Watch how Caravaggio preserved his unbeaten record with a brilliant success in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot on Friday and listen to what Ryan Moore and Aidan O'Brien had to say afterwards.
“There is quite a headwind out there and it has been hard to make up ground today It was a very good performance and these horses have a serious amount of talent. Caravaggio was seriously good and it is the first time he has ever been asked a serious question.”
The July Cup will be next on the menu, however, and pending how Limato runs in the Diamond Jubilee on Saturday, Caravaggio is currently no bigger than Skybet’s 13-8, while Bet365 are so scared they go as short as Evens.
Caravaggio’s previous five wins had been characterised by searing pace against the clock, while Blue Point still holds the track record and Harry Angel set the standard at Haydock last time.
It was his second Royal Ascot victory after his Coventry Stakes success 12 months ago and the muscular, dark, brute of a son of Scat Daddy became the fourth winner of the week for his late sire.
It was Magnier who pointed out how timely Caravaggio’s soaring career is and the potential Australian adventure could well be with one eye on the colt’s future stallion career.
"Any winner here always means something,” he said of the 5-6 favourite.
"We were unlucky to lose Scat Daddy a few years ago so hopefully this fellow will take his place.
"He's a better racehorse than Scat Daddy and it is a cross that we need, it's fortunate for us he's come at the right time."
Aidan O’Brien admitted afterwards he was nervous for the entire six furlongs of the race, and Moore had to have his wits about him before the gates opened when his mount showed his intent by rearing in the stalls.
As soon as the gates opened Harry Angel went hell for leather under Kirby, and was harried on his inside by Coolmore’s Intelligence Cross.
Moore switched off Caravaggio and although it took a beat to stoke the fires coming in to the final two furlongs, Caravaggio was just too good and cruised past Harry Angel to win by three quarters of a length.
“I was very nervous today and he was just ready to come through,” said O’Brien, who blew out his cheeks at amazement as his charge crossed the line.
“He is very quick. I would be happier at two furlongs than six! He is the fastest horse we have ever had, without doubt."
Charlie Appleby, the trainer of Blue Point, paid tribute to Caravaggio, pointing out that the winner has no chinks in his armour, as did Clive Cox. Adam Kirby, the rider of Harry Angel, was the only one from the beaten connections who fancied taking on Caravaggio again.
“He wore his heart on his sleeve,” he said. “I still have a lot of faith in him. We have bumped in to a good one but bring on the re-match.”
Perhaps the greatest endorsement of Caravaggio’s talents, however, came from David Flores, the jockey of US challenger Bound For Nowhere, who finished fourth.
Flores has won three times at the Breeders’ Cup and a string of America’s top races in addition to riding all over the world. The 49-year-old Mexican had not seen anything like it.
“It was a very fast pace and I wanted to track the leaders,” he said. “It got a bit tight in the last three furlongs and by the time I got through he was gone. He is a very strong horse and he deserves a shot in all of those big races. Something like the Breeders’ Cup, he is that sort of horse.”
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