How Sealiway earned a memorable victory in the Champion Stakes

How Sealiway earned a memorable victory in the Champion Stakes
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How Sealiway earned a memorable victory in the Champion Stakes

With all the attention on the bigger names, Sealiway stole away to snatch victory. The 12/1 shot produced a fine performance, expertly guided by jockey Mickael Barzalona, to win the Champion Stakes. The British Champions Day showpiece is one of the biggest races of the season, and it was a memorable moment for the French-bred three-year-old, and for trainer Cedric Rossi.

“He recovered really well from the Arc because that was a mid-seasonal reappearance and we came here with the thoughts of winning it,” said Rossi. “The Arc did him the world of good and he was ready for this race. All they needed to do was to keep him ticking over. Ascot is very beautiful. We are very proud. It’s a beautiful racecourse, it’s a beautiful day, beautiful racing, so very proud.”

Going into the Champion Stakes, not many had their eyes on Sealiway. The likes of Mishriff, Adayar and Dubai Honour were said to be the ones to watch, but if we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s to never rule out an underdog when you bet on horse racing.

Starting out at a fast pace, Sealiway held a strong position in midfield for much of the early running, content to led Adayar lead the pack. It was only towards the end that Barzarola made the move, and Sealiway streaked through the middle to overtake Adayar and Mishriff.

Indeed, the two favourites struggled to keep up with the pace, and as Sealiway charged to victory, Dubai Honour and the 40/1 longshot Mac Swiney snatched second and third respectively. Mishriff came home in fourth, while Adayarwas left to settle for fifth.

It was a stunning display, and as Rossi mentioned in his interview, it was not necessarily unexpected given how well Sealiway raced in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, finishing fifth ahead of many more fancied contenders, and at pre-race odds of 58/1 in the horse racing betting tips.

But few could have expected that Adayar and Mishriff would miss the mark so badly. The inquest will begin, but racing fans should doff their caps to Rossi and Barzalona, the latter of which earned a memory to last a lifetime.

“It’s great to be back in the big time and be with this horse since the beginning,” Barzalona said. “He deserved to prove his talent like he did today. We had a good draw, he broke well, settled well and we had a good position – it was good. Sealiway showed plenty of stamina in the Arc, but today he showed plenty of speed. He is an excellent horse.”

It’s hard to know what lies ahead for Sealiway, and indeed for Barzalona. In many ways, the end of the flat racing season has come at the wrong time as far as the horse and his connections are concerned, and it will be interesting to see if Sealiway can continue this good form — especially when the new campaign gets underway next year.

For now, Barzalona and Rossi can content themselves with this beautiful triumph, a win so hard-fought that the celebrations are that much sweeter.

 

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