The Queen has Four Runners at Ascot for The Last Day and Attends Herself
The final day at the Royal Meeting saw H.M. The Queen at the course for the first time this week. She had four runners today, one in the first race, two in the Jersey Stakes and one more in the fifth race. After some serious races during the week, the final Group 1 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes was the feature event of the day. The weather was rather cloudy but at least not raining so the ground starting to dry up meaning that it would be holding. Her Majesty chose a good day to attend.
Like all the other days, there was a Group 1 to savour, The Golden Jubilee Stakes, and two other Group races. The first race was a listed race, the one in which The Queen had a runner. The ground was given as soft. Yesterday the racing was on heavy ground after a deluge of rain on Thursday night which continued during the whole day on Friday. The horses, however travelled well through the ground, and with the rain having finally relented on Friday evening, with over 40mm of rain fell in the period which is double the average for a week in June.
In the listed Chesham Stakes for 2 year olds whose sire had won over 1 mile 2 furlongs there were 10 runners taking on the 7 furlong race. Once again Aidan O’Brien seemed to be in the box seat with Point Lonsdale with Ryan Moore in the saddle. This was another very open contest with Reach for the Moon running for The Queen in raining with John and Thady Gosden and Frankie Dettori on board. There were a further eight runners coming under starter’s orders. They broke well, all except Sweeping who had to be ridden into the race. The Queen’s Reach for the Moon came up the far side of the course with only one other while the rest stayed in mid to near side and he was in the lead at the furlong marker and looked like winning but started to wander badly when coming under pressure. The O’Brien runner came to join Reach for the Moon and also wandered rather, but not as badly which allowed Point Lonsdale to take the race – rather as expected as he was sent off hot favourite. Reach for the Moon came second with Great Max in third. The winner is by Australia, the stallion’s second winner in his first crop.
The Group 1 – The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is a sprint over 6 furlongs for 4 year olds and up. Despite the deluge of rain, there were 12 runners for this final Group race of the year at this meeting. The most surprising thing about the entries was that there were no O’Brien trained runners. Again this looked to be an open race, but two stood out;
Dream of Dreams, trained by Sir Michael Stoute who had run once this season and won, (a listed race at Windsor) and Glen Shiel, who took the champions sprinting race at the course last October in very similar ground today. He was ridden by Hollie Doyle once again and trained by Archie Watson. The race, like so many others this week split into two with the far group from the stands being the stronger. On the stand side, Art Power ridden by Silvestre De Sousa took them all along with Glen Shiel leading the far side group. In the last furlong, the Sir Michael Stoute runner flew down the outside on the far side of the course making up some distance. Sir Michael, after the race was obviously delighted to collect another Royal Ascot winner, his 82nd now; but was particularly delighted that Dream of Dreams has won having been a close second for the past two runnings of the race. Once again, Hollie Doyle rode Glen Shiel a great race to be second. Art Power came in a good third for trainer Tim Easterby.
Earlier Group races saw the Group 3 Jersey Stakes over 7 furlongs for 3 year olds only. Despite the dramatic change in going from earlier in the week, there were still 19 runners. Creative Force was the one to beat as he had run three times this year and had won them all including a listed contest at Newbury last time out.
This is trained by Charlie Appleby with James Doyle in the saddle. Yves Barberot sent First Raaj over from France, so he was expecting a decent run form this one. The Queen had two runners in this race. Both Tactical who won the Wokingham last year at this meeting, and Light Refrain. The former is in training with Andrew Balding and the second William Haggas. The race soon split into two groups with the Appleby horses taking charge, he was also running Naval Crown. There seemed to be little difference in the going from one side to the other of this wide course. As the race ended, Creative Force took the lead but swerved a lot from one part to the other. He did end up winning with Naval Crown ridden by William Buick in second. Vadream, running for Charlie Fellowes was third ridden by Jamie Spencer. The Queen’s horses ran well but unfortunately not well enough to worry the judge.
The Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes was for 4 year olds and up to run over 1 ½ miles. There were ten in this race including two from Aidan O’Brien. Sadly this race did see some notable withdrawals because of the ground, Logician for example who won the St Ledger at Doncaster in 2020. However, others thought of before the off were Wonderful Tonight from David Menuisier, winner of his last two but first time out this year and Broome from O’Brien, who has run four times this year and won three. Broome (Aidan O’Brien) was sent off a very warm favourite and he ran well ending in second with Ryan Moore. The race was won by Wonderful Tonight who having her first race, was well lit up in the early stages. William Buick managed to settle the filly well in the middle of the race and then she just took off in the last two furlongs and won well. An unexpected win but a welcome first win at the Royal meeting for David Menuisier. Her target for the year is to go to the Arc in October. David, a Frenchman who trains in the south of England is most keen to return to his country to take their top prize! The third home was Hukum trained by Owen Burrows and ridden by Jim Crowley.
Finally, it would be remiss not to mention the Wokingham Stakes, a handicap for two year olds over six furlongs. Last year, this race was won by The Queen with Tactician. This year The Queen, again with an Andrew Balding is running King’s Lynn, (who ran earlier in the week without any success) but in this less competitive race was thought to have a really decent chance. There were 21 runners, (normally there are 30) but several pulled out following the change of going. Yet again the field split in two, (but that is usual for this race) and the far side group looked to have the better ground. There were several up close for the race, all of which rather ran out of petrol to allow the more fancied to come through. King’s Lynn started his run and had a rather hard luck story in that he could get out and when he did, he was never going to win. In fairness, he probably would not have beaten the winner anyway. The winner was Rohaan, who came right from the back of the field and was the only three year old in the race.
He is the first time a three year old has won since 1987 and was a first Royal Ascot winner for both the trainer David Evans and jockey Shane Kelly. This looks to be an amazing horse. He would have gone for the Commonwealth Cup yesterday, but under the rules for that race was unable to run as Rohaan is a gelding. The fact that at Haydock, Rohaan beat yesterday’s first past the post Dragon Symbol last time out. Also, the race yesterday was won in 1 minute 16 seconds; today’s race was won in 1 minute 15 seconds, so a lot of talk as to whether Rohaan should have been allowed to run in a Group 1 as opposed to just a decent handicap?? Anyway, the final result for the Wokingham Handicap was Rohaan first, Fresh ridden by Kieran Shoemark for trainer James Fanshawe and third was The Queen’s King’s Lynn with Chiefofchiefs fourth.