OISIN MURPHY believes Roaring Lion has the speed – and class – to land the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Qipco British Champions Day tomorrow.
He was speaking after trainer John Gosden declared the grey for this highly competitive mile test rather than the Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs.
Even though Roaring Lion has won three Group Ones this summer over the longer trip, including York’s Juddmonte International, heavy ground at Ascot prompted the decision.
Nevertheless, the Sheikh Fahad-owned colt will still need to produce a career-best performance against a quality field that includes Leyburn trainer Karl Burke’s stable star Laurens, a five-time Group One winner, and North Yorkshire trainer David O’Meara’s Lord Glitters, who will relish conditions.
“He’s an exceptional horse and every time I ride him I need to keep that in mind. Horses like him are so hard to get your hands on and he will have no trouble coming back in trip,” said Murphy, who has already won eight Group One races this year.
“At the races he’s brilliant and very relaxed about the whole thing, but going to post you need to switch him on by giving him a proper canter otherwise he’s not focused and he would think he’s just there for a day out.”
Murphy guided The Tin Man to Sprint Cup victory at Haydock and is looking forward to the British Champions Sprint Stakes.
“I learned a fair bit about him at Haydock, where he was very impressive,” he said. “He was sleepy going to post – like Roaring Lion, not switched on – but if you light him up then he takes off. He deserves to be favourite and goes there with a great chance.”