Eve Johnson Houghton: Two female trainers winning at Royal Ascot was great *H&H VIP*

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  • Opinion

    I have not quite come back down to earth following Accidental Agent’s win in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. I can’t explain the feeling, it was a complete blur along with the slow realisation, inside the last furlong, that we really were going to win. It was a culmination of everything coming together.

    I was assistant to my father, Fulke, when Tout Seul won the Dewhurst at Newmarket in 2002 and that was wonderful, but he’d been gradually building up — he’d run in six races already and won four of them. I’d not exactly expected it but he had got better and better.

    My mother, Gaie, bred Accidental Agent, so it was particularly special for all of us. We’ve always had huge faith in him and every year he’s pulled a big one out of the bag. He’s been a slow developer, so it’s taken a bit of time to get him to where we wanted him to be.

    This year, he’s been hard to get fit — he’s a big horse who takes a lot of work — and this was the first time I’ve actually had him bang on for a race.

    The Queen Anne Stakes had been the mid-season aim for him for a long time and I truly believed he had a good shot of being in the top three, so it was a dream come true. He’s in great form and hopefully we can have more big days with him.

    We have his two-year-old half-sister, Madame Tantzy, on the yard. She has yet to run and I think you’ll see her out around September, as well as a yearling, who will be going to the sales.

    There wasn’t a massive celebration. I had friends staying so we had a really nice barbecue in the garden. It was a very busy week and I was back and forth to Ascot every day with runners, who were a bit up and down, aside from Accidental Agent. But our two-year-old Tin Hat ran really well to finish fifth in the Windsor Castle on Saturday.

    England were playing in the football World Cup on Sunday, which all the staff wanted to watch, so I’ll be arranging a party for all of them now.

    I thought it was an absolutely outstanding Royal Ascot overall. Jessica Harrington winning the Coronation Stakes with Alpha Centauri was fabulous. To find women trainers who’ve won Group Ones is really hard, so to get two in a week is great. Maybe the tide is turning now.

    The racing is always wonderful at Royal Ascot and I think that they do it all really well. We are so lucky to have The Queen as the patron — she so obviously loves her racing and I think the whole pomp and pageantry is fantastic.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 28 June 2018