06/23/2007 12:00AM

Soldier's Tale just gets up in Golden Jubilee

Email

Soldier's Tale spoiled Australia's chance for a Royal Ascot sprint double Saturday when he nabbed Takeover Target on the line in the Group 1, $699,000 Golden Jubilee Stakes as the hot Aussie favorite Miss Andretti failed to handle the good to soft ground in finishing 15th of 21.

Takeover Target made a bold bid to lead throughout under Jay Ford and appeared to have the race won approaching the line when Johnny Murtagh managed to get something more from the 9-1 Soldier's Tale to snatch a head victory. It was a half-length further back to Asset in third. Miss Andretti, sent off as the 2-1 favorite off her win in the five-furlong King's Stands Stakes on Tuesday, weakened after tracking the leaders in fifth or sixth place early and was beaten 10 1/2 lengths by the winner, who clocked the six furlongs in 1:14.51.

A Group 3 winner at the Golden Jubilee distance two years ago, Soldier's Tale had returned from a 22-month absence caused by a series of injuries and illnesses to finish a sharp third in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes last month. A disappointing third in a Haydock listed sprint last time prompted trainer Jeremy Noseda to fit his Stravinsky 6-year-old with blinkers for the first time and the response was immediate.

Noting that Soldier's Tale has had problems with a number of small fractures in addition to colic surgery and operations to have pieces of his stomach removed, Noseda called Soldier's Tale his favorite horse for having overcome so many setbacks. The six-furlong Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket on July 13 is likely to be his next start.

Takeover Target won last year's King Stand Stakes for Australia before finishing third in the Golden Jubilee. He finished fourth in Tuesday's King's Stand. His disappointed owner/trainer Joe Janiak hinted that it was time for him to return home Down Under but that Takeover Target could be returning to Royal Ascot again next year.

Maraahel repeats in Hardwicke

In the Group 2, $279,200 Hardwicke Stakes, Maraahel held on gamely at 3-1 to defeat 4-5 Scorpion by a half-length, traveling the 1 1/2 miles in 2:35.47. In winning this race for the second year in succession, the 6-year-old Michael Stoute-trained son of Alzao was reversing the form of the Group 1 Coronation Cup in which Scorpion had beaten him into third by 3 3/4 lengths. His victory was aided by the five-pound penalty incurred by Scorpion for that victory, but when the two meet again in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot on July 28, they will be carrying equal weights as well facing as a tougher cast of rivals that could include Epsom Derby winner Authorized, the fabulous French filly Mandesha, and Wednesday's Prince of Wales winner Manduro.