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Review Of Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes Lion Roars Home In Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes On Champions Day

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There is a saying within horseracing that a good horse can act on any ground and that sentiment surely applies to the John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion who, while clearly not at home on the official soft ground at Ascot on Champions Day for the Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes, the talented son of Kitten’s Joy still proved too good for a field of high-class milers, the mount of Oisin Murphy running out a courageous winner of the Group 1 contest, the colt’s fourth consecutive victory at the highest level.

Dropping back to a mile for the first time since finishing just a respectable fifth in the Qipco 2000 Guineas back in May and on ground he “ hated “ according to Gosden, connections made the right decision in switching Roaring Lion towards the shorter QE11 rather than taking on stablemate Cracksman in the 1m 2f Champion Stakes, with that horse returning to his very best some thirty five minutes later to record the most impressive performance of the afternoon.

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“ What a horse “ was Gosden’s first reaction after Roaring Lion justified 2-1 favouritism to hold off Ballydoyle’s 33-1 outsider I Can Fly by a neck with another longshot in Century Dream a half length back in third. The trainer was also full of praise for the ride given by 22-year-old Murphy, saying: “ Oisin could have panicked at the two-furlong pole and thrown everything at it, but he kept him balanced, nursed him and got him there.”

Owner Qatar Racing Limited and Sheikh Fahad Al Thani now have to decide if Roaring Lion heads to Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup meeting, and if so which of three possible races do they go for. The Breeders’ Cup Mile or Breeders’ Cup Turf would be the logical target but a more ambitious attempt at the Breeders’ Cup Classic on dirt is under consideration. A top price 12-1 with William Hill for that race Roaring Lion would not be out of place in a renewal that looks decidedly winnable on Saturday 3rd November, and as the saying goes ‘ fortune favours the brave,’ a trait the grey colt is certainly not short of.

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