Royal Ascot round-up

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  • Looking back at the highs and lows during last week’s five-day Royal Ascot meeting

    Royal Ascot always provides a fantastic festival of racing, and this year was no exception with anextra day of racing to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

    Sir Alex Ferguson [pictured], manager of Manchester United, broke his annual family holiday in the South of France to lead in his brilliant miler Rock Of Gibraltar after winning Tuesday’s first-day feature, the St James’s Palace Stakes.

    Rock Of Gibraltar is spiraling towards the title of champion miler of Europe, and is the first horse to complete the 2000 Guineas-Irish 2000 Guineas-St James’s Palace hat-trick since Right Tack in 1969.

    He has now collected five Group 1’s on the trot and is on the threshold of joining mighty Mill Reef, the only horse to have won six successive Group 1 races since the European Patternwas introduced in 1971.

    Grandera provided the most breathtaking of Royal Ascot victories in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday, despite refusing to be saddled in his saddling box and nearly kicking a jockey in the paddockbefore the race.

    Frankie Dettori took a pull with two furlongs to run, before unleashing Grandera to shoot clear, hurtling into the final furlong and putting five lengths between himself and Indian Creek. France’s Breeders’ Cupchampion Banks Hill toiled three-quarters of a length back in third with Nayef fourth.

    Royal Rebel was first past the post in the Ascot Gold Cup for the second year running to the delight of his jockey Johnny Murtagh. But Murtagh’s dream ride quickly turned sour when he received a four-day ban for hitting Royal Rebel too many times and with too much force from the stewards.

    Ballydoyle’s imposing Storm Cat two-year-old Statue Of Liberty entered classic calculations for next year with his victory in the Coventry Stakes on Tuesday, while Sophisticat’s late, late surge ensured the stable triumphed in Friday’s Coronation Stakes.

    John Gosden hit the Group 1 bullseye with the outsider Malhub in Saturday’s Golden Jubilee Stakes. This son of Kingmambo has previously suffered wind problems, which necessitated throat surgery during the winter and another operation in February.

    Gosden, who also won Friday’s Buckingham Palace Stakes with another ‘crock’, the pelvis-breaking Demonstrate, has had at least one winner at Royal Ascot every year since 1990.

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