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Gosden pays tribute to Trawlerman after ‘proper duel’ with Kyprios

John Gosden John Gosden
© Photo Healy Racing

It takes two horses to make a great horse race and while the roles were reversed from Champions Day, John Gosden felt Trawlerman lost little in defeat behind Kyprios in the Gold Cup.

With Frankie Dettori, the man credited with a great ride that momentous day in October, when he was supposedly riding for the last time, up in the stands watching on during his hiatus from his current base in America, it was William Buick in the saddle.

In the absence of Trueshan due to the fast ground for the fourth successive year, Buick decided to set his own fractions and he so nearly got it spot on.

He was allowed to do his own thing until Caius Chorister took off with Benoit de la Sayette and shot up on his outside – but that may have worked in his favour, as it forced Ryan Moore to go wider on the eventual winner.

It was a ding-dong battle up the Ascot straight again between the pair, but on much quicker ground than in the autumn, this time it was Aidan O’Brien’s Kyprios who prevailed, becoming just the third horse in the race’s long history to regain the Gold Cup.

“Once Trueshan came out of the race, it was pretty obvious we were going to have to make our own pace, so William decided to set our own rhythm, he doesn’t like a sprint,” said Gosden, who trains Trawlerman in partnership with his son, Thady.

“It was a wonderful race, he cruised round, then Kyprios came, they fought and then Kyprios gets in front and then he did what he did to Kyprios in the autumn when he won by a neck, he came back.

“This time, on the faster ground, Ryan had time to go again and he went and won fair and square, but it was a proper duel between the two of them, they are lovely stayers.

“We’ll probably all meet in the Goodwood Cup, that will be a likely scenario.”

Sweet William, also trained by the Gosdens, came from the clouds to claim third under Robert Havlin, five lengths behind his stablemate.

Gosden added: “The third horse, Sweet William, has run a blinder, he’d won the Henry II at Sandown and has come on again to grab third. He’s got the stamina. If they could extend the trip to two-and-three-quarters like the Queen Alexandra, that will suit him even better!

“Second and third is great, they are great horses.”

Philippa Cooper, owner of Sweet William, said: “I’m just so pleased. He had five screws in as a two-year-old, it has been well documented and it’s been a long journey.

“For him to do this on ground that is very, very fast is unbelievable, I’m just so proud of him – so, so proud of him.

“You would think I had won the race and not come third. But I’ve just come third in a Gold Cup.

“Rab (Havlin) said he is improving and who knows, if he stays sound, he could be back. It was very, very special.”

Back in fourth was the Willie Mullins-trained 2022 Triumph Hurdle winner Vauban under Colin Keane, who briefly looked a huge threat.

Owner Rich Ricci is now eyeing another crack at Melbourne Cup glory and said: “It’s a wonderful experience to have a runner here in the big race.

“It’s clear to everybody now he didn’t stay. He came to win the race and I was getting jiggy when I was listening to the race and I heard them turn for home. He was right in the mix and I turned round to watch and his run just petered out.

“That’s fine and Melbourne is still the plan. It’s great to have a runner here and it is such a great occasion and great day and if you had told me I would have a better chance of winning the Ascot Gold Cup over the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which I did this year, I would tell you you were mad.

“But with that being said, Australia is still the plan and I would love to win the Melbourne Cup – and our friends from Victoria Racing are here.

“We’ll probably run somewhere again in the summer, then we’ll be ready to rock and roll I think.”