The Wizard Of Eye Storms Home in Lavazza & Ascot 10 Year Anniversary Victoria Cup

May 12, 2024

The Wizard Of Eye captures the Victoria Cup (JTW Equine Images)

By JTW Equine Images

It was a case of a change of scenery bringing a change in fortune, as The Wizard Of Eye stormed home late on to give his new trainer Charlie Fellowes success in the big race of the day at Ascot on Saturday, the Lavazza & Ascot 10 Year Anniversary Victoria Cup.

Ridden by Tom Marquand and owned by R. Humphrey, O. Humphrey and A. Favell, the win was described as “very satisfying” by Charlie, who had been given the horse from the care of trainer J. S. Moore, although for the majority of the race a win looked unlikely. The winner broke late and was near the back, as Arabian Storm broke from stall 21 to lead the field as they all came stand side. King’s Vanity joined Arabian Storm and almost in the blink of an eye the field were at the 2 furlong marker in the 7 furlong contest. Ropey Guest was travelling smoothly and Ramazan, who had been last to enter the stalls, looked the likely winner as the field entered the final furlong. However, both Bless Him and The Wizard Of Eye were closing fast, and it was Charlie Fellowes’s charge that got there in the nick of time to claim the feature race of the day.

Charlie spoke to ITV Racing’s Sally Ann Grassick, saying about the winner “He’s a really talented horse and that will have done his confidence the world of good to get his head in front again. Maybe seven is his trip, he switched off beautifully there and came through, Tom gave him a peach of a ride. He literally did what I told him to do.”

“When a horse gets moved to you with a big reputation and some very good form with Stan you don’t want to muck it up and so it’s nice to have owners’ confidence in you rewarded. Hopefully he can kick on from here.”

“It’s very satisfying (to win the Victoria Cup).”

Kotari (JTW Equine Images)

The first race, the Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% Handicap Stakes, was won by 16/5 favourite Kotari, therefore giving favourite backers an early win in the Berkshire sun. The 5-year-old son of Nathaniel was quite well-behind in the early stages, as Palace Boy led the field from the off with Graham quite keen approaching Swinley Bottom. The leader was 2 lengths clear leading out from Swinley Bottom, but the field closed up as they began to run uphill. Great Bedwyn was bringing up the rear, as he had been from the beginning, and approaching the home turn Obsidian Knight began to make a challenge for the lead. As the field began to turn for home, the only notable moment was that Youthful King dropped out of contention, something clearly amiss with the horse, and we wish them and connections all the best.

In the home straight, the field was spread right across the track, however it was Kotari and Jason Watson finishing best of all up the rail, to win for trainers Gary and Josh Moore, and owners Heart of the South Racing 134. The unlucky loser in the race was Great Bedwyn, who flew home from the back of the field, only being denied by ¾ of a length. Graham was third, and King of the Plains finished in fourth for any punter lucky to have had four places with their bookmaker in a 14 runner race.

Bellarchi (JTW Equine Images)

Favourite backers were not so lucky in the Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% British EBF Fillies’ Handicap Stakes, as the clear favourite Zouzanna disappointed in the Berkshire sunshine. Instead it was Bellarchi and 5lb claimer Sean Dylan Bowen who timed their run to perfection and land the spoils, for trainer Grant Tuer and owner Nick Bradley Racing 19. The field was convened down the centre of the track, as Flying Finn and My Margie, both running out of the handicap but also seeking hat-tricks, led them along. The eventual winner was keen early on, searching for the best possible tow into the race. As the sprint for home happened, Flying Finn faded and so did Zouzanna, who found nothing for pressure. Meanwhile, action erupted on the far side, as first Rose Prick came to challenge last year’s winner Farhh To Shy, but then Bellarchi came flying on the scene to collar the both of them.

Xanthe (JTW Equine Images)

Following on from the Victoria Cup, Xanthe and Pat Dobbs took the Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% Novice Stakes for trainer Richard Hannon and owner Mrs J. Wood. In a race where not much happened and conversely not much got into it, Reposado and David Egan led the field from Monomyth and Kevin Stott. Hallasan, the 4/7f was very keen early on, and the eventual winner Xanthe was well-placed throughout. As Monomyth began to fade close home, Hallasan tried to challenge Reposado and the daughter of Earthlight, but the birds had flown, and despite the clear drift to the right, Xanthe held off the repeated challenge to win on debut.

Too Bossy For Us (JTW Equine Images)

The Carey Group Handicap Stakes went the way of Too Bossy For Us and jockey Benoit de la Sayette, who stormed to victory in the fifth race of the day as the favourite Midair disappointed for favourite backers. The 11/2 Golden Horn colt found themselves briefly 4 wide into Swinley Bottom, however City Burglar and Silvestre De Sousa were widest of all, 5 wide into the turn. Breaking away Global Skies was slow, and The Ferret took them along as Midair was second-last for favourite backers. Entering the turn after not much change up the hill, Magico looked to mount a challenge on the rail, but Too Bossy For Us had got first run and mounted their challenge on the outside. City Burglar rallied under pressure, and Midair left favourite backers very disappointed, as despite William Buick screaming for racing room, the door was shut, and he lost valuable ground, instead rallying for a modest fourth. Too Bossy For Us won it for trainer Kevin Philippart de Foy and owners Quantum Leap Racing XII & Partner.

Warda Jamila (JTW Equine Images)

Favourite backers got back to winning ways in the Mariner Systems Fillies Handicap Stakes, when Warda Jamila and Oisin Murphy won for trainer Andrew Balding and owner Mr Sultan Ali. Avon Light had the blindfold pulled off as the stalls opened, and Meleri was trapped wide before moving across to lead at Swinley Bottom, where Liv My Life bringing up the rear. As the field climbed the rise towards the stands Prenup was second alongside Unreal Connection, as Turn Up The Heat began to be niggled along approaching the turn. At this point, Meleri had skipped a couple of lengths clear, however Warda Jamila and Oisin Murphy stormed down the outside under a sustained drive, and never looked like stopping. The eyecatcher was Moogie and Ross Coakley, who ran a blinder to be second at large odds of 40/1, the addition of a hood proving dividends to get some prize money for connections.

Northcliff (JTW Equine Images)

It was a very typical Ascot sprint handicap cavalry charge in the finale, Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% Blue Ribbon Handicap Stakes, and it went the way of Northcliff and 7lb claimer Sorcha Woods. In a race where, as stated, it resembled more of a cavalry charge than an actual horse race, Beelzebub left the stalls with the blindfold still attached, and lost valuable ground having the tricky blindfold removed. The field were split in two pairs, and as they approached the 2 furlong marker, it was anyone’s race. Champagne Sarah and Kevin Stott looked to try and win from the middle, but Northcliff and Sorcha came with a great rattle at the end, forging clear ahead of Holkham Bay, the aforementioned Champagne Sarah and Dark Side Thunder, who rounded out the first four placings in the finale.

Contributing Authors

JTW Equine Images, Past the Wire

JTW Equine Images

JTW Equine Images are twin brothers Jack and Tom Williams from Wrexham, Wales, United Kingdom. Jack and Tom have always been into horse racing, from...

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@jonathanstettin eaaaaaaaaaazy winner.

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