10/18/2014 10:13AM

Charm Spirit takes Queen Elizabeth II Stakes


Charm Spirit completed a wonderful spell for the Head family with a brave victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

A fortnight ago, Criquette Head-Maarek's filly Treve became a very rare dual winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and her brother, Freddy, was able to show off his considerable capabilities as a trainer in this QIPCO British Champions Day Group 1, worth more than $1 million.

Charm Spirit took a respectable fifth to Night Of Thunder in a high-quality 2000 Guineas at Newmarket back in the spring, and it was the Richard Hannon-trained colt who was to prove his sternest rival once again.

Arriving here with consecutive top-level successes on his résumé from the Prix Jean Prat and Prix du Moulin at home in France, the 5-1 chance Charm Spirit needed the strength of jockey Olivier Peslier in order to stand his ground in a rough renewal.

Richard Hughes, the rider of 2-1 favorite Night Of Thunder, was perhaps unfortunate as he struggled to find gaps from the rear when he needed them before passing the line half a length behind but admitted he "didn't have the horse" at the crucial moment.

Freddy Head, the Breeders' Cup legend with Miesque as a jockey and Goldikova as a trainer, said: "It's fantastic. We've done some celebrating, and I think we will do a little more now. I knew he would handle the soft ground, and he's not a horse that can win by five lengths, but you can't beat him. He might go to stud now. I will talk to the owner. He's won three Group 1s in a row. What more can he do?"