Foxes Tales’ Rose of Lancaster victory puts Champion Stakes on agenda

Andrew Balding is considering a potential tilt at the Qipco Champion Stakes with Foxes Tales following the three-year-old’s gritty victory in an attritional renewal of the MansionBet Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock.

With likely market leader Real World one of three non-runners because of the rain-softened ground, Foxes Tales was the 5-4 favourite in the hands of Silvestre de Sousa.

Majestic Dawn led the six runners into the home straight, with last year’s winner Extra Elusive initially his nearest pursuer – racing nearest to the stands rail under Hollie Doyle.

However, Extra Elusive faded tamely – while Majestic Dawn did his best to fend off the challenges of both Foxes Tales and eventual runner-up Fancy Man.

In the end, Majestic Dawn had to give best – with Foxes Tales finishing strongest to land Group Three victory by three-quarters of a length.

Balding said: “It was an excellent performance – he gritted it out well and he’s a horse who’s improving and should hopefully have a good future.

“He showed his class today, and I think he was well on top at the end. Although he was the first one off the bridle, he really found for pressure – which was great.

“His options are going to be a little bit tight moving forward. But he’s in the Champion Stakes at the end of the year, which is a possibility after showing he can handle that kind of ground today.

“That would be another big step up in class, so we’ll find something between now and then – hopefully a Group Two race somewhere.”

Foxes Tales secures top rider honours for Oisin Murphy

Oisin Murphy sealed the top jockey crown for the week when steering Foxes Tales from last to first in the Golden Gates Stakes.

Down the field in a Derby trial at Chester, he was having just his fourth career outing in the red-hot atmosphere.

As the field were taken along at a breakneck pace by Fantastic Fox, also owned by King Power Racing and the choice of their retained rider Silvestre de Sousa, Murphy was plum last in the early stages.

When Fantastic Fox drifted away from the rail a huge gap appeared and Murphy was able to guide his mount, who quickened impressively, to the front.

However, just as it appeared the race was over the inexperience of Foxes Tales came to the fore and he began to drift markedly to his left.

Thankfully for his supporters the 13-2 chance had enough in hand to win by two and a quarter lengths from Visualisation, with Irish Legend third.

It was a fifth winner of the meeting for Murphy and a fourth for Balding.

Oisin Murphy celebrates after winning the Golden Gates Stakes
Oisin Murphy celebrates after winning the Golden Gates Stakes (David Davies/PA)

Murphy said: “It was an interesting race. He jumped well, but wouldn’t go and I was last. I decided to follow James Doyle and got a lovely run down the fence. Then he wandered across the track dramatically.

“It’s great for King Power Racing, they put so much into the game.

“It’s beyond my wildest dreams to be top jockey here. I watched this meeting with my parents and never thought this armband belonged with me. The last few days have been incredible.”

Balding said: “Four winners has been fabulous, but I’m so pleased to get a winner for King Power, they have been great supporters of ours so I’m delighted for them.”