Royal Ascot - Day 1 Review

Date: 21 Jun 2023

Royal Ascot - Day 1 Review

A review of day one of Royal Ascot 2023 as Aidan O'Brien became the most successful trainer in Royal Ascot history.


Paddington brings up O'Brien record

Aidan O'Brien became the most successful trainer in Royal Ascot history on Tuesday when Paddington brought up his 83rd victory at the meeting in the St James's Palace Stakes.

The Siyouni colt supplemented his Irish 2,000 Guineas victory with a comfortable success over the English Guineas winner, Chaldean, who was put in his place emphatically.

Three and three quarter lengths separated the pair at the line, with 33/1 chance Charyn running on for third.

O'Brien said: “Ryan gave him a beautiful ride because he knew it was going to be tactical. He didn't panic and he produced him at the right time. He's able to quicken very well and that is what makes good horses great.

“The lads will have to think about whether he stays at a mile for something like the Sussex or goes up in trip. He has all the options because he obviously has the speed of a top miler but he's bred to get further. The lads always said - John (Magnier) said to me - that this horse would get further than a mile if you wanted him to, no problem.”

Speaking of the winner starting off in a handicap at Naas this year, O'Brien said: “In the spring we are just trying to get the horses out, normally ours are too high to run in handicaps, but he wasn't. The Madrid Handicap in Ireland is always a good race, you need a good horse for it. He didn't bolt in on the bridle, but he won like a nice horse and we've always really liked him.

“He's progressed with every run. Last time was his first time on real good ground and we weren't sure how he would handle it, so he's obviously very good.

“To break the record is amazing and there are so many people to thank for it, I couldn't do it without them. And Sir Michael is such a special man, we always looked up to him, always. We're in a very unique position with these horses.”

Dettori said of Chaldean: “He is a super horse, he found one too good today but he was a good second. It was a solid run.”

Balding added: “He was beaten by a very good horse, Frankie just felt he probably just overdid it a little early, but I'm not sure whether that would have made a difference to the result. Two very high-class horses.”

On the fine effort of Roger Varian's Charyn (33/1), rider David Egan said: “He was very good. I was always confident he would outrun his odds. I saw he was 80/1 or so earlier in the day, crazy stuff because he ran a great race in the Irish Guineas.

“He had a rough race, as did most, in the English Guineas and was second behind Isaac Shelby (in the Greenham), so he's obviously turned that form around. I'm very proud of the horse, he has shown he has enough talent to compete with the big boys.”

Right on Time in the Queen Anne 1800w, 337w, 480w, 630w, 240w, 450w, 518w, 345w, 289w, 675w, 900w, 360w, 300w, 945w, 1350w, 690w, 675w, 1260w" alt="Triple Time wins the Queen Anne Stakes" width="750" height="422" />
Triple Time wins the Queen Anne Stakes

Kevin Ryan's Triple Time (33/1) knuckled down to see off Frankie Dettori and Inspiral in the opening Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The son of Frankel pulled his way into a prominent position after being keen under Neil Callan in the early stages and he looked a sitting duck for Inspiral when she hit the front inside the final furlong.

However, it soon became clear she hadn't put the race to bed and Triple Time hauled his way back into the lead to win by a neck from Inspiral with Light Infantry third.

Ryan said: “He got stomach cramp just before the Lockinge and we had to take him out, he's only had one ordinary run and that was in France in deep ground. Apart from that, when he came back from his little injury at Haydock he was 80 per cent fit, we had to run him because we were running out of time.

“Hopefully we'll now have a full season with him, he's got his Group One and it's great. I'm delighted for all my team and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, he's a big supporter of us. He's so patient and I'm delighted to get a big one for him, especially here.”

He went on: “He's up there (with the best I've had), he's very good.

“He's got a massive stride, he has to use it and as long as you can get him to control it over the first two (furlongs), the rest of the race was then pretty relaxed.

“We knew we had him as good as we could get him with out a run, it's paid off.

“We've got today out of the way and now we can make a plan.”

Callan - recording his second Group One winner after his long spell riding in Hong Kong - said: “I'm speechless for once, and a bit emotional as well.

