Group 1 victory was 'worth waiting for' as Starman handed Lambourn trainer Ed Walker success in July Cup at Newmarket
Kingsdown trainer Ed Walker believes that Starman’s victory in the Group 1 Darley July Cup Stakes at Newmarket was ‘worth waiting for’.
The four-year-old won his fifth race in six career starts, under jockey Tom Marquad, and handed Lambourn-based Walker his first taste of Group 1 success as a trainer.
Although he admitted that the success took longer than he hoped for, he felt it was the perfect race to win.
“I am thrilled, but relieved at the same time, because it has been a long-time coming as we have hit the crossbar a few times in the big races and it’s great to finally bag one.
“It was worth waiting for because it was such a big group one and it was a hot renewal at Newmarket, a place where I lived for 10 years and trained for six years so it was very special.”
Starman finished ahead of the Archie Watson-trained Dragon Symbol and the Roger Teal-trained Oxted, who won this race last year.
The first three horses across the post are all trained in Lambourn and Walker was delighted to see the village get rewarded for its efforts.
“It is brilliant for Lambourn and the village is having a very good time at the minute what with William Muir winning his first Group 1 with Pyledriver and Archie [Watson] doing well.
“Charlie Hills won a Group 2 at the weekend with Tilsit [in the Summer Mile Stakes], while Roger [Teal] won the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot with Oxted.
“There are some really good horses around here and it’s great that owners are prepared to have horses in the area and the Jockey Club are doing such a great job and making it a top place to train horses.”
After the race, Walker was also full of praise for owner David Ward.
“David and Sue Ward are great people and I am very lucky to have them and a wonderful horse and it’s great when it all clicks.
“So many people contributed and it’s my name on the licence, but it probably shouldn’t be because racehorse trainers should be like teams.
“It’s a massive team from the riders to the ground staff and the secretaries to the farriers and vets, everyone plays a massive role in keeping the show on the road and sometimes they are forgotten.
“We have settled at Kingsdown and things have gone from strength to strength and it’s great for the whole team to be rewarded because it takes just as much work to train bad horses as it does to train good horses and it’s great when you find one like Starman.”
As well as the success for Hills with Tilsit winning the Summer Mile, the trainer had a winner with Vindolanda, while Andrew Balding won a Class 3 Handicap at Ascot with Achelois.
The training duo of William Muir and Chris Grassick also had a winner at Ascot in the form of Top Secret.
Kingsclere trainer Balding enjoyed another solid weekend as Albany Stakes winner Sandrine stormed to victory in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket, while Johnny Drama won the John Smith Cup at York.