Party time for Hornby as his Group 1 win double eases summer pain
ALCOHOL FREE made it a Group 1 binge for jockey Rob Hornby when springing back to form in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
A summer of frustration for the 27-year-old – the pain of losing the ride on Derby third, and Irish Derby victor, Westover was heightened by the death of Group 1 winner Scope on the gallops last month – took a turn for the better.
The Ralph Beckettsaddled Prosperous Voyage floored 1-7 favourite Inspiral in Friday’s top-tier Falmouth Stakes.
Hornby then doubled up – and captured the third Group 1 of his career – as the Andrew Baldingtrained filly pounced on the climb to the winning post to beat pacemaking Naval Crown by a length and a half, with Australian raider Artorius in third.
“To have two Group 1 rides in two days is fantastic,” beamed Hornby, wearing the colours of Balding’s long-time supporter Jeff Smith.
“To go and win two Group 1s in two days is crazy. It certainly won’t be an alcohol-free weekend!
“It’s a brilliant feeling to ride a Group 1 winner for Andrew Balding, who has been my mentor since I was very young. I went down to Park House Stables [in Kingsclere] when I was 16. It’s nearly 11 years now that association has been going and he’s just been fantastic to me from day one.
“You don’t feel like it’s a job – I was living the dream and getting paid for it.”
Successful in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes as a two-year-old – she landed the one-mile Coronation Stakes and Sussex Stakes at the highest level at three – Alcohol Free met with defeat in her first three attempts this season, including behind Naval
Crown in Royal Ascot’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs last time out.
“You think, ‘Perhaps she’s not quite where she was last year,’” admitted Hornby, “but she has
shown everybody that she has still got all her
ability. I just had to let her organise herself, but from halfway there I really felt her kick in – real fire in her belly today – and she has blown them all away.”
Focusing on a repeat success in the Sussex
Stakes, back at a mile at Glorious Goodwood on July 27, Balding – on saddling duty at Ascot – said: “We’re over the moon.
“She’s won four Group 1s now – one at two, two at three and one at four – which is a very unusual feat, and they’re not Mickey Mouse Group 1 races, either. I’m delighted for the whole team, Rob and Jeff as well.”
Isaac Shelby battled to a head margin over 5-4 favourite Victory Dance in the Group 2 bet365 Superlative Stakes to earn a 25-1 quote for next year’s 2000 Guineas.
What a feeling. To
go and win two Group 1s in two
days is crazy