Crystal Ocean’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes victory was the undoubted highlight of the rider’s brace, with the Sir Michael Stoute-trained five-year-old finally landing a Group One prize after a handful of near-misses.
The son of Sea The Stars proved too strong for favourite Magical in the 10-furlong contest, which was run in heavy rain as the heavens once again opened in Berkshire.
The victory also gave Stoute a landmark 80th winner at the fixture.
Murphy was stood down from riding at Salisbury on Sunday after failing a breath test before racing, but teaming up with the well-supported Dashing Willoughby for Andrew Balding, he made sure he would be in the headlines for all the right reasons.
The Royal Hunt Cup produced a thrilling conclusion with Afaak (20-1) fending off the charge of Clon Coulis by a nose, while Southern Hills made sure Ryan Moore and Andrew Balding did not draw a blank for the day in the closing Windsor Castle Stakes.
Picture of the day
Even after 62 Royal Ascot successes, the occasion is still not lost on weighing-room veteran Dettori, who notoriously dislikes riding in the rain but managed to tough it out on Wednesday.
Quote of the day
Mark Johnston made no bones about the regard in which he holds a certain Italian following his Queen Mary Stakes success.
Performance of the day
It was a team effort from Andrew Balding’s yard to get Dashing Willoughby fit for action in the Queen’s Vase. He was lame on Saturday, but was nursed back to health in time for his big day, and duly repaid those efforts with a gutsy success. The St Leger is his ultimate aim and given the way he stayed on after racing towards the front rank on testing ground, stamina appears to be his forte.
Ride of the day
Frankie Dettori showed just why he is an Ascot legend as his decision to make an early break for home paid dividends in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Keen to use his Crystal Ocean’s proven stamina, he kept the pressure on pace-setter Hunting Horn in the early stages before stealing an unassailable advantage from favourite Magical.
Stradivarius bossed the staying division in 2018, landing the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million, but he faces his moment of truth on Thursday as he goes for back-to-back Gold Cup wins. John Gosden’s runner, who is on an unbeaten run of six races, faces a new challenge in the two-and-a-half-mile feature as he goes head-to-head with last year’s Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter and 2018 Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee.