Alpha Delphini, an unconsidered outsider, won the big sprint at York’s Ebor meeting when taking the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes by a nose from the 3 year old filly Mabs Cross, who put up a brave display in second.
The seven year old Alpha Delphini was making ‘a dream come true’ for trainer Bryan Smart, who trains in Yorkshire and had always wanted to win York’s big sprint. His neighbour Kevin Ryan had earlier won the Gimcrack Stakes, the meeting’s big two year old Group race, and Smart predicted the village near where there stables are based would be ‘on fire’ as the celebrations got underway later tonight.
A furlong and a half out it had looked as though the hot favourite, the world’s highest rated sprinter Battaash, was coming through to win his race as he hit the front but he failed to sparkle in this race last year and he was to struggle again as he quickly started to run out of steam. On his right the King’s Stand winner from Royal Ascot, Blue Point, looked like he was making a decisive run but it was to the left of Battaash that the main threat started to appear as both Mabs Cross and Alhpa Delphini loomed up.
Entering the final furlong the two of them started to draw clear and the crowd gasped as they passed the line together, unable to be separated by the eye. The judge took a long time to come to a decision on the result of the photo and it was only by the very narrowest of margins that Alpha Delphini, a seven year old veteran, edged it on the line.
The winner, by the unheralded sire Captain Gerrard, was winning his seventh race but his first in Group company of any sort although he had won a Listed race and been placed in several Group races previously.
Plans were fluid on his next run although Smart didn’t rule out a trip to France and the Prix De l’Abbaye in October.