Despite the soft ground and a shorter distance than usual, Qatar Racing’s Roaring Lion registered his fourth consecutive Group 1 title by winning the QIPCO British Champions Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Ascot on Saturday. While Roaring Lion proved he was the best in this eight-furlong contest, he had already been a winner over 10 furlongs in the Coral-Eclipse, the Juddmonte International Stakes and the Irish Champion Stakes.
Gosden said: “Oisin said he hated the ground. That is no-one’s fault, it is very deep. He won on fast ground at Leopardstown and he is probably a good ground, good to firm ground horse. He showed his class and I thought the jockey showed his class, as he did not panic. He could have panicked at the two and thrown everything at it, but he nursed him and got him there. Having walked the track, I reassured everyone it was fine, but it is real deep, autumn ground. He was not happy on it, but he had the class to do it. Full marks to the horse. The horse and he (Murphy) have grown in confidence together, which is an important thing. It is like a motor-racing driver with their car – when they get in tune with one and other.
It was very brave of the owners to run because he is going to stud and if had got beaten they would have done nothing but devalue their horse. It’s their sponsorship, so it is fantastic to win this race for them. It is down to horse and jockey and rather brave owners. I nearly got the wobbles watching it!
He has never missed a dance and I think he will go to stud. I think that was his swansong and he will be greatly missed.”
Oisin Murphy, who has ridden Roaring Lion in each of his eight starts this season, said: “He hated every second of it out there, but his class got him through. He’s a fantastic horse and will be a fantastic stallion.”