Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

O'Brien's Hoping for More Gold Cup Fame and Glory; Trainer Enjoyed Great Success with the Brilliant Stayer Yeats and Is Now Bidding to Land Royal Ascot's Most Prestigious Race Once Again. by Michael Curran

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

O'Brien's Hoping for More Gold Cup Fame and Glory; Trainer Enjoyed Great Success with the Brilliant Stayer Yeats and Is Now Bidding to Land Royal Ascot's Most Prestigious Race Once Again. by Michael Curran

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Curran

[bar] HORTLY before the opening race at Royal Ascot yesterday the Queen unveiled a magnificent bronze of Yeats, the only horse to win the Ascot Gold Cup four times, between 2006 and 2009.

Yeats was a top-class middle-distance horse who was an instant success when switched by his trainer to extreme distances.

As he is now busy at stud, Aidan O'Brien is hoping to repeat the trick with Fame And Glory, who is another exceptional campaigner already successful in a string of Group races.

The five-year-old spent some of his early days coming up short against the mighty Sea The Stars but now he is being asked to go the extra mile.

With last year's winner Rite Of Passage an unfortunate absentee, Fame And Glory is favourite with all the bookmaking firms at around 2-1. That is short enough for a horse that has never raced beyond a mile and three-quarters.

The unique challenge posed by the Ascot Gold Cup takes most of its participants into unknown territory. Some will stay all day at their own pace while others will find their legs turning to jelly as they are asked to extend into Ascot's short straight at the end of two-and-a-half miles.

Though Fame And Glory won over 14 furlongs in the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown late last month, he wasn't entirely convincing. Afterwards, O'Brien expressed the problem facing punters in the Gold Cup tomorrow.

He said: "When a horse wins over a mile-and-six furlongs you are always inclined to think that he will have a good chance of getting two miles but the extra half-mile is another matter and it is always an unknown until you try.

"I liked the way Fame And Glory showed he is a courageous horse. He had to fight and, as far as I'm concerned, he wasn't stopping."

If his jockey, Jamie Spencer, has a weakness it is his habit of dropping his mounts out at the rear of the field before delivering them for a late, late challenge. Sometimes he overdoes the waiting tactics. Yet Spencer can be forgiven if he tries to harness Fame And Glory's energy until the very last second tomorrow, so it could be a white knuckle ride for Spencer and punters alike. …

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