RACING: Mills star puts Wing to flight.
HAWK Wing's reputation as a world-beater took another knock at Ascot yesterday as the 1-2 favourite was floored by a burst of acceleration from Where Or When in the pounds 300,000 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Hawk Wing has now finished second in four of his five races this season, having been sent off the hot favourite for all of them.
And despite his tall billing at Ballydoyle and the undoubted speed he possesses, there appeared to be few excuses as he was felled by 7-1 chance Where Or When from the Epsom yard of Terry Mills.
Hawk Wing's stablemate Sholokhov had adopted his customary position at the head of the field in the one-mile Group One event.
But none of his four rivals really took much interest as Sholokhov - eight lengths clear after three furlongs - did too much too soon and faded out of contention.
If anything, Sholokov backpedalled too quickly and Hawk Wing found himself in front a furlong out.
But instead of going clear, it was Where Or When - who had stalked the favourite all the way - who quickened past under Kevin Darley to win going away by two lengths. Tillerman stayed on to finish in third, a further three lengths behind.
For Mills it was a first Group One success. Having made his money from a waste-disposal business, Mills is not a poor man but in the world of racing, he is very much a small fish in a big pond.
'I really cannot find the words to express how I feel,' he said.
'He has been working like a dream for the last weeks, he's got gears. I've watched horses work for 30 years at Epsom and I've never seen another one like it.
'I can die a happy mannow that I've got a Group One winner.'
Mills took the opportunity to reveal that he will be handing over the reins at his stable to son Robert from next summer.
'I am too old for this now,' he smiled. 'This horse has had a long hard season and I don't think we will be going for the Breeders' Cup unless Robert decides that we ought to.
'This means so much to everyone at the stables. Hopefully we can win another couple of Group Ones next year and then we will have the stallion we have been trying for for 30 years.'
For Wolverhampton-born Darley it was his second win in the race in three years.
On the other side of the winner's enclosure, Aidan O'Brien was putting a brave face on after Hawk Wing's latest defeat.
He said. 'Things didn't work out today. We'll go home and think about what to do next.
WINNERS... Kevin Darley and Where of When
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|Publication:||Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)|
|Date:||Sep 29, 2002|
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