Frankie Dettori is the hero of an extraordinary Royal Ascot with six winners, giving him a sixth jockeys’ title at the meeting, on a day when a rising star won his first Group One – his first Royal Ascot victory – then followed it with a second winner
If Royal Ascot 2020 was a recipe, it had every single ingredient – except the self-raising flour of large, excitable crowds. The fifth and final day brought the meeting, conducted behind closed doors, to a crescendo with eight races and three Group Ones in a row.
Frankie Dettori’s victory aboard Palace Pier in the St James’s Palace Stakes gave him the leading jockey title; he and Jim Crowley both rode six winners, but Dettori had more second places. John Gosden, Palace Pier’s trainer, took the leading trainer’s award, also with six successes. Palace Pier had won all three of his previous races, but the Kingman colt was untried at Group level.
“It was no fluke,” said Gosden. “He’s a really talented horse, but he sustained a little injury last season and it would have been madness to go to the 2000 Guineas on the back of a novice event.”
The Guineas was only two weeks ago, and perhaps left its mark on Wichita, second there for Aidan O’Brien but only third behind Palace Pier and Pinatubo here.
Dettori ticks off missing Royal Ascot win in Coronation Stakes
Dettori was able to place the missing piece of his Royal Ascot puzzle – the Coronation Stakes – by riding the Jessica Harrington-trained Alpine Star to victory for the Niarchos family, who bred her. He has now won all of Ascot’s eight Group One races in his career.
Harrington, watching at home in Ireland, said: “I could not believe it because she was the only horse in the field that hadn’t had a run this year, but she is amazing. She is a half-sister [by Sea The Moon] to a complete superstar, Alpha Centauri, who gave me my first Royal Ascot winner. She was just amazing today, she did it so easily.
“She is very laidback and nothing like Alpha Centauri, who was a great big, very imposing filly. This filly is not very big, she is not a great colour – a little bit of a mealy chestnut. If you saw her trotting around in the string, you wouldn’t pick her out, but she has the most wonderful attitude.”
Jockey’s rides first Royal Ascot winner – then makes it two
Danish-born jockey Kevin Stott was in tears after riding his first Royal Ascot winner – and his first Group One – on Hello Youmzain for his mentor, Kevin Ryan, in the six-furlong Diamond Jubilee Stakes. The pair followed up immediately afterwards with success in the highly competitive five-furlong Wokingham Handicap courtesy of Hey Jonesy.
“I don’t know what to say really – I can’t find the words,” said 25-year-old Stott. “An hour ago I didn’t think this would ever happen, and now I’m standing here with two Royal Ascot winners; things that you could never dream of.”
Treble for dual-purpose trainer Alan King
He may be better known as a National Hunt trainer, but Alan King finished fourth in the trainers’ title at Royal Ascot 2020 with three winners. He started the week with Coeur De Lion’s Ascot Stakes victory, added the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes with Scarlet Dragon on Friday and took the very last race of the meeting, the two miles, five and a half furlong Queen Alexandra Stakes, with odds-on favourite Who Dares Wins. The latter was also a first Royal Ascot victory for jockey Tom Marquand, leveling him with his girlfriend Hollie Doyle, who had scored hers on Scarlet Dragon.
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American delight at Ascot
Finally, it wouldn’t be Royal Ascot without a two-year-old victory for American trainer Wesley Ward, who has been so successful on this stage in recent years. Despite coronavirus, the ebullient Ward sent over a large team and the Kodiac-sired Campanelle justified the effort when taking the Queen Mary Stakes under Frankie Dettori.
Speaking from Keeneland, Kentucky, Ward said: “We’re going crazy here! There’s nothing like Royal Ascot.”
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