Blue Point take the Honours for the final Group 1 at Royal Ascot

The final day of Royal Ascot was to see the final Group 1 race of the week The Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the longest flat race in the racing calendar in the UK, The Queen Alexandra Stakes. The Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs, is now one of the most prestigious races of the meeting as The Queen traditionally gives the prizes away, one of only two races in the week where Her Majesty does this. The other being The Gold Cup.

The day started with the Chesham Stakes, a seven furlong contest for two year olds  only who are by sires who have won over ten furlongs, and this year for the first time, the race also was opened up to dams of runners, also who had won over ten furlongs. Lope Y Fernandez was sent of hot favourite, no doubt mainly as the horse was trained by Aiden O’Brien, as he had trained the winners of all the other two year old races of the week. However, the Godolphin owned and bred son of Shamardal, Pinatubo took the honours, the first of four successes for the stallion on the day’s card. The Charlie Appleby trained colt won with relative ease by 3.5 lengths and was ridden by James Doyle.

Nagarno Gold. Czech
trained colt

In the third race, The Hardwicke Stakes over 1 mile 4 furlongs, Sir Michael Stoute was bidding for his eleventh win of the race with Mirage Dancer. Eight faced the starter for this high quality race including the Czechoslovakian trained Nagarno Gold. The five year old horse has been campaigned in France by trainer Vaklav Luka Jr; as well as in Czechoslovakia. The horse had wins at both Longchamp and Deauville to his name. He is by Sixties Icon, the horse Papal Bull beat at the Royal Meeting ten years ago. A race I will always look back on with real pleasure as I and my wife bred Papal Bull. The other runner of note was 2018’s Epsom Derby Winner, Masar, who due to an injury, had not run since that race. At the start, Masar stumbled badly leaving the stalls, and badly hampered Nagarno Gold, and the pair were at the back of the field for most of the contest. In the straight, both however picked up nicely, especially, Nagarno Gold who came second to The Roger Varian trained Defoe. Taking nothing away from Defoe, many pundits thought that if Nagarno Gold had not had such an awful start, he would have probably won. Mirage Dancer came third. Derby winner Masar came fifth.

In the Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs, the winner of the King Stand, earlier in the week Blue Point was bidding to make it a race double, the first time any horse had managed this despite many trying since Choisir 32 years ago. Blue point was sent of 6/4 favourite of the seventeen runners. Katchy broke from the stalls and blistered his way up the straight and was leading two furlongs out when headed by Dream of Dreams and

Blue Point. Winner of 2 Group 1 races at the meeting

Blue Point, who in the final furlong, tussled it out with Blue Point just getting the better of Dream of Dreams. A thrilling contest with the Charlie Appleby trained, James Doyle ridden horse making history in that it was the first time that any horse had won two Group 1 races at the same meeting. (When Choisir did the double, The King Stand was only a Group 2). Dream of Dreams was ridden by jockey revelation of the week, Daniel Tudhope, winner of four races, and trained by maestro Sir Michael Stoute.  Katchy was third.

Brown Jack bronze – the horse won the Queen Alexandra Stakes six times from 1929

In the final race, the Queen Alexandra Stakes over 2 miles 5.5 furlongs, there are as many national hunt trainers represented as flat. Won on six occasions in a row between 1929 and 1934 by Brown Jack, the winner’s trophy is a bronze of the great horse of the time. In this year’s race eleven faced the starter. Willie Mullins trained Dynamite was sent off 100/30 favourite, the race was as expected run at a very steady pace, but turned into more of a sprint for the last 3 furlongs of the race. The Andrew Balding trained Cleonte took the honours, which was an emotional win for the King Power Racing. The founder, former Leicester City football club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who was tragically killed in a helicopter crash last October always dreamed of having a Royal Ascot winner. The huge, temperamentally quirky and plain looking Pallasator was second and Dynamite was third.

In conclusion to the annual jamboree, as usual, there were many highlights. The main ones I thought were Frankie Dettori’s seven wins at the meeting; Sir Michael Stoute extending his race wins at the meeting to over 80; the emergence of jockey Daniel Tudhope; the grip of Aiden O’Brien’s hold on the two year old races, although otherwise he had a fairly quiet week; Blue Point’s successful wins of two Group 1s at the meeting; stallion Shamardal’s success in the siring of five of the races this week; and also not mentioned thus far, the first female jockey to win at the meeting for 32 years, Hayley Turner who won the Sandringham Stakes on Friday riding Thank Be.

Again an excellent week’s racing made all the more glorious as usual by The Queen and other members of the Royal Family making this event above all others so British.

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