Dubai: Dubai jockey Sean Levey was the star of a truly international triumph at Ascot’s British Champions Day on Saturday when he rode the British-bred and Emirati-owned King Of Change to a stunning victory in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Levey, who was born to a Swazi mother and Irish father, is together with Royston Ffrench one of only two black jockeys riding in the UK.
However, his ethnicity and cultural diversity had nothing do with the riding performance he delivered on racing’s greatest stage and in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II herself, to win the £1.1 million QEII from French raider, The Revenant, as Safe Voyage finished third.
Godolphin’s Benbatl had been fancied to win his fourth Group 1 contest but struggled in heavy ground conditions and finished last.
King Of Change raced in the colours of Dubai’s Ali Abdullah Saeed, who was joined by his father, Abdullah Belhabb as he received the QEII salver from the Queen.
“It’s fantastic! This was a great training performance, it’s a team effort,” said Levey, whose biggest career win came in steering Billesdon Brook to a 66-1 win in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in 2018.
“I was praying he would run his best race and he did. I’ve been looking for a long time to win at this level. I hope this win will be a stepping stone to bigger things.”
Addeybb, owned by Major General Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security and owner of Jebel Ali Racecourse, ran a blinder to finish second to Irish -trained Magical in the £1.6million Group 1 Champion Stakes.
Earlier on the same card at British racing season finale, Kew Gardens stopped Stradivarius’ 11-race winning streak by the narrowest of margins to win the Group 1 Long Distance Cup.
Meanwhile, on a huge day of international action around the world, Godolphin’s Trekking finished a close third in the A$14 million The Everest, the richest race in Australia and the richest turf race in the world.
The 1,200 metre contest run at Randwick Racecourse, was won by the Chris Waller-trained YES YES YES, ridden by 50-year-old Glen Boss.
Boss is best known for riding Makybe Diva to three consecutives victories in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (2003-2005).
Santa Ana Lane, trained by Anthony Freedman and ridden by Mark Zahra, was ½ length back in second with Josjua Parr and Trekking a further ½ back in third.
Meanwhile, 24-year-old Oisin Murphy was crowned British Champion Flat Jockey for the first time. Murphy has ridden 168 wins from 854 rides during the season which began in May.
Daniel Tudhope, who had a flying start to the season, finished second on 133 wins, with Jim Crowley third on 98.
Murphy, who was Champion Apprentice in 2014, is the youngest winner of the title since Ryan Moore won the first of his three champion jockey crowns in 2006. “I grew up watching Kieren Fallon being champion jockey,” Murphy said. “And in the last few years I’ve looked up to champions like Silvestre de Sousa and Jim Crowley. I’ve got huge admiration for them and wanted to become champion. Now I’ve done it I want to do it again. Money doesn’t motivate me in any way. I just want to win many championships.”