Jayarebe holds off King’s Gambit for Hampton Court triumph

Jayarebe repelled the late thrust of hot favourite King’s Gambit to secure victory in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot.

So impressive when winning the London Gold Cup at Newbury last month, King’s Gambit was a 2-1 market leader to successfully graduate to Group Three level under William Buick, but a tardy start put him on the back foot from the off and he was still last of all rounding the home turn.

After taking a while to find top gear once in the clear, King’s Gambit was flying at the finish, but it was too little, too late and he had to make do with the runner-up spot.

Jayarebe (7-1), who dominated his rivals in Newmarket’s Feilden Stakes before being beaten as a warm order for the Dee Stakes at Chester, was always handily positioned by Sean Levey and dug deep after hitting the front early in the straight to hold off King’s Gambit by three-quarters of a length.

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Trainer Brian Meehan was landing his second winner of the week following the shock 80-1 victory of Rashabar in Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes, with Levey also doubling his tally following Rosallion’s St James’s Palace Stakes triumph on the same afternoon.

“He’s been doing all the right things at home. Chester didn’t suit him, he’s got a huge stride, I think it’s something like 26ft, which is a massive stride for a horse like this,” said the jockey.

“We know he stays, I got a great break from stall 12 and I committed early because I knew he’d stay strong to the line.

“Do you know what, it’s having the horses that have a chance of winning. They are so hard to find here, it’s so competitive.

“So far, so good; two big chances have won and there are still chances to come, so fingers crossed.”

Meehan said: “He was sitting third and Sean was able to get a breather in and that was key, it never happened at Chester and that was his undoing, along with the track, he didn’t like the track.

Royal Ascot 2024 – Day Three – Ascot Racecourse
Sean Levey aboard Jayarebe after winning the Hampton Court Stakes (John Walton/PA).

“Today, Sean had to be forceful to get the position, but once he did, Sean was able to take back, have a little breather and that man is riding out of his skin at the moment, it is so impressive.

“He knows the horse inside out and comes in every week and rides work. It was the same as Rosallion earlier in the week, it was a wonderful ride.”

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He added of Jayarebe: “He’s getting better and is still lightly raced. With practice, he is improving and the red hood was a good addition today. It’s more about curbing his exuberance, but when we were saddling, he was calm and we’re going in the right direction.

“What more does he have to do and at this stage he is on the up. This was always the plan – it was Newmarket, Chester, then here. I always said to his owner that we would then explore an autumn campaign and then look at some of the international races for him.

“The Eclipse is a possibility as well, but we will see how he is and I’ll talk to Sean.”

On King’s Gambit, Harry Charlton said: “It looked like a disaster from furlong one – we were in the worst possible position on this round course, and he’s run monstrously well to get anywhere near them.

“You can see how good he is, and we’ll enjoy him down the line.”

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