Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Elusive Victory for Leading Lady

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Elusive Victory for Leading Lady

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Peacock

IT TOOK a while to be finalised after a fair bit of argument both on and off the course, but Elusive Kate came out ahead in the female all-aged clash for the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.

William Buick's mount ended the stellar winning run of the top three-year-old filly Sky Lantern (4-7 favourite) by a neck, but secondplaced jockey Richard Hughes was not happy Elusive Kate had hung across him and believed his filly had been struck in the face by his rival's whip.

Elusive Kate (3-1), a Group One winner before in last year's Prix Rothschild, made all the running in a tactical four-runner affair but has shown a tendency to drift in the past, with Buick handed a three-day careless riding ban (July 26, 28 and 29) despite having his stick in the correct hand.

Hughes sat just behind Buick aboard his winner of both the 1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes and attempted to cover every move Buick made as Elusive Kate began to increase the pace.

Once Sky Lantern joined the leader entering the last of the eight furlongs, she was never quite able to assert authority but was carried a considerable way across the track.

After a stewards' inquiry, where Hughes made a candid appeal in the televised hearing, the placings remained unaltered and the officials were satisfied that the striking of Sky Lantern by Buick's whip was accidental.

Winning trainer John Gosden said: "She's a filly that often drifts left, she did it when she won as a two-year-old and she did the same thing in the Marcel Boussac at Longchamp, she drifted. William left the gate with the stick in his left hand and it never moved from his left hand.

"They went to go to the middle, she went to the rail and they're sitting on her. When horses come under pressure on fast ground it's going to happen, but William always had his stick in the correct hand. …

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