Stoute has no peers
With more Royal Ascot winners than anyone else to his name, Sir Michael Stoute could be forgiven for being a bit blasé about the whole affair – but Crystal Ocean’s win in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes clearly meant a lot to him. The horse deserved a Group One win and now has one of the biggest on his record.
Murphy makes the right headlines
Currently leading the race to be crowned champion jockey, Oisin Murphy has not had many setbacks in his career, but he suffered one on Sunday when he failed a breath test before racing at Salisbury. Speaking on television earlier in the day about what he called “a very embarrassing situation” and his steadfast determination to be a role model, he duly delivered a power-packed ride to win the Queen’s Vase on Dashing Willoughby.
No denying Dettori at Ascot
He may be approaching his 49th year, but Frankie Dettori is undoubtedly still the go-to man at the big meetings. He has already won the Oaks this year and he rode his 61st Royal Ascot winner on Mark Johnston’s Raffle Prize in the Queen Mary. It did not take him long to make it 62 on Crystal Ocean.
Sea Of Class will be back – but not on that sort of ground
Sea Of Class was one of the stars of last season, winning the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks and pushing Enable close in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Having missed her intended comeback at York in May she reappeared in a red-hot Prince of Wales’s, but the heavy rain had William Haggas doubting the decision to run and given she trailed in fifth she is unlikely to be risked on such ground again. It is a long season ahead and we will see her in a much better light – possibly in the King George.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Ascot is a track that lends itself to course specialists and once again that was borne out as Afaak won the Royal Hunt Cup. Second in the race 12 months ago for Charlie Hills, he was making his seasonal reappearance and won on the nod from Clon Coulis, ridden by Jamie Spencer – widely regarded as the man who rides the straight course better than anyone. Just 24 hours on from Lord Glitters going one better than in the Queen Anne, backing horses with previous Ascot form looks the way to go for the rest of the week.