Running Lion Leads Home Team Gosden Exacta in the Duke Of Cambridge

Running Lion | Megan Coggin


David Howden's 4-year-old filly Running Lion (GB) (Roaring Lion–Bella Nouf {GB}, by Dansili {GB}), last of eight in Epsom's G3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes earlier this month, halted a six-race losing streak with a dominant performance in Wednesday's G2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Last term's Listed Pretty Polly Stakes victrix kept wide of the peloton initially and drifted inwards to assume control after the opening exchanges. Holding sway thereafter, she was nudged along in early straight to poach a decisive buffer approaching the final furlong and kept on strongly under a drive to withstand the late challenge of stablemate and 'TDN Rising Star' Laurel (GB) (Kingman {GB}) by two lengths. William Haggas trainee Doom (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) fared best of the remainder and was another two lengths back in third. Running Lion's triumph provided the Gosden stable with a record fifth renewal of this 10-furlong contest.

“I knew Running Lion had it in her and what a way to do it,” said owner-breeder David Howden. “She gets her head down, she changes her legs and she digs in. Her sire Roaring Lion ran the same way, with his head down, and it's wonderful to see. I bred her, she's by Roaring Lion who tragically died, so it just couldn't be more special. For Oisin [Murphy] to do it on Roaring Lion's filly is as good as it gets.”

Reflecting on a change of fortune for the winner, John Gosden commented, “Running Lion has been unlucky. She moved a bit soon in the [May 5 G2] Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket and then got boxed in [in the June 1 Princess Elizabeth] at Epsom. Oisin [Murphy] was drawn 11, got to the front and controlled it. It was perfect, because we got in a muddle in the last two races. The second filly Laurel has run a brilliant race. She has been off for 13 months so she's run an absolute blinder from the inside and Ryan [Moore] is very happy with her.”

Murphy added, “Running Lion is by the horse that put me on the map, Roaring Lion, and she's owned by David Howden, who sponsors Ascot through Howden Insurance. She was brilliant today and we got it together. The plan was to go forward and forget about her last two races. I had to have a bit of confidence to go out and do my own thing, and fair play to David Howden, David Redvers and John and Thady. They allowed me to have an open book and, when she broke well and pricked her ears up, I was happy to lead. Saving energy like that, she was going to be hard to pass. I got some breathers into her all the way round the turn, but today I had the horse to do that, whereas on her first start this year I couldn't slow her down. This means an awful lot, because there were no complaints when things didn't go right at Newmarket and Epsom, and I appreciate that support and confidence in me. David Howden is vital to British racing, and he's been rewarded this afternoon.”

Doom's effort pleased trainer William Haggas, who revealed loftier targets ahead for the James Wigan homebred. “We weren't sure about the ground and the trip, but she handled both very well,” he said. “She ran a lovely race, so it's onwards and upwards for us. She is in the [G1] Falmouth and she might be in the [G1 Prix] Rothschild. I don't see any reason why we should be going backwards and we'd like to win a proper Group race with her. She's stayed in training to do things like this and hopefully she will. She's run two very good races this year and needs to win now.”



Pedigree Notes

Running Lion, the leading performer from her ill-fated sire's only crop, becomes the second black-type scorer for Bella Nouf (GB) (Dansili {GB}), whose first is G3 Sweet Solera victrix Majestic Glory (GB) (Frankel {GB}). Bella Nouf is a dual-winning half-sister to three black-type performers headed by Listed Lyric Stakes winner Nouriya (GB) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), herself the dam of Aljazzi (GB) (Shamardal), who also won this contest, and Listed John Musker Fillies' Stakes winner Majestic Noor (GB)  (Frankel {GB}). Running Lion's third dam Shy Danceuse (Groom Dancer) is responsible for Listed Prix Occitanie winner Sweet Story (Ire) (Green Tune) and Listed Oppenheim-Rennen first Shy Lady (Fr) (Kaldoun {Fr}), the latter being the dam of five black-type scorers headed by G1 St. James's Palace Stakes hero and G1 2000 Guineas runner-up Zafeen (Fr) (Zafonic). From the family of GI Breeders' Cup Mile-winning sire Opening Verse (The Minstrel), the February-foaled grey is kin to a 2-year-old gelding by Kameko and a yearling colt by Frankel (GB).

Wednesday, Ascot, Britain
DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE S.-G2, £235,350, Ascot, 6-19, 4yo/up, f/m, 7f 213yT, 1:39.12, g/f.
1–RUNNING LION (GB), 128, f, 4, by Roaring Lion
1st Dam: Bella Nouf (GB), by Dansili (GB)
2nd Dam: Majestic Sakeena (Ire), by King's Best
3rd Dam: Shy Danceuse, by Groom Dancer
1ST GROUP WIN. O-David Howden; B-The Bella Nouf Partnership (GB); T-John & Thady Gosden; J-Oisin Murphy. £133,467. Lifetime Record: 12-5-2-1, $289,041. *1/2 to Majestic Glory (GB) (Frankel {GB}), GSW-Eng. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Laurel (GB), 128, m, 5, Kingman (GB)–Promising Lead (GB), by Danehill. O-Juddmonte; B-Juddmonte Farms Ltd. (GB); T-John & Thady Gosden. £50,600.
3–Doom (GB), 128, f, 4, Dubawi (Ire)–Dank (GB), by Dansili (GB). O/B-James Wigan (GB); T-William Haggas. £25,324.
Margins: 2, 2, SHD. Odds: 6.00, 4.00, 12.00.
Also Ran: Magical Sunset (Ire), Rogue Millennium (Ire), Julia Augusta (GB), Breege (GB), Royal Dress (Ire), Orchid Bloom (GB), Novus (Ire), Ocean Jewel (Ire), Nibras Angel (GB), Sea The Lady (Fr), Gregarina (Fr).

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