Coolmore's purported $10 million investment in dual Group 1 winner Starspangledbanner paid off handsomely on Saturday at Ascot when the three-yearold emulated his sire Choisir in scoring a dominant win in the Golden Jubilee Stakes (Gr 1), writes Darryl Sherer. Away sharply, Starspangledbanner was quickly on the lead and he galloped all the way to the line on ground officially described as goodto- firm, to score comfortably.
In winning, he earned £255,000 ($433,000) and joins Scenic Blast, Haradasun, Miss Andretti and Takeover Target as Australian winners at the Royal meeting since Choisir blazed the trail with his memorable double in 2003.
Fifth in the Duke Of York Stakes (Gr 3) on his English debut in May, Starspangledbanner was delivered on course in superlative condition by Aidan O'Brien and the burly chestnut completely dominated his rivals with a display of sustained power sprinting.
Always travelling strongly, Starspangledbanner accelerated away with two furlongs to go and was untroubled in the run to the line to defeat Society Rock (Rock Of Gibraltar) by one and three-quarter lengths with the American visitor Kinsale King (Yankee Victor) a very respectable third.
Alverta (Flying Spur) was far from disgraced in 14th, beaten around six lengths, with Hong Kong visitor Joy And Fun (Cullen) just in front of her in 13th place. Australian-bred War Artist (Orpen) finished sixth, beaten just over three-lengths in his first start for Alain de Royer Dupre.
Happy Zero (Danzero) and Fravashi (Falbrav) never threatened, finishing 22nd and 23rd respectively in the 24-runner field. Murtagh, who was riding his third winner of the week, said on BBC, "Aidan was so confident coming into this race. He said just jump him out and use his stride and don't be anxious, go a furlong out and it worked out perfect.
"I sensed them coming two out and then he just stretched out and left them. He's very similar to Choisir. They're both strong and tough. He was incredible, he must have improved 20 lengths for York."
"Unbelievable," O'Brien continued. "Before York he was only doing half speeds but his half speeds were amazing. His work has been incredible. His last furlong in his last work was under nine and a half seconds which we have never seen before. He's the fastest horse we have had and the July Cup is the plan."
He needed the run at York, but since then the fractions he's been doing have been so incredible. His reflexes are so fast. Colm O'Donoghue rides him every day and he would go by me when
I'm sitting in my Jeep in the morning and I've never seen anything so fast."
"We've never had anything like this fellow. He works like a quarter horse. You saw today what we see at home - and I don't want to be accused of hyping him."
"When a horse can do that kind of work, we've never seen it, and he is without doubt the fastest sprinter I have trained. To go that fast, furlong by furlong, you don't record those kinds of time - we have never recorded them, anyway."
A $120,000 graduate of the 2008 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, Starspangledbanner was bred and sold by Tony Santic's Makybe operation and was purchased by Troy Corstens under his Newmarc Bloodstock banner. Trained by father Leon to land the Caulfield Guineas and Oakleigh Plate at Group 1 level this season, Starspangledbanner has now won seven of his 14 starts and paced in a further three.
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