US NAVY FLAG
London – Trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore pulled off an stunning UK-France Group 1 double on Saturday.
First, US Navy Flag led from start to finish to record a flawless victory in the July Cup at Newmarket. Then, hours later, after the triumphant jockey and trainer had flown to Paris, Kew Gardens capped the red-letter day by winning the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp.
US Navy Flag, aggressively campaigned as a juvenile with wins in the Group 1 Middle Park and Dewhurst Stakes, was weak in the market on his first start of the season over 1200m and was sent off at 8-1 under Moore.
Champion juvenile last season, US Navy Flag was a disappointing ninth of 10 in the St James’s Palace Stakes over 1600m at Royal Ascot last time after making the pace.
However, the step back to 1200m for this contest – one of the world’s most prestigious sprints – worked a treat as he stuck on resolutely to win by 1.75 lengths.
He was O’Brien’s fourth winner in the race, following the victories of Stravinsky (1999), Mozart (2001) and Starspangledbanner (2010).
Brando, who spread a plate at the start, causing the race to be delayed, was slow away on the near side but came home strongest to get second at 12-1. Fleet Review – who also represented the O’Brien axis – was third at 50-1.
Bookmaker Paddy Power reacted by cutting US Navy Flag to 6-1 (from 14s) for the Sprint Cup at Haydock.
Kew Gardens is set to run in the King George after his victory in Paris.
Successful over 2800m in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, Kew Gardens boosted his claims for further middle-distance honours with a solid success returned to 2400m.
After being held up in the rear of the field by Ryan Moore in the early stages, Kew Gardens had to knuckle down when challenged strongly by Neufbosc in the final 200m.
Sky Bet cut the winner from 25/1 to 10/1 for the King George and 4/1 from 9/2 for the Ladbrokes St Leger.
O’Brien told At The Races: “We’re delighted with him, the plan was to come here and then maybe if everything went well we may have a look at the King George.
“We wanted to come back to a mile and a half (2400m) before we went to the King George.
“You couldn’t be happier with him. Ryan took his time on him and rode him for pace. He quickened up well and was brave at the end.
“He’s a very progressive colt, he’s progressed lovely since his last run.” – racingpost.com