Murphy the man in form as Wild Tiger takes Royal Hunt Cup

Oisin Murphy notched his third winner at this year’s meeting on the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Wild Tiger (11/2JF) in the Royal Hunt Cup (1600m) at Royal Ascot on Wednesday.

Murphy kept things simple on the five-year-old, who led a small group up the middle of the course, and while challenges came thick and fast in the closing stages, he kept pulling out more. 

Top-weight Sonny Liston came late under Rossa Ryan, ultimately going down by a head, while Perotto finished third, a further three-quarters of a length adrift. Daysofourlives and Holloway Boy filled the other minor places.

Wild Tiger, a son of Frankel who was homebred by Godolphin, ran two good races at Meydan in the winter and then scored at Yarmouth and Goodwood before landing today’s featured handicap.

Wild Tiger and Oisin Murphy (outside) knock out Sonny Liston and Rossa Ryan, picture Liesl King

Bin Suroor said: “Wild Tiger is doing good. I always liked him. Last year he had some tiny problems and I stopped running him. This year he is doing good and physically he looked much better when he arrived back in Newmarket from Dubai. We will look for a Group race for him now, but I think we will keep him at a mile.

“The numbers [in the yard] are now small; we just have 40 horses, but luckily sometimes we have luck with some of them. Last year it was Mawj in the 1,000 Guineas; this year it is Wild Tiger. We are always searching for something. It isn’t easy.

“In the past I used to have 220 horses. Now we have 40 horses and unfortunately they are not that good. We have to keep a small number that we think might do something, but the majority of them are not very good, which isn’t easy for the stable. We try to keep everybody happy and luckily this horse has won at Royal Ascot and that means big things for everybody. We have to keep up our enthusiasm for it because we don’t have a choice. We have to do our best with what we have, but winning a race at Royal Ascot makes it easier! 

“I am always happy when I win a race with a class horse. I said to Oisin, keep out of the way of the others! I said that this was my chance to have a winner here. He’s a top-class jockey and he did it very well.”

Murphy said: “Saeed provided me with my first Royal Ascot winner [Benbatl in 2017] and he's given me another one today. 

“Saeed has been integral in my career. I am very grateful to him and his Highness Sheikh Mohammed, and all the people who work for Godolphin. It's a huge operation and these successes are important.

"Wild Tiger got the mile well, he relaxed brilliantly. He had the perfect preparation and Saeed was very confident – he told me I'd win and I'm glad we got it done.

“Wild Tiger is very clever. He conserves energy all the way and then, when you ask him, he’s instant. I knew I had used up a little bit of energy in that forward position and that I was a good target for the horses behind, but I had a horse who was well weighted and perfectly prepared.”

5.05pm Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap)
1 Wild Tiger (Godolphin) Saeed bin Suroor 5-9-00 Oisin Murphy 11/2JF
2 Sonny Liston (Chelsea Thoroughbreds – The Big Bear) Ralph Beckett 5-9-13 Rossa Ryan 17/2
3 Perotto (Halcyon Thoroughbreds) Roger Varian 6-9-03 Tom Marquand 25/1
4 Daysofourlives (Raed El Youssef) Marco Botti 4-8-13 Luke Morris 20/1
29 ran               

Saeed bin Suroor – 39th Royal Ascot winner
Oisin Murphy – 14th Royal Ascot winner