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  • 15:05 King Edward Vii Stakes 1m 4f

  • (group 2) £150,000 added 3yo 12 ran
  • Winner: £
  • Going: Good to Firm
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 2m 27.37s
  • Off time: 15:06:50

Time Strikes For Ascot Master Cecil

By Martin Kelly and Tom Peacock, PA Sport.   Last Updated: 04/06/10 1:58pm

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Connections celebrate a popular win.

Connections celebrate a popular win.

While Yeats was the undoubted equine star of a Royal Ascot that has had it all, a 71st winner at the meeting for Henry Cecil added yet another dimension.

It says much for the achievements of the public's favourite trainer that he still remains far ahead of the pack in total Royal Ascot victories - despite Father Time's strike in the King Edward VII Stakes ending a barren run stretching back to Burning Sun in the 2002 Hampton Court Stakes.

Cecil's battle with illness and his contrasting return to the fold as a major big-race player in the last couple of seasons have been well documented.

After several near-misses at the meeting, such was his strength in this Group Two race that he fielded a pair of runners with decent claims.

While stable jockey Tom Queally chose Native Ruler, there was money in the morning for Father Time (9-1), whose rider Eddie Ahern wisely stayed off a breakneck pace.

Angled into the lead approaching the furlong marker, the Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned Father Time pulled four lengths clear of Your Old Pal.

His appetite for the mile-and-a-half trip prompted talk of an attempt to win Cecil his fifth St Leger.

"That was lovely," said Cecil. "It gives you a tingling feeling to get a reception like that.

"I don't know why, but the public have always been very good to me and perhaps I have fallen in love with them as well.

"I really want 100 winners here. It seems a long way off, and with a few flat years I have quite a bit of catching up to do.

"The horses have been running well this week but you have to have the best horses to win at Ascot.

"I thought both horses had a good chance, and I thought this was my best chance of winning a race."

Of his health, Cecil simply responded: "I'm not tip-top, but I'm still alive, aren't I?"

He plans to take a brief holiday where he can mull over options for Father Time, who had not really lived up to his reputation until this stage.

He continued: "He wants a trip and is a full-brother to Passage Of Time, who didn't really get a mile and a half, but it looks as though he gets it really well.

"He's a decent horse and quite laid back. Small, slightly narrow and feminine-looking, but not unattractive.

"We put a crossed noseband on him because he used to carry his head quite high.

"It's up to the Prince, but it's worth thinking about the Leger."

The owner's racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, revealed another possible option.

He said: "We sponsor a race, the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris, and that would be in our thoughts too. It's fantastic.

"Henry's rejuvenation in the last few years has been one of the great sporting achievements."

Ahern was able to rely on a bit of help from a colleague, revealing: "I was wanting to go a bit faster but Richard Hughes was alongside me and said they were going too quick.

"Richard is more experienced than I am round here and as soon as he said it my hands froze.

"The horse wasn't stopping going to the line and if Mr Cecil wanted to step up to a mile and six furlongs for the Leger, I wouldn't put him off."

Of the runner-up, trainer Jeremy Noseda said: "He's run the best race of his life and has done all I could have asked.

"The Gordon Stakes is an obvious race to look at, but I have the Arlington Million and Secretariat Stakes at the back of my mind, so we'll sit down with the lads who own him and make a plan."

Third was Black Bear Island, whose trainer Aidan O'Brien ruled out a tilt at the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in July.

He said: "We might give a little bit off time off after two quick runs, and the Eclipse is too soon for him."

Jimmy Fortune was banned for two days (July 3-4) for careless riding on Debussy.

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