Tactical Wins The Day for Her Majesty on Day Two at Ascot.
After the first day at Royal Ascot with so many Group races, the fayre today is somewhat more muted with only two Group races one of which is the famous Prince of Wales Group 1. With heavy showers overnight, the going at the track turned from the firm side of good to the ‘soft’ side of good.
The first race is a brand new addition, The Silver Hunt Cup, included as there have been so few opportunities for horses to qualify for The Hunt Cup proper, both over 1 mile. There were 22 runners. In the race, Sir Busker won on the far side from the two groups of runners in the race trained by William Knight.
The second race was the first of the Group races, The Hampton Stakes Group 3 over 1 mile 2 furlongs for 3 year olds. On paper, this was an even race with First Receiver, Russian Emperor and Juan Elcano all getting the thumbs up from the pundits. There were only eight runners. The race set of at a brisk pace led by King Carney and once straightened up with two furlongs to go, Juan Elcarno took the lead with First Receiver, owned by The Queen, joining him and Russian Emperor ridden by Ryan Moore sweeping just to beat First Receiver on the line. This was Ryan Moore’s 60th win at the Royal Meetings.
The King George V Handicap was up next over 1 ½ miles for 3 year olds. This famous handicap started with 17 runners with Kipps trained by Hughie Morrison being sent off the favourite. The race went at a steady pace with LockedN’Loaded taking the lead. Into the straight, Kipp and Hukum went to the front, behind them a wall of horses. Hukum was the tougher of the two runners in front giving trainer Owen Burrows his first Royal Ascot winner. The jockey Jim Crowley took his fourth win of this year. Subjectivist came third.
Our next race was one of the main Royal Meeting races, The Group 1 Prince of Wales Stakes. This year there were seven runners tackling the 1 mile 2 furlong trip for 4 year olds and up including Japan. The Aiden O’Brien colt won The King Edward VII Stakes and was third in the Epsom Derby last year and many thought of him as the ’banker’ of the whole five day meeting. Unusually for this race, there were three geldings of the seven including Lord North, who last week won the Brigadier Gerard Stakes and Barney Roy who went to stud, found to be infertile – so returned to the race track two stone lighter! Before the off, Japan, who some thought looked a little burley, sweated up quite badly, not a good sign! Bangkok led an even paced affair until the straight and one furlong out, Lord North swept past with a devastating speed, coming from last to first – a position he was never going to relinquish. Lord North is trained by John Gosden and this time ridden by James Doyle. Addeybb came second with Barney Roy in third. All three – geldings!
Next up was the annual cavalry charge for The Royal Hunt Cup over 1 mile on the straight course. There were 23 runners, a few less than usual, normally, there are 30 runners. Before the off, both in form trainers, John Gosden and Andrew Balding had multiple entries of some note. As usual, this race was a complete cavalry charge with the first making himself noticed, Cardsharp was just ahead of all horses racing down the straight in three groups. However, a furlong from the finish, Dark Vision took the lead and won. He is trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by William Buick. Second home was Montatham with Pago third and Vale of Kent fourth.
The penultimate race of the day was The Windsor Castle Stakes, a dash over 5 furlongs for 2 year olds only. As so few 2 year old races have been run this year thus far, any of the 18 runners could have a chance. This race was the first for two year olds of the week. However, 7 of the runners have won since racing began two weeks ago but only two on the turf with the others on the dirt. The Queen’s Tactical was sent off favourite, despite not being a winner yet and was ridden by James Doyle. There were two runners sent over from the USA by Wesley Ward who has had ten winners in the ten years he has been sending horses over for this meeting from the States. The Wesley Ward runners went at a break neck speed, but in the final stages they were swallowed up with The Queen’s runner Tactical using the rail coming through to win by a length. Tactical is trained by Andrew Balding and this is the first winner Andrew has trained for The Queen. He is new to Her Majesty’s training ranks this year, following in his father’s footsteps, Ian Balding. Second in this race was Yazaman trained by William Haggas and third was Muker trained by Phillip Makin.
The final offering for the day was a new race, a handicap over 1 mile 6 furlongs for 4 year olds and up: The Copper House Handicap. There were 16 runners. Hockfeld showed the way until the 2 furlong marker when the race, which had been a fast race for the length of run, started in earnest. In the final furlong, the Roger Varian trained grey horse Fujaire Prince took the race winning by a good length with Selino coming second and Almania third. The winning jockey was Andrea Atzeni.