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Emperor Of The Sun earns Ascot Gold Cup tilt

Emperor Of The Sun signalled his staying potential with an emphatic, career-best victory in the Saval Beg Levmoss Stakes at Leopardstown.

Donnacha O’Brien’s four-year-old belied his odds of 18-1 in a six-strong field of proven performers, prominent throughout before storming clear in the straight to win by three and a half lengths under Gavin Ryan.

Emperor Of The Sun had previously won just a 2019 Galway maiden from 10 attempts – although he did also outrun big odds on his seasonal return in the Group Three Vintage Crop Stakes when third at Navan last month, just behind the reopposing Master Of Reality.

He put that rival in the shade this time, along with Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment and dual Irish St Leger heroine Search For A Song – who got closest to him as she stayed on to take minor honours.

Last year’s Derby runner-up Amhran Na Bhfiann was sent off favourite, but faded well out of contention to finish only fourth, having raced close to the pace until halfway.

Betfair and Paddy Power responded to Emperor Of The Sun’s victory by cutting him from 50-1 to 20-1 for next month’s Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

The winning trainer said: “He was good. It seems the further he goes the better he gets.

“He has one gear – he grinds and is able to keep going. We’ll probably look at the Gold Cup now, and he might even be better over that trip.

“They are good horses there (today) – behind Stradivarius they are the ones that are up there in the betting for the Gold Cup. You have a dual Irish Leger winner – they are proper horses, and it was a real test of stamina.

“He’s seems to be improving and he’s exciting.”