“When I came back from riding in Hong Kong I didn't really know what to expect. I rode very competitively there, as I did here before I left. But you are not guaranteed anything in this game and you have to work for what you get. I was lucky that when I came back Kevin Ryan gave me some support. Kevin was so confident in this horse and said he's the best horse he's trained.”

Of Inspiral, who was making her seasonal return, Dettori said: “It was a super run. I got there, but then Neil got me back. It was a super run.”

Her joint-trainer John Gosden added: “She switched off, she's done everything right, gone to win her race but then the other one has come back. There were lots of good horses in there. We can look a races like the Sussex Stakes and the Prix Jacques le Marois that she won last year. She's back on song, that's the main thing.

“She was a little slowly away but that's her style, she doesn't want to break in the lead. She did everything right but got caught. It was a very nice run for her first run of the year. She'll come on for the race, it's not often you say that after a Group One but she will. I couldn't be more pleased.”

Light Infantry is joining Ciaron Maher and David Eustace in Australia later this year, and his trainer. Simcock said: “He's run a super race. We're still learning about him and as we're learning so will Ciaron be. I'm not sure when he's going, we'll have to have a chat and see how much of a break he will want before he goes.

“He might have one (run) here or he might go straight from here.”

Bradsell reigns in King's Stand 240w, 337w, 1260w, 289w, 578w, 300w, 360w, 675w, 675w, 630w, 345w, 690w, 518w, 480w, 450w, 1350w, 900w, 945w" alt="Bradsell beats Highfield Princess in the King's Stand" />
Bradsell beats Highfield Princess in the King's Stand

Bradsell (14/1) survived a stewards' enquiry to win the King's Stand Stakes for Archie Watson and Hollie Doyle.

The three-year-old hung into the runner-up Highfield Princess in the closing stages but a winning distance of a length helped the winner's cause and the placings remained unaltered.

It was a fourth Royal Ascot success for Doyle and a second for Bradsell, who landed the Coventry Stakes at last year's meeting on just his second start.

Highfield Princess was well-backed to record her own second success at the meeting and went off 7/4 favourite, but she was outpaced by the winner at a crucial stage before battling back late on.

Annaf, 50/1, was third, with Twilight Calls (20/1) home in fourth.

Watson said: “He's a Coventry winner over a stiff six here and we were always going to go over six, we were never going to go over a mile or anything. The plan all winter was always to come to the Commonwealth trial here and on to the Commonwealth.

“I thought he showed up best of the horses in the Commonwealth trial, he got a bit tired late so we ran in the Sandy Lane and he ran similar race. I knew it couldn't have been tiredness that day, even in the Coventry last year they could only really take him to the four-and-a-half-furlong pole, then Hollie had to say ‘right, I'm getting on with this now'.

“He's got so much speed, this horse. It was an easy decision to pull back to five, it wasn't easy in that we had to pay £35,000 to supplement him! I was feeling slightly iffy yesterday when he was 40-1 in the betting, thinking ‘God, we've spent quite a lot of money for a 40-1 shot'. But when he was 12-1 I thought that was alright. Sheikh Nasser was incredibly supportive and said if it's the right race then we will go for it. I'm just delighted.”

Of his partnership with Doyle, he said: “We've had 200-odd winners together now, she's been massive for my career and I hope vice versa. What I've always said about Hollie is that she's incredibly consistent, she doesn't make many mistakes and she knows the team, she loves all the horses, she knows how we want them ridden.

“For a yard like us to have one of the top five jockeys in the country - which she is - to ride our horses is just fantastic.”

Malton trainer John Quinn took defeat for Highfield Princess on the chin, although he was of the view the interference did hamper his mare.

“I'm delighted with how she ran and she definitely got taken off a straight line and it obviously hasn't helped,” he said.

“If you're trying to run in one direction and something is pushing you the other way - well you can't go as quick can you. But I was delighted.

“Jason felt she was just getting going again. We certainly had a case.

“She's a six-year-old mare and she's run two fantastic races this season. The only thing I would say, and I'm not making excuses, is that she's better when she just runs and runs and runs.”

He added of a possible quick reappearance later in the week: “We said if she won or ran well Saturday (Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes) was always likely. We're leaving her down tonight and if she's OK she will run.”

Of Annaf, Appleby said: “Hopefully he's improving this year. I think he's better over six furlong than five, too.

