Noble Mission delivers thrilling conclusion to flat-racing season at Ascot’s Champions Day

Noble Mission delivered a thrilling conclusion to the flat racing season, emulating legendary brother Frankel to win the Champions Stakes at Ascot.

The 7-1 shot, ridden by James Doyle, battled to the end with old hand stallion Al Kazeem, who ran a cracker of a race for trainer Roger Charlton in the highlight of Qipco Champions Day.

Doyle was later given a seven-day ban and £10,000 fine for whip overuse but trainer Lady Cecil admitted that the win was one of her most emotional victories since her husband Lord Cecil’s death in 2013 when she took over the yard.

And she was in tears as she watched her horse win the same race as Frankel won with her husband in 2012.

She said: “We hardly dared to dream this could happen. We knew he was in great shape but this was a tough race.

“James gave him a great ride as he (Noble Mission) really had to dig deep. It’s a great team effort, I’m so lucky.”

In the sprinting stakes category trainer Tom Hogan was pleased as punch with his stable star Gordon Lord Byron, as he made a last minute drive to pip mud-lovers Jack Dexter and Tropics to the post.

After failing to deliver at the Irish Champions Day in September, Gordon Lord Byron showed pure bravery as he shouldered through the two leaders in the last 50 yards and took the sprinting crown for Ireland.

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes saw a field of pure class take to the boggy ground as the Richard Hannon trained favourite Night of Thunder failed to find a gap in the tightly packed bunch and was overcome by speedy French-trained Charm Spirit.

The race was close fought from the starting gate with good performances from classy runners Custom Cut and Captain Cat.

However, with Night of Thunder originally held by jockey Richard Hughes and then blocked on the home stretch, none of the other horses could match the finishing speed of Charm Spirit and the win went across the Channel.

Elsewhere, Forgotten Rules triumphed in the Long Distance Cup as The Queen’s horse Estimate finished last in her final race.

Estimate won the Gold Cup at the same course two years ago – the first time the race had been claimed by a reigning monarch – and will now be retired to stud.

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