10/19/2013 1:27PM

Ascot: Olympic Glory surprises in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes


The first Group 1 win of Olympic Glory’s career proved a memorable won, as the 3-year-old burst between horses and stormed home to a 3 1/4-length victory Saturday at soggy Ascot in the $1,614,700 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Racing with blinkers added after a sluggish performance last out in France, Olympic Glory, held up near the rear of a quick-paced 12-horse field, began making progress about three furlongs from home under Richard Hughes. He squeezed between two rivals about a quarter-mile out and easily out-quicked his rivals from there, running unopposed through the final furlong of the one-mile race.

Longshot Top Notch Tonto stayed on well for second, with Kingsbarn’s third. Dawn Approach, a 2-year-old champion, did not show his best on a course the heavy side of good, and his retirement to stud was announced shortly after the race by his majority owner, Godolphin.

Maxios, who had easily handled Olympic Glory in the Prix du Moulin, was supposed to like soft turf, but he floundered over the going and finished eighth. Also hurt by the conditions was talented Soft Falling Rain, who finished 11th.

Trained by Richard Hannon, Olympic Glory gave owner Sheikh Joann Bin Hamad Al Thani his second major European victory in two week, as his Treve had captured the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 6. A son of Choisir, Olympic Glory was one of the better European 3-year-olds this year, and he ran a great race to finish a close, troubled second to Moonlight Cloud in the Prix Jacque Le Marois this summer, but his QE II performance was a career-best, giving him six wins from 10 starts. Time for the straight-course mile over ground officially labeled soft was 1:44.18.

Hannon’s other top 3-year-old Toronado wants faster turf and is expected to race in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Seal of Approval upsets

Longshot Seal of Approval ran by far the best race of her life to capture the Group 1 Fillies and Mares Stakes earlier in the Ascot card.

Ridden to victory by George Baker for trainer James Fanshawe, Seal of Approval made her winning move about a quarter-mile from home in the 1 1/2-mile race, striding clear to beat Belle de Crecy by three lengths. Talent came home in third, and was followed by Dalkala, who loomed boldly in midstretch but could not sustain her rally.

Seal of Approval, a daughter of Authorized, won for the fourth time in six starts.

Slade Power finds more

Slade Power looked in the final furlong of the Group 1 Sprint Stakes like he would be passed by fast-finishing Jack Dexter, but Slade Power found another gear and turned back his challenger, winning the six-furlong dash by a neck for his first Group 1 victory. Wayne Lordan rode the winner for trainer Edward Lynam. Viztoria finished third.