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Roaring Lion wins Eclipse at Sandown

roaring lion
Roaring Lion (right) has got the better of Saxon Warrior to win the Group One Eclipse Stakes.

Roaring Lion has fought hard to beat old rival Saxon Warrior to win the Group One Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.

The two classy three-year-olds had the 10-furlong (2000m) race to themselves and no quarter was given in the closing stages.

Hawkbill made the running from Forest Ranger, but the older horses had no answer to the younger generation who dominated the finish.

Roaring Lion (7-4 fav), trained by John Gosden, passed the post a neck in front under Oisin Murphy from Aidan O’Brien’s charge ridden by his son, Donnacha.

A stewards’ inquiry was called as the two protagonists came close in the final strides, but the placings remained unaltered.

“He rode him beautifully and very coolly,” Gosden said.

“He got too far back, he knew that, and he didn’t hurry to get back. It was a very good ride and I’m thrilled.

“I thought Saxon Warrior was magnificent, so all credit to Aidan O’Brien.”

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“We will freshen up and go to York (for the Juddmonte International). I’m sure we will see the second there and with some luck, we will see Masar there. That will be some horse race.”

Derby winner Masar was a scratching on race eve with swelling in a leg.

The win was a first British Group One success for Murphy.

“My horse has caused very little interference, if any, and clearly he was the best horse in the race. He’s a very talented colt,” he said.

“I went out in the race with a very open mind and full of confidence thanks to the owner and the trainer. Thankfully, we delivered.

“It’s a relief. I’m pleased for my family. My mum and dad will be proud as it has taken me six years.

“I was on the best horse in the race and I just had to get it right and not get there too soon.

“Sheikh Fahad (of owner Qatar Racing) buys and breeds horses that are supposed to be brilliant, but as we all know from the other big organisations, they are hard to find and we have one now. I’m just lucky enough to be part of one.

“This is at the top (of my achievements). This is what I wanted to be achieving.”

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