Poetic Flare (7/2f) stole the show on the opening day of Royal Ascot 2021 as he produced a devastating display in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes.
The three-year- old son of Dawn Approach gave his trainer Jim Bolger a ninth career success at the meeting, with his jockey son-in-law Kevin Manning claiming his sixth victory.
The one mile contest, which was the highlight of day one, saw an Irish-trained 1-2-3 with the Jessica Harrington-handled Lucky Vega (4/1), who now retires to stud duty in Australia, taking the runner-up position, and Battleground (11/1) from Aidan O’Brien’s powerful Ballydoyle establishment coming home in third.
The 54-year-old winning jockey said of the Jim and Jackie Bolger homebred colt:
“The ground is what this horse needs. You want that good, quick ground and that’s what we got today, and he showed how good he is.
“He travelled very well; there was a nice, even pace in the race and always something to aim at. He just travelled so easy into the race, and when I asked him to pick up, he put the race to bed in a matter of strides.”
Having won the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in early May, Poetic Flare found trouble in running in the French equivalent a week later, before finishing runner-up to his stable companion McSwiney in the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at the end of last month.
Discussing the ease of today’s race, Kevin Manning, who is married to Bolger’s daughter Úna, said:
“I couldn’t believe that I was travelling so well and was half sitting down rather than having to go forward. He’s an unbelievable horse. He’s a very tough individual who does himself very well. He has taken his racing very well.”
The winning conditioner, 79-year-old Jim Bolger, who also bred and owned Poetic Flare’s sire and grand sire, Dawn Approach and New Approach, did not attend Royal Ascot today, but spoke to host broadcaster Sky Sports Racing after the race, stating:
“I’m very relaxed about it. I have tremendous confidence in this horse and I was expecting him to go and do that. We always knew he was hardy from the word go, even when he was being broken in you couldn’t keep him quiet. This horse is so hardy he’s unbelievable, you have to give it to him to keep his back down.”
Palace Pier wins Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes
The world’s top-rated racehorse Palace Pier (2/7f) won at Royal Ascot for the second year in succession, as he claimed the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over a mile.
Last year’s St James’s Palace Stakes victor had a reasonably comfortable length and a half win over the Aidan O’Brien-trained Lope Y Fernandez (12/1) with Sir Busker (22/1) from the Sir Michael Stoute barn, taking third place.
The hot-priced money-on favourite gave his rider Frankie Dettori a 74th Royal Ascot victory, while the training partnership of John and Thady Gosden were having their first (they would complete a double later in the day). John Gosden had previously tasted Royal Ascot success 55 times when holding the training licence in his own name.
John Gosden, who trained the legendary Enable throughout her career, was relieved to see Palace Pier come home in front today.
“It was a slowly run race over a straight mile and he’s a very relaxed horse” admitted Gosden. “He has done it really smoothly; he has come through, won his race, and is exactly like his father (Kingman – now a Juddmonte Farms sire), as soon as he gets there, he has done enough. And if I worked him at home with a very ordinary horse, he’d just stay with them – that’s his game,” explained the former American-based English-born trainer.
First Royal Ascot win for Teal and Fallon
Trainer Roger Teal and jockey Cieren Fallon combined for their first Royal Ascot win as Oxted (4/1) was a length and three quarters winner of the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes over 5 furlongs.
The 2020 Group 1 July Cup returned to form to score from Arecibo (28/1), with the Brendan Walsh-trained US challenger Extravagant Kid (18/1) a neck further behind in third.
Cieren Fallon, son of the former Irish-born British Champion jockey, Kieren, described the result as “a dream come true” to win at Royal Ascot, a meeting where his father rode 30 winners.
The race favourite and last year’s race winner Battaash (11/8) only briefly threatened a repeat. The Shadwell Stud-owned seven-year-old took the lead two furlongs from the winning line, but soon faded as the challenge came from behind – he eventually faded to finish in fourth place.
The Group 2 Coventry Stakes for two-year-olds went to Berkshire Shadow (11/1) for jockey and trainer combination Oisín Murphy and Andrew Balding.
Oisín Murphy came with a powerful challenge along the stands’ rail, to win by a length and a quarter, giving the County Kerry, Ireland-born British Champion jockey his sixth Royal Ascot victory.
Two big outsiders in the betting market Eldrickjones (66/1) and Vintage Clarets (25/1) took second and third places respectively in the six-furlong event.
The Wesley Ward trained Kaufymaker, who broke fast from the gates and was prominent in the early stages of the race under rider John Velazquez, could only eventually manage eighth place, with the rider stating post-race:
“She broke lovely and I was happy with my position, but over that trip, she just found too many quicker than her.”
The marathon two and a half mile Ascot Handicap saw long outsider Reshoun (66/1) hold on for a fast-diminishing short-head win to deny Ireland’s Champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins a Royal Ascot success.
Reshoun, handled by Ian Williams, his second-ever Royal Ascot winner, and ridden by now 26th-time Royal Ascot-winning jockey William Buick, beat the Ryan Moore-ridden M C Muldoon (11/2) for Mullins with Elysian Flame (16/1) a further length and three quarters back in third.
Trainer Kevin Ryan and rider Andrea Atzeni each had their eighth Royal Ascot winner when Juan Elcano (14/1) was a half length winner of the Listed Wolferton Stakes, beating the joint 4/1 favourites Patrick Sarsfield (for trainer Joseph O’Brien and jockey Tom Marquand) and Solid Stone (trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore) into second and third places respectively.
The closing race of day one went the way of Holly Doyle aboard the 33/1 shot Amtiyaz, as the four-year-old completed a double for joint-trainers John and Thady Gosden. Jamie Spencer was runner-up on Dubious Affair (33/1), with Global Storm (4/1) taking third for recent Cazoo Derby-winning conditioner Charlie Appleby.
Photos: Royal Ascot Day One Winners ( Megan Ridgwell Photo)