden’s Group One exploits home and abroad with superstars such as Enable and Cracksman have been a high-profile theme throughout the summer.
It was therefore an appropriate culmination in the Marathonbetsponsored November Handicap, on the final day of the turf campaign that Royal Line put behind him his eclipse as favourite 12 months ago.
He scooted clear at 9-1 this time under Robert Havlin to beat Hughie Morrison’s 33-1 shot Not So Sleepy and Ian Williams’ Reshoun by one and a half lengths and a head. Birds Of Prey was a neck further back in fourth, ridden by Megan Nicholls for her father, Paul.
Gosden, who had failed to add to his record-equalling fifth November Handicap success for the past six years, took the family tally to nine – adding to his father Towser’s three winners.
He has also put himself one ahead of Sam Hall, whose five wins came in the days when the race was known as the Manchester November Handicap
DONJUAN TRIUMPHANT ★
delivered a poignant victory at Doncaster as Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s colours returned to the winner’s enclosure for the first time since the Leicester City owner’s death.
Trainer Andrew Balding
(right) was clearly emotional when he was reflecting on the horse’s success in the Listed Marathonbet Official Global Partner Of Manchester City Wentworth Stakes. and run on the other side of the Pennines.
From the moment Havlin and Royal Line headed Birds Of Prey two furlongs out, it was clear the four-year-old was a class apart in this traditionally competitive mile-and-a-half event.
In Gosden’s absence, Havlin was happy to pay tribute to the master trainer’s skills.
He said: “We’ve seen how he can turn horses out after a long lay-off – and then we saw Enable again at the Breeders’ Cup.”
Royal Line had run only twice since finishing seventh at his first attempt in this race.
“He was rated 96 but he was a three-year-old and this race doesn’t have good stats for threeyear-olds,” added Havlin.
“We did fancy him then but he was a lot busier last year.
“He’s won it off 105 today and I hope we keep him for next year.”
Havlin had plenty in hand, even though Royal Line was giving up to a stone to all but two of his rivals.
He added: “I thought jumps slow, I’ll slot in.
“I had to keep letting him go forward, and eventually found a spot one off the fence.” if he
The five-year-old, hugely ★
consistent at up to Group One level but without a previous win this season, saved the best until last on this final day of the
Flat turf calendar as he stayed on best under James Doyle.
2-1 favourite was only the third domestic runner for King Power Racing since his owner’s death two weeks ago in the helicopter crash which claimed his life and those of four others. King Power’s ★
Hero Hero was second for Balding on his debut in a maiden race an hour earlier – but Donjuan Triumphant made no mistake, beating Hey Jonesy by a head in the six-furlong event.
NOVEMBER CHAMPION: Royal Line
The trainer was solemn as ★
he considered the circumstances surrounding victory.
“It puts horse racing and ★
the triviality of other things in life into perspective,” he said.
“It was a huge loss not just ★
to his family and families of other people involved in the crash but to the whole King Power family. He was a tremendous guy, as has been well recorded and reported, and will be sadly missed.”