Her Majesty Sadly Missed at Royal Ascot but Wow What Racing in Her Absence

The Princess Royal – represented The Queen

The third day of The Royal Meeting was a nightmare for Frankie Dettori with nothing going right for the jockey. We thought that The Queen would attend the meeting today, but sadly She declined, much to the sorrow of the huge crowd. Princess Anne took her place and presented the prize for the Gold Cup, the Blue Ribband of the meeting in Her Majesty’s place.

Day Three

Aside from The Gold Cup, over 2 ½ miles in which there were nine runners including the final outing for Stradivarius, the 8 year old stallion at Ascot. Despite the horses’ enormous popularity, he was applauded everywhere he went, The Strad did not start favourite. That honour went to Kyprios trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore. Others thought to have a chance were Princess Zoe trained by Anthony Mullins in Ireland and Mojo Star from Richard Hannon’s yard and always running as the ‘bridesmaid’ – he has so many seconds on his form it is almost rude! Very early in the 2 ½ mile contest, it was clear that Frankie Dettori was sending out stress signals. As they went past the winners post for the first time, Frankie was well boxed in and was already trying to find a way through for a more comfortable ride. Ryan Moore though kept him close and on the rail with others not giving any quarters either. All the way through Swinley Bottom and up the hill in the back straight, Frankie was struggling to get a position.

Ryan Moore wins The Gold Cup after a masterful tactical race

Then into the straight and final 3 furlongs – Ryan Moore pulled out Kyprios, kicked him in the belly and away he went. Frankie Dettori meanwhile was still boxed in by other runners trying to get their run and a couple who came back on him. Eventually, after trying a small gap near the rail which quickly closed on him, he had to go right round the whole field to get a run. Alas, it was far too late and the winning line came too fast to deny Kyprios his first Gold Cup win and for his trainer Aidan O’Brien his tenth. Clearly, Frankie over-thought the whole race and failed to ride it as it unfolded. He clearly had a plan from which he was not going to deviate. John Gosden, normally the most polite and mild mannered man had obviously given Frankie Dettori a serious talking to in the weighing room afterwards.

The Queen had three runners in the races following the Gold Cup, one of which was given a fair chance and the other was supposed to be as sure as winner as you could get. Frankie Dettori was on two of them for trainer John and Thady Gosden.

The first of the trio was Saga, not without a chance but not a certainty. Yet again, Frankie was riding the race as he thought it should unfold and yet again he got himself boxed in and yet again, when he did get an opening, he had left it too late to give Her Majesty a win in the Britannia Stakes over 1 mile. Saga came second beaten by Thesis trained by Roger Charlton and ridden again by Ryan Moore. In the next race, one of the thought to be ‘bankers’ of the whole meeting was to see Reach for the Moon, again owned by The Queen, and again trained by Gosden and ridden by Dettori. Oh no!

Frankie Dettori has a nightmare at Ascot. Here seen with the Strad – but no elation this time!

Exactly the same thing happened as Frankie rode the colt into second place behind Claymore ridden by Adam Kirby and trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam – he second winner of the week. The third runner for the Queen was in the Buckingham Palace Stakes. This time we say Tactical trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Ryan Moore. This one was not expected to do much and so it was. The horse romped home in sixth place with the winner Inver Park trained by George Boughley and ridden by Ben Curtis, the jockey’s first success at any Royal Meeting.

And so ended the day, Frankie Dettori well in the dog house with his main trainer John Gosden and both looking like thunder clouds – but probably relief for Frankie that the agony of his worst ever performances at Ascot was over and he could look to move on.

Day Four.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stand in for Her Majesty

The Queen again chose to miss the day’s racing and She was represented on this occasion by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. There were two Group 1 races in the day. The first was the Commonwealth Cup with a list of international runners among the 20 runners over 6 furlongs. Richard Fahey sent out Perfect Power with Christophe Soumillon on board. He kept he horse out of trouble and mostly at the rear of the pack until the two furlong marker when he asked Perfect Power to go and win his race which he did by 1 ¼ lengths running on well at the end. Hugo Palmer was responsible for the second home, Flaming Rib and third was Flotus trained by Simon and Ed Crisford.

