Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Ulster jockey Martin harley hits target on ex-football star's classy Elidor

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 20:  Princess Beatrice, who presented The King George V Stakes Cup to Julia and Jon Aisbitt, owners of Elidor, ridden by Martin Harley and trainer Mick Channon on Ladies' Day during day three of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 20, 2013 in Ascot, England.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)
ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: Princess Beatrice, who presented The King George V Stakes Cup to Julia and Jon Aisbitt, owners of Elidor, ridden by Martin Harley and trainer Mick Channon on Ladies' Day during day three of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 20, 2013 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)

Ulster jockey Martin Harley had a dream day at Royal Ascot, winning the King George V Stakes on Mick Channon's Elidor.

Harley, from Letterkenny, is one of the game's rising stars and showed his class with a great ride on the 20-1 outsider.

Harley said: "It is a fantastic feeling to win at Royal Ascot – I will never forget my first one at this meeting. The first is always the best.

"It was quite a rough race from half-way but he picked up really good a furlong and a half out," added Harley (22), who was champion apprentice in 2011 and won the Ulster Oaks at Down Royal in 2008 on board Angels Story.

Harley graduated from the pony racing circuit and began his career with Jim Bolger, later switching to England.

Elidor, still a maiden after six previous outings, had nevertheless finished second in the Lingfield Derby Trial on his most recent outing.

Channon, the former England striker turned top trainer, said: "He had the form if you look at it and we've waited a long time since the Lingfield Derby Trial to come here.

"The horse that beat him at Pontefract (Libertarian) won the Dante and was second in the Derby. We thought he might have gone up retrospectively for that, but luckily the handicapper did us justice.

"He was also unlucky at Doncaster behind Mad Moose and he went on to run a decent race in the Ormonde.

"This horse is a stayer. He wants two miles now. We will see what the handicapper does and take it from there. He's a nice horse."

American raider No Nay Never smashed the five-furlong record for juveniles with a stunning performance in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Trained by Wesley Ward, who last tasted success at the meeting when saddling a double with Strike The Tiger and Jealous Again in 2009, the two-year-old was having just his second start but towered above his rivals in the parade ring.

He was ridden by Joel Rosario, who won the Dubai World Cup in March on Animal Kingdom.

All the talk pre-race was about the Aidan O'Brien-trained Coach House and he was sent off the 9-4 favourite but had no answer to the winner in second.

"I've always felt he's the most talented horse I've trained and he proved so today," said Ward.

John Gosden's Remote (9-4 favourite) looks a colt out of the top drawer after his stylish display in the Tercentenary Stakes.

"We've hit the crossbar a few times this week and to come and have a lovely winner like this horse is great," said Gosden.

The huge team of Irish raiders are on course to break their record of eight winners for the week and Joanna Morgan's Roca Tumu made it seven for the week in the Britannia Stakes.

The inexperienced colt won on just his fifth start from one who had run even less, Godolphin's Tarikhi.

Morgan, saddling her first Royal Ascot winner, said: "I think I was the first girl to ride at Royal Ascot in 1978. That was a long time ago.

"I've always known he was a talented horse and knew he had the ability."

How day three panned out:

2.30pm: Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) 5f: 1st No Nay Never (J Rosario/W Ward,

4/1); 2nd Coach House (9/4 fav); 3rd 14 Wind Fire (16/1). 14 ran.

3.05pm: Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) 1m 4f: 1st Riposte (TP Queally/Lady

Cecil, 9/2); 2nd Just Pretending (9/2); 3rd Elik (9/2). 9 ran.

3.45pm: Ascot Gold Cup (Group 1) 2m 4f: 1st Estimate (RL Moore/Sir

Michael Stoute, 7/2 fav); 2nd Simenon (5/1); 3rd Top Trip (7/1). 14 ran.

4.25pm: Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap) 1m: 1st Roca Tumu (WJ

Lee/J Morgan, 20/1); 2nd Tarikhi (33/1); 3rd Queensberry Rules(16/1). 27 ran.

5.00pm: Tercentenary Stakes (Group 3) 1m 2f: 1st Remote (W Buick/JHM

Gosden, 9/4 fav); 2nd Shikarpour (7/1); 3rd Van Der Neer (14/1). 12 ran.

5.35pm: King George V Stakes (Handicap) 1m 4f: 1st Elidor (M Harley/MR

Channon, 20/1); 2nd Space Ship (16/1); 3rd Bold Sniper (7/2 fav). 18 ran.

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