OISIN Murphy hailed Roaring Lion as an “unbelievable” champion following a landmark triumph in the £1m Juddmonte International, the Ebor festival’s opening day highlight.
The biggest win yet in the burgeoning careers of the ecstatic jockey and the late maturing horse, an elated Murphy told The Yorkshire Post that it was the best race he had ridden in because of the quality of the select opposition.
“Unbelievable,” said the 22-year-old who has now won a magnificent seven elite Group One races in the past year. “He was at his very best today and I am delighted for the whole team.
“Winning for Sheikh Fahad means everything. I won a Grade Two for him as a five pound claimer when I was 18 (Hot Streak at Haydock for Thirsk trainer David Barron). He has shown great patience. Hopefully, I am repaying him.”
Murphy is. He has matured into the consummate big race rider and enjoyed a clear run up the York straight, to the rapturous cheers of the Knavesmire faithful who know a champion when they see one, unlike runner-up Poet’s Word who appeared to find trouble in running.
I think you should savour a race like this, see how the horse is in the next 10 days and then make plans. I’ll be disappointed if he’s retired at the end of the season. He’s just getting good.Trainer John Gosden
A race previously won by all-time greats like Frankel and Sea The Stars, victorious trainer John Gosden now has his sights set on a number of domestic – and international – targets for the grey produced a performance worthy of the best 10-furlong horse in Europe.
“He won’t be going for the Arc. The Irish Champion Stakes next month is an obvious possibility, as is Ascot (Champion Stakes),” said Gosden. “I would run him on good to soft ground, but I wouldn’t want to run him on soft – that is the only proviso I have. He has a beautiful action.
“A good mile-and-a-quarter horse gets a mile-and-a-half in America, but the Breeders’ Cup Turf is a long way off.
“I think you should savour a race like this, see how the horse is in the next 10 days and then make plans. I’ll be disappointed if he’s retired at the end of the season. He’s just getting good.”