Royal Ascot: Signora Cabello rises to occasion to delight of Phoenix Thoroughbreds

THE only person not surprised by Signora Cabello's stirring victory at Royal Ascot was the man who matters most of all '“ North Yorkshire trainer John Quinn.

Signora Cabello wins at Royal Ascot (Picture: PA)
Signora Cabello wins at Royal Ascot (Picture: PA)

He’s never doubted the two-year-old filly, and jockey Oisin Murphy just got the nod in a thrilling three-way finish to the Queen Mary Stakes, the day two opener.

Recently acquired by Phoenix Thoroughbreds, the win compensated Murphy, 22, for his narrow defeat on Advertise in the same colours in Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes.

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An unfancied 25-1 despite winning impressively at York’s Dante meeting, Signora Cabello was never far from the pace in this five furlong sprint for fillies.

Oisin Murphy celebrates his second career win at Royal Ascot (Picture: PA)

Aidan O’Brien’s Gossamer Wings and the Clive Cox-trained Shades Of Blue were late challengers, but Quinn’s charge prevailed by a short head.

“Signora Cabello was a huge price given how on top she was at the line at York last time out,” said Quinn, who was recording his third Royal Ascot success.

“She didn’t know what price she was and all she’s done is improve all along.

“Signora Cabello is very laid back but she does help you. Even today, she was very relaxed. She has a very good mind and she has plenty of ability.

Jockey james Doyle and Poet's World - the win was a record 76th at Royal Ascot for Sir Michael Stoute.

“We thought she would finish in the top six and she was in good nick coming into the race – she did the rest.”

Signora Cabello was originally owned by the Zen Racing partnership made up of Ross Sankey and Chris Edwards, who bought the filly for 20,000 guineas.

However, the pair now own 25 per cent of Signora Cabello following Phoenix Thoroughbred’s decision to snap up a 75 per cent stake in her.

“Phoenix Thoroughbreds enquired about the filly two weeks ago and bought her a week ago,” explained Quinn.

“Ross and Chris have a 25 per cent stake now and are currently in Barbados watching the cricket! This is the first horse we have bought for them and my son Sean [bloodstock agent] bought the filly for them at Newmarket as he loved the pedigree.

“Signora Cabello is in everything, but we’ll see how she comes out of this before making a definitive plan.”

As Quinn contemplates whether to keep his new stable star to the minimum distance, or train her with next year’s 1000 Guineas in mind, he and Murphy received their prizes from Olympic legend Sir Mo Farah, a runner who knows all about timing sprint finishes to perfection.

This was Murphy’s second Royal Ascot career win following Benbatl’s victory 12 months ago, and he was quick to praise connections and reveal what the meeting means to riders.

“Fran Berry’s filly Kurious jumped from the stalls very well at Sandown when she made all on her first stgart, and I was able to get a tow off her through today’s race,” he explained.

“I only hit the front with about 50 yards to go and was always vulnerable to one flying late. I didn’t know I had won until the photo was called and it was pure relief.

“This is the Olympics of Flat racing, the most important week in British Flat racing for sure, and to ride a winner here is a dream come true.

“I came agonisingly close yesterday in these colours on Advertise. I would just like to thank John Quinn, Dermot Farrington, and all of the Phoenix Thoroughbred operation for letting me ride their horses at the moment. It is a dream come true. They have a very exciting bunch of horses.”

There was an upset in the feature Prince of Wales’s Stakes when John Gosden’s middle distance champion Cracksman, out of sorts from the off under Frankie Dettori, was defeated by the James Doyle-inspired Poet’s Word.

More significantly, this was a record 76th Royal Ascot winner for Sir Michael Stoute as he surpassed the tally of the legendary Sir Henry Cecil.

Stoute, whose Expert Eye won the finale, said: “It’s a relief because we were stuck on it (75 winners) last year. It is special to every trainer. We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of nice horses over the years. Maybe Cracksman isn’t at his best now, but we beat the others comprehensively. He’s a very consistent, brave horse.”

Doyle said: “I was travelling all over him (Cracksman), it was just a case of hanging on.”

In other races, Kew Gardens led home a one-two-three for Aidan O’Brien as he dominated the Queen’s Vase to gain a first winner of the week – Ryan Moore’s mount is now a leading contender for Doncaster’s St Leger in September.

Epsom Derby-winning jockey William Buick’s dream month continued when Aljazzi routed the opposition in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.