Inisherin king of the Commonwealth Cup

 Inisherin put down a strong marker in the champion sprint division when posting an impressive victory in the £650,000, Group 1 Commonwealth Cup (1200m) at Royal Ascot on Friday.

Trained in Yorkshire by Kevin Ryan for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum – who paid £46,000 to supplement the son of Shamardal – Inisherin (9/4f) was ridden by Tom Eaves. 

Successful in the G2 Sandy Lane Stakes last time out, Inisherin travelled strongly towards the head of affairs before quickening away to beat Lake Forest by just over two lengths. Jasour was a head further back in third.

Inisherin became Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s second homebred G1 winner of the week, following Rosallion, who hails from the same family, in the St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday.

Tom Eaves drives Inisherin to victory, picture Liesl King

Ryan said: “Inisherin improved from Haydock. I think he is just going to get quicker and better at this job. He’s a joy to train, an absolute legend.

“It was a very easy watch. It is very different ground than how it was at Haydock, which always makes you nervous, but he is a great striding horse. I was nervous about the ground going to Haydock, with it being soft. Then obviously when he won on that type of ground, then coming here… but he hardly bends his knees.”

On training for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum: “He is a great owner to have. He’s a pleasure to train for. He takes the pressure off you. I put the pressure on myself. Either way, I’m going to feel under pressure. But if on these occasions you don’t feel like that, then what are you in it for?”

Eaves said: “Inisherin is a machine. I am very lucky to be on him. A big thank you to Sheikh Mohamed Obaid and Kevin Ryan.

“I have ridden some good sprinters, the last one being Glass Slippers, and you think well, you have to find another one. Tangerine Trees, Brando, they've all been very good, but we all know how hard they are to come across. 

"He's a unit of a horse, you see how long it took me to pull up. He has a lot of class. He's quick and when I got off him after the Guineas, before I had even opened my mouth, Kevin said he was a sprinter.

“When I saw the draw [1] come out as one, it’s not exactly where you want to be, but he’s a horse with a very good mind. He’s very relaxed, very uncomplicated, and he showed that in the way he went through the race. He won well.

“It has been a while between drinks – 2008 was my last one [at Royal Ascot], when Big Timer won the Wokingham. It’s great to be here, riding a winner. I think it just shows how hard they are to come by; winners here and getting on horses like him. I’m very thankful to everybody.

You try and look at it as a normal race and plan in your head how you want it to go. The horse is uncomplicated and that’s massive – it makes my job easier. At the yard, we knew we had something special at home, but until they actually come and do it… he’s proved that now, that he’s a special horse.”

Tom Eaves salutes on Inisherin, picture Liesl King

Sheikh Mohammed Obaid said: “We expected Inisherin to win this, because he’s a good horse. He didn’t run well in the Guineas because he needed a shorter trip. He is a sprinter by Shamardal. After the Guineas, when he was sixth, Kevin told me straight away that he would drop him to six. Inisherin had been working with sprinters and passing them standing still. I trust all my trainers, what they say I agree with them. I like racing and I want my horses [Inisherin and Rosallion] to run next year – the press and the TV like it too. 

“Rosallion is a super horse and you haven’t seen the best of him yet. He needs a fast pace and then you will see what he can do. In the Guineas here and in Ireland, he only did a sprint for half a furlong or a furlong.”

Lake Forest’s rider Tom Marquand said: “He ran super. After time off the track, it was going to be tough, but he’s an extremely tough horse. He’s a Gimcrack winner – it’s easy to forget what he did as a two-year-old - but he’s trained on beautifully and hopefully we’ll have a lot of fun with him during the rest of the year.”

Clive Cox said of Jasour: “That was a great run. The winner was impressive. Jasour just switched leads right before the line, which might have cost us second, but he’s run a blinder. I am thrilled he is going the right way. I think we are close enough to warrant a kick at the July Cup, a race in which three-year-olds have done really well in the past. That would be my first thoughts as they cross the line, and as long as he comes back OK from here, he’s a horse who deserves to be in the top flight.”

3.05pm Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series)
1 Inisherin (Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum) Kevin Ryan 3-9-02 Tom Eaves 9/4F
2 Lake Forest (Tony Bloom & Ian McAleavy) William Haggas 3-9-02 Tom Marquand 12/1
3 Jasour (Al Mohamediya Racing) Clive Cox 3-9-02 Jim Crowley 4/1
14 ran

Kevin Ryan – 11th Royal Ascot winner
Tom Eaves – 2nd Royal Ascot winner