The second Group 1 of the day was The Coronation Stakes over a mile for 3 year old fillies only. This was a very strong renewal of the race with twelve runners, including the winners of both the English and French One Thousand Guineas winners, Cachet (trained by George Boughley) and Mangoustine (trained by Michel Delzangles).

Inspiral shows she has lost none of her prowess despite a long lay off from the track, and reassures Frankie Dettori

The Gosden’s sent out Inspiral, a filly thought to be a potential Guineas winner and unbeaten as a two year old. She was very slow in coming to hand in the spring and missed both English and Irish Guineas and this was her first run. Again this had a very international feel to the race with a couple from America including Spendarella sent over by Graham Motion. Another French raider was Pizza Bianca (Christophe Clement) and finally Tenbrism, placed in both Guineas, from Aidan O’Brien. Inspiral was slowly away with the ill-fated Frankie Dettori on board and he had to scrub her along from the stalls for the first couple of furlongs. Spendarella was always prominent as was Discoveries, and coming into the straight these two set off for home. Dettori was well down the pack but had a clear run up the centre of the track and the speed and deliverance of the filly was a sight to behold as the filly won by 4 ½ lengths from the American raider Spendarella. The third home was Discoveries trained in Ireland by Jessica Harrington. Spendarella was ridden by William Buick and Shane Foley was on the third.

The Queen had another three runners after the Coronation Strakes, but none were really expect to do much and sadly that was the way it turned out.

Day Five

Aiden O’Brien wins 900 Group or Grade winners world wide today

So after the heat of day four – the thermometer read well into the 30s, the final day was far more comfortable for the race goers and horses alike. The six furlong Platinum Stakes, Group 1, celebrating The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was the feature race of the day. There were a massive 27 runners for this Group 1, must be the biggest field for a Group1 I have ever seen! Sadly, again The Queen chose not to attend and the Duke of Kent presided over affairs in her absence. It is the first Royal Ascot she has completely missed since 1943, when She was Princess Elizabeth.

Again the race had a very international flavour with several runners from Ireland, France, America, Australia and Japan. Not expected to do anything, The Queen ran Kings Lynn once again form the Andrew Balding Stable. Others, who were expected to do well were Home Affairs trained by Chris Waller from Australia; Creative Force from Charlie Appleby and Campanelle from Wesley Ward’s American stable. There were many with chances and with such a big field running over the six furlongs, to predict the winner would always be very difficult. One horse who came from Australia with confidence was Artorius trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman and Mitsumasa Nacauchida from Japan was not here for his health either with Grenadier Guards.

Charlie Appleby show the world how to do it?

The race started with a clean break from all 24 runners as Home Affairs took them along on the stand side of the course. Campanelle was also close up. As the final furlong played out, the two Charlie Appleby horses, Creative Force and Naval Crown vied for the lead, both on different sides of the track. It was Naval Crown’s day though with James Doyle in the saddle and William Buick just behind on Creative Force. The third place was a tie, between Australia and The United States with Artorius and Camanelle in a blanket and thrilling finish. It is worth noting that both the winner and second are both by super stallion Dubawi.

H.M. Queen

Finally, we have now reviewed all the major Group 1 races at this year’s Royal Ascot Meeting – a meeting which had the great regret that Her Majesty did not fell able to attend any of the days. However, some great racing and one particular land mark must be mentioned as Aidan O’Brien, who had his usual successful meeting, actually clocked up his 900th Group or Grade winners with the globe-trotting Broome in the 1 ½ mile Hardwicke Stakes, a Group 2. Congratulations must go to him.

images courtesy Royal Household, facebook and twitter

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