“We might look at taking him out to Korea again later in the year, he ran well there last year but it just didn't pan out for him.”

River runs hot in Coventry 1800w, 240w, 578w, 360w, 345w, 337w, 675w, 675w, 450w, 300w, 518w, 480w, 630w, 690w, 1350w, 1260w, 900w, 945w" alt="River Tiber lands the Coventry" />
River Tiber lands the Coventry

River Tiber hung on in a frantic finish for the Coventry Stakes to justify 11/8 favouritism for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore.

The Wootton Bassett colt maintained the unbeaten start to his career by grinding down fellow Irish raider Givemethebeatboys on the far side after Jessica Harrington's horse cut out much of the running under Frankie Dettori.

Army Ethos and Bucanero Fuerte both finished with a flourish towards the centre of the track to split the pair in second and third respectively.

O'Brien was registering his 82nd winner at the Royal meeting, equalling Sir Michael Stoute as the most successful trainer at the fixture - it wasn't long until he had the record on his own thanks to Paddington.

The Ballydoyle handler said: “It looked like he needed all of six furlongs there but he won over five last time.

“We brought him back in trip from his first run and he got a bit of a fright at halfway when he came off the bridle, but we knew then he was going to get six and seven. He won't mind staying at six but he'll be very happy going up to seven.

“He's a very exciting horse, all ground comes alike as he won on very bad ground first time and then much quicker ground, it doesn't matter much to him.

“We thought he was our Coventry horse when we started working him, long before he ran. You need your best horse to win the Coventry and he was never disappointing in any of his work. His last piece of work, he almost did it too well. You could see in the first half of the race he was doing everything very easily.

“We always thought he was a Guineas horse. If you think you have a Coventry horse, you almost know you have. He's relaxed but he was a bit fresh at the start today because he was doing his work so easily.”

Archie Watson trained Bradsell to win last year's Coventry and he was thrilled with Army Ethos' effort in second.

He said: “We've almost won two Coventrys in a row, which for a yard like us would have been massive, but I couldn't be happier with him. He's always had so much class.

“The plan was always go to to Ayr and then come straight here. For a second run, it was a massive performance.

“I was always happy once I picked him out amongst all the reds, Hollie rides this track excellently. He's a very good horse and we'll just have to try to pick one up later in the season, I'd imagine we'd work around something like the Morny, possibly with something like the July Stakes or the Robert Papin in between.”

Doyle added: “He's still a big shell. I probably could have done with being on the other side to have something to battle with, but he's done nothing wrong and he ran straight as a die.”

Ahorsewithnoname gives Henderson a Royal Ascot winner 1800w, 1350w, 900w, 300w, 289w, 337w, 1260w, 578w, 240w, 518w, 345w, 360w, 630w, 450w, 480w, 675w, 675w, 945w" alt="Ahorsewithnoname wins at Ascot" />
Ahorsewithnoname wins at Ascot

Nicky Henderson and William Buick teamed up to win the Ascot Stakes with talented dual-purpose mare Ahorsewithnoname.

Runner-up at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, the eight-year-old successfully reverted to the Flat to win at Newbury and York last season before finishing fifth as favourite for the Cesarewitch.

She disappointed in her next couple of races over hurdles, but bounced back to winning ways at Cheltenham in April and was a 7/1 shot switching back to the level at Royal Ascot.

Always travelling well in midfield, Ahorsewithnoname got a dream run up the far rail in the latter stages of the two-and-a-half-mile contest and picked up under strong driving from the champion jockey to score by a length and three-quarters from Calling The Wind.

Bring On The Night, all the rage to go one better than when second in last year's renewal at 13/8 for Willie Mullins and Ryan Moore, suffered interference and was ultimately well beaten.

Henderson, better known as one of the sport's leading National Hunt trainers, was winning his second Ascot Stakes having previously struck gold with Veiled in 2011.

“It's lovely, that's her last run. I don't know when her time runs out, she's in foal to Cracksman and that was always the plan. We had 90 days to run her and it seems to have done her a bit of good!” said the master of Seven Barrows.

“I couldn't run her on the ground last year, but that rain helped. The first year she was going to go on to hurdling and I didn't want to risk her whereas now this was going to be her last race anyway. We had nothing to lose.

“This is her last race unless the Galway Hurdle comes into her 90 days, which it doesn't.”

