06/18/2005 12:00AM

Cape of Good Hope sets track record in Golden Jubilee


Cape of Good Hope landed a second international Group 1 sprint prize this year with a record-setting performance in the $457,000 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot at York on Saturday.

After finishing fourth, two lengths behind the victorious Chineur in Tuesday's King's Stand Stakes at five furlongs, Cape of Good Hope was wheeled right back by trainer David Oughton in this six-furlong race, just as he was last year when he was second and third in the same two races.

Never worse than third on Saturday, he took the lead at the sixteenth pole under Michael Kinane and defeated Galeota by a head at 6-1. The 9-2 favorite, Balmont, finished third, 1 1/2 lengths further back. Cape of Good Hope's time of 1:08.58 on ground labeled firm, good to firm in places, smashed Dazzling Bay's track mark by .82 of a second.

A 7-year-old British-bred gelding by Inchinor, Cape of Good Hope had traveled to Mooney Valley in February, where he won the six-furlong Group 1 Australia Stakes. He then returned to Hong Kong to finish fifth and third behind the redoubtable Silent Witness in a pair of Group 1 sprints before this return trip to the Royal Meeting. His exploits in Australia and England have clinched him the championship in the first annual Global Sprint Challenge.

The Jeff Mullins-trained American challenger, Mighty Beau, who had finished fifth, three lengths back, in the King's Stand, was 11th under David Nuesch after leading to halfway point. The disappointment was the Aidan O'Brien-trained Antonius Pius, who gave way to finish last of 14.

The firm ground helped Bandari produce a record of his own in the Group 2, $256,000 Hardwicke Stakes at 1 1/2 miles. Bandari scored a half-length victory in 2:26.28, or 1.12 seconds faster than the old mark set by Islington in the 2003 Yorkshire Oaks.

Trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Willie Supple, Bandari prevailed after a long duel with Maraahel who, like Bandari, is owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Powerscourt and Doyen were major disappointments, finishing fourth and fifth.

The Royal Meeting now bids farewell to its temporary home at York. With workmen building a new grandstand at Ascot, officials are keeping their fingers crossed that England's most prestigious race meeting will be able to return to its home track in time for a gala opening next June 20.