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royal ascot highlights of the last day
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Saturday started with a bang for punters when an almighty touch was landed in the opening Listed Chesham Stakes. Aidan O’Brien’s Point Lonsdale was hammered in the betting, Star Sports reported laying a single bet of £350,000 at 6/5 and another £40,000 at the same price. The colt eventually won by half a length from the Queen’s 11/1 chance Reach For The Moon. Backer’s of the favourite would have been a little on edge when their fancy looked to be in trouble on the testing conditions, going odds against in running and then took almost until the line to get the better of the runner up. 

The winning trainer, enjoying his 76th Royal Ascot winner apologised for beating the Queen’s horse then said ‘We are delighted with Point Lonsdale. He obviously had had only one run at The Curragh, and he’s still a bit of a baby. Ryan gave him a lovely ride.

Of his future plans Aidan added, ‘You’d be hoping he’d be a Classic horse, and being able to do that, a Guineas, Derby-type horse. That’s what we’d be hoping for.

Ryan told reporters, ‘He is still learning – He doesn’t need this ground, he just handles it’.

The Group Three Jersey Stakes resulted in a Godolphin first and second when 5/1 joint-favourites Creative Force under James Doyle and Naval Crown finished in that order with one and a quarter length between them. The latter under William Buick had been all the rage of the Charlie Appleby trained pair in the betting, having been backed from an overnight 12/1, but punters got it wrong.

Charlie Appleby said, ‘We were hopeful on Creative Force’s pedigree and what he has shown us at home in his attitude – and the way he is finishing out in his gallops and his races – that stepping up to seven furlongs would be within his realm, and he’s gone and duly obliged today’.

James Doyle said ‘We have hit the crossbar a couple of times this week, but I was quietly confident with this horse. I just loved Creative Force at Newbury. You go back through his form and he has beaten two subsequent Royal Ascot winners. It was difficult for William as Creative Force and Naval Crown were priced up as joint favourites earlier this week. It was a big choice and it worked out for me today’.

Wonderful Tonight showed girl power under William Buick for David Menuisier to win the Hardwicke Stakes defying the Aidan O’Brien trained 9/4 favourite Broome. Returning 5/1 third favourite she showed the boys a clean pair of hooves to win by a length and a half despite being considered by connections to have needed the run.

Her trainer said after the race, ‘Wonderful Tonight is an absolute champion. I could not be bullish in the press before the race because she was always going to improve for the run’, he went on to say of his plans, ‘The fact that she handles soft and heavy ground so well compensated for the lack of fitness today. Can I go as far to say she will show the same traits on good ground? I don’t know. Perhaps we’ll try in the Arc if the ground happened to be good.

Jockey Ryan Moore made it two on the day win on Dream of Dreams in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes for Sir Michael Stoute. The 3/1 favourite had been well-backed including reported ante-post bets of £360,000 – £80,000 and £200,000 – £50,000. The winner was held up before keeping on strongly to lead then win going away in the last 100 yards. 

Sir Michael is quoted as saying, ‘He has got more and more relaxed; he doesn’t go to post like a sprinter, does he? I thought he was going to pull up halfway down. He is more relaxed, and a little better. He’s fully developed and strong now. But it’s his mind – he’s really, really chilling’.

Ryan Moore said, ‘Sir Michael has been great to me throughout my whole career. He has got this horse, who is seven now, to perform here three times in a row and it is great that he’s able to win today. Dream Of Dreams has been a great horse. He has got better every year. A stiff six with cut in the ground, is perfect for him’.

Simon Nott

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