Royal Ascot Summary

Courtesy of Becky Johnston

The Human Connection

Trainer is following closely in giant footsteps.

Vincent O’Brien and Aidan O’Brien are of no relation, but you couldn’t tell it from their results.  The younger O’Brien won four Group 1 stakes last week at Royal Ascot, saving his greatest feat for Thursday when Yeats won his third consecutive Gold Cup for the Coolmore connection. 

Murtagh benefits from Fallon’s mistakes

Kieren Fallon sits on the sidelines with an 18-month suspension for a cocaine drug positive while Johnny Murtagh has become the contract jockey for Mr. O’Brien’s Ballydole charges this season.  The partnership took home six Royal Ascot wins, including four Group 1’s (Haradasun, Henrythenavigator, Duke of Marmalade and Yeats), the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (MacArthur) and they ended the meet with a win in the Queen Alexandria Stakes (Honolulu).

Ryan Moore, after losing with more than 60 Royal Ascot mounts, broke out of his slump aboard Colony for Sir Michael Stoute in the King George V Handicap on Thursday.  Mr. Moore followed that up with wins in the Group 3 Queen’s Vase on Friday with Patkai and Saturday on Sugar Ray in the Duke of Edinburgh stakes.

One hot ‘cool’ operation

The Coolmore connections were on fire, yet again, with four group 1 wins (six victories overall).  The five-year-old horse Haradasun will enter stud in Australia after his quarantine, but the others should be in action following this meet. 

One can only hope there will be a Melbourne Cup win in Yeats’ future.  A decision on his racing career will be made at the end of this year.  No horse has ever won four consecutive Group 1 Gold Cups, but Yeats will be eight next season and that may deter the connections from continuing to race the staying son of Sadler’s Wells.

The Group 1 St. James Palace winning three-year-old colt Henrythenavigator could stretch out to 10 furlongs while Group 1 Prince of Wales winner, Duke of Marmalade, may try a mile and a half.  At least that is what Aidan O’Brien’s thoughts were after the two colt’s wins.  An appointment with older rivals will be on the agenda very soon for Henry. 

The four-year-old Duke of Marmalade, who suffered a fracture as a two year old, has come back from successful surgery and having been given the time needed to heal, has rewarded his connections handsomely.  Santa Anita and the Breeder’s Cup could be the destination for these two Coolmore colts.

The Bolger group also enjoyed the week, especially Friday when they took the opening Albany Stakes, a Group 3 event with the favorite Cuis Ghaire and the Group 1 Coronation Stakes with Lush Lashes.  Both fillies are by Galileo.  They also had a nice third place effort from their 2006 two-year-old filly champion, Finsceal Beo, in the opening race of the week, the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes.  Her return to form will be rewarded with a victory before long.

The sprint division seemed to get some new blood when three year olds took both the five furlong Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes with the French bred Equiano (Acclamation) and the six furlong Group 1 Golden Jubilee by Irish-bred Kingsgate Native (Mujadil).  It has been since 2002 and 1996 respectively since a three-year-old has taken either of the sprints.

The Americans

The U.S. contingent was led by Robert and Janice McNair’s Michita.  The three-year-old filly won for Stonerside Stables in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes on Thursday.  She is a daughter of Dynaformer. 

Kentucky breds ran one-two in the Group 1 Prince of Wales Stakes with Henrythenavigator (Kingmambo) in first and Stonerside’s Raven’s Pass (Elusive Quality) finishing the exacta. 

Forest Camp’s son South Central won the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes and Camponologist won the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes.  He is also a son of Kingmambo. 

Mr. Aviator (Lear Fan) took the Royal Hunt Cup, Fifteen Love (Point Given) won the Britania Stakes.

Some of the prominent American-bred broodmare sires with wins at the meet were Mr. Prospector (Sugar Ray and Sabana Perdida) and his son Kingmambo (Regal Parade and Duke of Marmalade) each with two victories.  Forty Niner (South Central), Gone West (MacArthur), Known Fact (Fifteen Love), and Machiavellian (Langs Lash) each had a victory.  Although Saddler’s Wells stood his career in Europe he was bred stateside and was the dam’s sire of a remarkable three winners, three seconds and one third.

A new American sire that offered a promising third-place finish in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes was Lord Shanakill by Speightstown.  The champion sprinter is a son of Gone West. 
Best Moment at Royal Ascot

This is a toss-up between Yeats’ win in his third Gold Cup and Queen Elizabeth II’s win with a promising colt, Free Agent, in the Chesham Stakes.  Her Majesty, The Queen has not won at the Royal meeting since 1999.  Her mile-wide smile, gentle pat on the colt’s nose and the warm reception from the crowd was a treat on closing day.

Next up:

Racing at The Curragh including the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Group 1) featuring  Princess Haya of Jordan’s quirky Epsom Derby winner New Approach.

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