FRANKIE DETTORI’S Royal Ascot momentum kept rolling when partnering Advertise who ran out an emphatic winner of the 6f Group 1 Commonwealth Cup, a 3yo sprint, for Martyn Meade. A Group One winner as a juvenile, Advertise never threatened in the 2000 Guineas but, wearing blinkers for the first time, travelled superbly under Dettori back at a sprint trip and shot clear of runner-up Forever In Dreams. Hello Youmzain missed the start but kept on for third, with hot favourite Ten Sovereigns never looking entirely comfortable. He could not match the front three for pace and finished fourth. Dettori, equalling his best of seven winners at a single Royal Ascot after four winners on Thursday, said: “I’m so pleased for Martyn.
His horses were sick in the spring and this horse ran badly in the Guineas. He had to bite the bullet and close his stable for a month and he has his reward. “I’m so pleased for the horse and his connections. It’s been an unbelievable week.” Advertise is owned by Phoenix Thoroughbreds and their CEO, Amer Abdulaziz, said: “It’s a beautiful day; it couldn’t get better. This is great, just awesome. We knew the horse was doing great and he was working well and the trainer was happy with him. “To have him win like that was amazing. Winning at Royal Ascot means a lot. There is nothing like this.” Phoenix Thoroughbreds enjoyed a landmark result in the Ascot sunshine as they landed a remarkable 1-2 with runner-up Forever In Dreams carrying the predominantly orange colours of the Phoenix Ladies, an all female ownership group run under the same umbrella.
“That’s just the way we like it,” said Abdulaziz. “What a beautiful day, it could not have gone better. “The ladies gave me a fright but whoever finished first and second doesn’t matter; I’m just happy for the brand. There’s about 15 of the investors here and they were all shouting and jumping and it gives us a huge boost. “We had a winner here last year so wanted to come back and repeat that; it’s very important and this is another step forward, we’re now a global company: South America, Australia, Europe and America, and it’s going from big to bigger all the time.” For winning trainer Meade there was as much relief as elation following a testing period during which the horses at his base in Manton had failed to show their true colours through the first part of the season.
“There’s obviously huge elation but certainly relief as well as the horses have been well under par,” said Meade. “He’s only had one bad run in the Guineas and I’ve always believed in him. He was not right at Newmarket but we wanted to see if he stayed the mile. We never found out that day and we decided to go back to what we know over six, where we knew he was so good last year. “We might go to France for the Prix Maurice de Gheest over 6 ½f next. Maybe he would get a mile but we’ll take baby steps and keep him around 6f for the time being.” Runner-up Forever In Dreams provided her owners with a slice of their investment having sold for £430,000 at the Goffs London Sale earlier in the week. “It was a brilliant run, absolutely unbelievable,” said her trainer Aidan Fogarty.
“She was bought on Monday evening by Phoenix Ladies, so it was a good result for those two with Phoenix winning.” When Francis Graffard says ‘this is incredible’, he really means it. A week earlier he had trained two Group One winners in a promising eight year career. Now he has trained four as his talented Watch Me made everyone do just that by blowing apart the Coronation Stakes just five days after Channel, also ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot, clung on by a head in the Prix de Diane. As the field turned into the straight in the mile feature for 3yo fillies, all eyes were on the dual 1000 Guineas winner Hermosa. She hit the front 2f out under Ryan Moore and looked set to join Attraction and Winter this century in completing the trinity of early season Group Ones for Classic fillies.
Her name may shout Watch Me but the process of wresting the collective gaze from Hermosa was more gradual. Slowly the crowd became more and more aware that Moore’s level of animation was in stark contrast to Boudot’s relative stillness. The writing was on the wall and the second Moore became more animated with about a furlong and a half to run, hot favourite Hermosa was consigned to joining Finsceal Beo in coming up short in her treble bid, as she was unable to stop Watch Me powering a length and a half clear for an emphatic success. “We were 20/1, which was good for me with the owner because we can say look, enjoy yourself there’s no pressure, we’re an outsider, if we are third it’s a fantastic result,” explained Graffard. “She travelled really nicely and I shouted a lot. She took the lead quite early and never stopped.
“Four weeks ago in France I thought it was our day and I was very upset as you don’t get many chances to run in a Group One with a big chance, but everything went wrong in the Pouliches. That’s the hard part of being a trainer. Then you get this week. I won the Prix de Diane on Sunday and here we are.” They did not come quietly as a tricolour waving contingent ensured a raucous return, and a delighted Graffard added: “I worked six years in England, so I always said to myself I need to come here and win a big race. I’ve tried before but today is just amazing. I love this filly, I always thought she was very good and it’s incredible. “I was a racing representative for Sheikh Mohammed and Darley for three or four seasons, this is just my eighth season as a trainer.
We’ve had some nice winners but this one is very special.” For Graffard it was a first Royal Ascot winner but for Boudot it was a second after guiding Le Brivido to glory in the Jersey Stakes last year. He added: “The race was perfect for her, she was unlucky in the Poule d’Essai. I was able to get behind Hermosa and when I asked her, she gave me a nice turn of foot. She did it very easy today. She has a big heart and is very courageous. I think she is very good quite simply. “This is a big day for me also; it’s a first Group One at Royal Ascot and it’s very important for my career. It’s been a very nice week.” There may have been two Group One races on the card, but the best effort, arguably, came from Japan after a powerful performance to win the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes over 1m4f and restricted to 3yo colts and geldings.