He added: “There was less pressure today, and I don't just say that because it's a Flat race - after all it's Royal Ascot for goodness sake and a big day in anyone's life. But it's not the Champion Hurdle with the pressure you get in that.

“Any race at Cheltenham is very special and any race at Royal Ascot is the same. We love having a go here.

“William gave her a beautiful ride, she had a dream run and the rain last night helped her.”

Royal Champion victory one to savour for Jack Mitchell 289w, 1260w, 360w, 1800w, 300w, 345w, 675w, 450w, 900w, 337w, 1350w, 240w, 690w, 675w, 945w, 480w, 518w, 630w" alt="Royal Champion gets a pat off Jack Mitchell" />
Royal Champion gets a pat off Jack Mitchell

Royal Champion proved aptly named in giving jockey Jack Mitchell his first Royal Ascot winner, as he stayed on nicely to take the Listed Wolferton Stakes.

From an awkward draw in stall 12, Roger Varian's charge had to come three wide throughout in the 10-furlong contest, but he was always travelling well.

Mitchell got to the front a little sooner than he may have wanted, yet he had plenty to spare aboard Sheikh Mohammed Obaid's five-year-old, who was giving the owner a notable 577/1 double on the day, following Triple Time's 33/1 success in the opening Queen Anne Stakes.

Though Bolshoi Ballet showed plenty of determination, Ryan Moore and Aidan O'Brien were denied a treble, setting for the runner-up spot, while 3/1 favourite Buckaroo stayed on well to finish third.

Though Frankie Dettori loomed large on the inside on Saga approaching the three-furlong pole, there was to be no royal winner, as he failed to find a gap on the rail when they quickened up and the partnership finished fifth behind the 16/1 winner.

Varian said: “It's nice to get one on the board the first day and great to have one for Sheikh Obaid, who is a big supporter.

“He's a bit in and out this horse, but I always knew he had a big one in him. Good to soft ground is his ideal conditions, any quicker or much softer and he doesn't seem to want to know. I'm delighted for Jack, he's a huge part of our team.”

Mitchell said: “That's my first Royal Ascot winner and I seem to have been coming here a long time!

“It's unbelievable. I can't thank Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and Roger Varian enough for keeping me on this horse. He's delivered and given me a great day.”

Vauban opens up exciting options with Royal Ascot romp 289w, 578w, 240w, 1800w, 360w, 900w, 480w, 690w, 345w, 675w, 675w, 945w, 1260w, 337w, 1350w, 450w, 518w, 630w" alt="Vauban wins under Ryan Moore" />
Vauban wins under Ryan Moore

High-class hurdler Vauban looks like developing into an equally smart horse on the Flat following his facile victory in the Copper Horse Handicap.

His success completed a treble on the day for jockey Ryan Moore and gave him a 76th winner at Royal Ascot.

Rated 160 over hurdles, the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old looked thrown in off a mark of 101 in this mile-and-three-quarters contest.

Winner of three top-level races over the sticks for owner Rich Ricci, he had just failed to make it four when chasing home stablemate State Man in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Punchestown on his last run in April.

Moore immediately kept it simple aboard the well-supported even-money favourite, sending him to the front early and though he looked under pressure turning in, Vauban quickened smartly and in a matter of strides approaching the two-furlong pole he powered away from his rivals.

It was a notable afternoon for Mullins, who started the day arriving in one of the royal carriages and ended it with a one-two in the last, with the Frankie Dettori-ridden Absurde a well-held seven-and-a-half-length runner-up.

“It was a great performance from the horse, he's improving all the time,” said Mullins.

“What was especially good was how brave Ryan Moore was, that was plan B or C what he did there. He jumped out, saw there was no pace and thought he'd better be more forward than we'd planned to be.

“He took the bull by the horns going around the first bend and then just rolled along the whole race. He stacked them all up behind him and started letting out a bit of speed - seven, six, five furlongs out he just kept winding it up and held some in reserve to win by seven and a half lengths, which is amazing.”

On future plans, the Closutton handler said: “We will have a look at all those races, York could be on the agenda and the Melbourne Cup is where we said we'd like to go and that's what we're going to try to do.

“We've had a wonderful day and to have a winner on top of that (being in the procession), you cannot ask for any more.”


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