Though somewhat mitigated by the good pace set by stablemate Jack Yeats, the Derby third was forced wide turning in but came home in great style and joins Epsom winner and stablemate Anthony Van Dyck as the season’s leading middle distance 3yo. Given his progressive profile it is not hard to envisage him rating the better of the pair in time. His trainer, Aidan O’Brien, has never made any secret of the fact that the strapping son of Galileo missed an important week of work while preparing for the Derby which put him firmly on the back foot. Not much was expected in the Dante and he duly delivered the performance anticipated. Better was expected in the Derby and he exceeded expectations to take third. Big things were expected here. He did not disappoint and Japan, it seems, has the world at his hooves.
Ryan Moore rode the son of Galileo as though he was not just the best horse in the race, but the best horse in the race by a considerable margin. How right he was and this was arguably the performance of the week. Moore admitted as much afterwards, saying: “This is a high class colt. He’s very good and he put them to bed very easily there. “He was the best horse, it was just keeping it simple really. He could be more than a Leger horse, he’s a good horse. He will be very effective over a mile and a half.” It was fitting that such a ferocious colt should provide O’Brien with his 70th royal winner and he was keen to stress how good this year’s Derby was afterwards.
“The Derby was a very good race, I don’t think anyone realised what a good race it was; we can see what happened to Circus Maximus earlier in the week. They were all there together and it was a very high class race,” said O’Brien, celebrating his fifth winner of the week. The trainer continued: “This is a very smart horse and he is coming forward lovely all the time, we couldn’t be happier. He had a lovely run in the Dante, and he was just ready to go again, and came forward for the Derby. “Wayne Lordan was delighted with him in the Derby, Wayne rides him in all his work. Everything has been right with him all the time and progressing all the time.”
Japan went the scenic route, while Bangkok cut every corner but it made no difference as he could not live with the favourite. This was all about Japan and the remainder of the season could be about Japan too. The potential is frightening. Moore ended day four of Flat racing’s most fashionable fixture with a double as Baghdad held on gamely in the finale, the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes, a 1m4f handicap, from Ben Vrackie who was finishing fast under Dettori.
Successful over the course and distance in the King George V Stakes last year, the likeable and consistent Baghdad went off favourite and forged clear inside the final furlong only to be given a scare by Ben Vrackie, who started slowly and worked his way into position under the inspired Dettori, seeking his eighth winner of Royal Ascot 2019. Moore was riding his fifth winner of the week and Baghdad’s trainer Mark Johnston was doubling up after Raffle Prize won the Queen Mary Stakes two days before. Johnston was relieved to have held on and said: “Oh I was worried in the finish, for sure I was worried. The form of Mr Dettori this week and he was coming fast. “We had to go wide round the bend and I wouldn’t have imagined Ryan was totally happy with his position, but he had to commit to make sure he got a clear run.”
Johnston trains Baghdad for Mohammed bin Hamad Khalifa Al Attiya. More than 30 years after Gay Kelleway returned victorious to Royal Ascot’s hallowed winner’s enclosure, Hayley Turner became only the second female rider to win at the meeting when landing the Sandringham Stakes, a mile handicap for 3yo fillies, on Thanks Be. The pioneering rider had previously come close to victory at the meeting and finally bridged the gap back to 1987 as the Charlie Fellowes-trained Thanks Be narrowly denied a royal success for runnerup Magnetic Charm. It was nearly four years ago that Turner announced her retirement from the saddle, after a career that included Group One success on Dream Ahead in the 2011 July Cup and Margot Did in the Nunthorpe a month later.
She returned to race riding last year. She said: “I was always hopeful because Charlie Fellowes was actually quite confident even though she was a big price but we didn’t have a great draw and she was an outsider, so you can only be so confident. I’m in disbelief! “I was always going to persevere, if it wasn’t this year then I’d have another go next year but it’s great for Charlie as well as it was his first Royal Ascot winner. It’s unbelievable.” The win was not without drama however, as Turner’s winning ride earned her a nine day suspension and £1,600 fine for using her whip above the permitted level inside the final furlong and a half.
On surpassing the record of Gay Kelleway, who won the Queen Alexandra Stakes with Sprowston Boy in 1987, Turner added: “I’ve had a few places, I was second in the Albany last year and I finished third in one of the handicaps, so I’ve been knocking on the door but fair play to Gay Kelleway, she’s had those bragging rights for a long time!” Birthday presents do not come much better than your first Royal Ascot winner. David Egan turned 20 on the Wednesday. Victory aboard Daahyeh in the 6f Group 3 Albany Stakes may have come two days late, but victory in the dash for juvenile fillies was certainly worth waiting for. The promising young rider fought his emotions as he said: “It’s a big step in my career and I’d like to thank everyone who’s helped me get to this point, I’m actually a bit emotional.
It’s what I’ve worked hard for my whole life and it’s great to have these big days.” Egan’s boss Roger Varian, who let him keep the ride when stable jockey Andrea Atzeni was required to ride Galadriel for his retained owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, joked he was too old for presents but gave him one anyway, in the form of a favourite’s chance at the royal meeting. It is a meeting at which his father John, who was riding at Newmarket on Friday, has been successful four times. His uncle Richard Hughes was synonymous with the meeting as a rider. “I felt the pressure before the race, but once I was on her it was like another race,” Egan said of the occasion. “I’d like to thank the owners and Mr Varian for the opportunities on the big stages.
She had to battle inside the final furlong, but when I switched my whip she picked up again and hit the line strong, she’s a very nice filly.” Varian, who trains the daughter of Bated Breath for Bahrain’s HH Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, added: “David’s been riding well for a couple of years, has a good head on his shoulders, and knows the filly as he won on her first time. Andrea might have ridden her but had to ride for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, so David will get these opportunities as we go through the year. He took his chance today and gave her a lovely ride, I couldn’t ask for more from him.”