The fifth and final day of Royal Ascot 2021 had a single Group 1 on the card, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, with two-time runner-up Dream Of Dreams (3/1f) finally getting a victory in the six-furlong contest.
The seven-year-old fought off the determined challenge of Glen Shiel (7/1) to claim a one-length success, with Art Power (7/2) coming home to take third place.
It was an 82nd Royal Ascot success for 75-year-old Barbados-born Sir Michael Stoute, while English jockey Ryan Moore took his Royal Ascot career tally to 65 winners.
Stoute, Royal Ascot’s winning most trainer, was delighted to get a winner on the final day of the 2021 meeting, stating:
“I am delighted – the horse deserves it. The past two years, he has been beaten a head finishing fastest of all, so I am really thrilled for him. He loves a little cut in the ground, but I don’t think he’s run on ground quite as soft as this, so I was a little concerned. Ryan (Moore) had it all planned and it all worked out, and told me what he was doing, so I said, kick on.”
Moore, who has always had a close working relationship with Stoute, said of his latest Royal Ascot victory
“Sir Michael has been great to me throughout my whole career. He has got this horse, who is seven now, to perform here three times in a row and it’s great that he’s able to win today. Dream Of Dreams has been a great horse. He has got better every year. Any winner here is important and the bigger the race … a race like this, a prestigious race like this … it’s great.”
First Royal Ascot winner for Frenchman Menuisier
The Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes saw Wonderful Tonight – on her seasonal debut – give England-based French handler David Menuisier a first Royal Ascot win.
The four-year-old filly, last ran when winning the Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot on her final start last year, beat the colts this afternoon over the mile and a half trip.
For the winning rider William Buick it was a 28th Royal Ascot win as his 5/1 chance went clear in the home stretch to take an impressive length and a half success over the Aidan O’Brien-trained 9/4 favourite Broome. The Shadwell Stud-owned Hukum (8/1), under Jim Crowley, was third past the wire, a further length and a half behind the Coolmore runner-up.
Elated Frenchman Menuisier expressed his delight with the performance of his star filly:
“Wonderful Tonight is an absolute champion. I couldn’t be bullish in the press before the race because she was always going to improve for the run. She was running against tough opposition with the benefit of at least one run, so you always have to be on the side of caution, but she is amazing. The fact that she handles soft/heavy ground so well compensated for the lack of fitness today.”
Menuisier immediately nominated the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in his native country as a possible end of season target, divulging:
“Perhaps we will try in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe if the ground happened to be good. Would we try her on good ground before that? I don’t know. She loves Longchamp and Ascot so we will keep an eye on all the races she can run it at both venues.”
Reflecting on a first triumph at the meeting, the French-born handler disclosed:
“It means the world because you carry it like a monkey on your back until it happens. I am absolutely thrilled.”
William Buick admitted to also being very impressed with the filly’s performance:
“She is top-class. She probably does handle this ground well compared to some others, but I thought that performance today against the colts was her best yet. And she showed a turn of foot today that I don’t think she’d shown before. She is very versatile tactically. She can make her own running as long as she’s in a good rhythm and doesn’t get chased along too early.”
Godolphin 1-2 in Jersey Stakes
This year’s Cazoo Derby-winning trainer Charlie Appleby provided a 1-2 for owners Godolphin in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes as Creative Force (5/1jf) got the better of Naval Crown (5/1jf).
Creative Force, with James Doyle in the saddle, was making it four wins from four starts this season in the seven-furlong contest, as he saw off the William Buick-ridden Naval Crown by a length and a quarter. Big outsider at 28/1 Vadream was good enough for third place, a further three-quarters of a length by the Godolphin horses.
Of his second Royal Ascot winner this week, and his career 11th, the English conditioner said:
“Both horses turned up in great order and full credit to the team. We were hopeful on Creative Force’s pedigree and what he has shown us at home in his attitude – and the way he is finishing out in his gallops and his races – that stepping up to seven furlongs would be within his realm, and he’s gone and duly obliged today.”
Appleby is now considering dropping the winner back to six and half furlongs for the Prix Maurice de Gheest in France for his next race.
Point Lonsdale gives Coolmore a winner
Point Lonsdale was a welcome second winner of a somewhat frustrating week for top Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien (who has had 5 seconds and three thirds) as the son of Coolmore stallion and dual-Derby winner Australia claimed the Listed Chesham Stakes.
Ridden by Ryan Moore, the 10/11 favourite for the seven-furlong two-year-old race, battled with Reach For The Moon (11/1) inside the final furlong, with the Coolmore partners-owned full brother to Broome eventually getting the upper hand on the Frankie Dettori mount by half a length, while Great Max (15/2) was three and a quarter lengths further back in third.
Aidan O’Brien said that all the main two-year-old races for the remainder of the year are open to Point Lonsdale, with the County Wexford-born handler admitting that connections hope he will turn into a Classic contender.
“We have the Tyros, Futurity, National, Dewhurst. All those races are open for him. You’d be hoping he’d be a Classic horse, and being able to do that, a Guineas, Derby-type horse. That’s what we’d be hoping for.”
Irish jockey Oisín Murphy won the Golden Gates Handicap aboard Foxes Tales (13/2), as he secured the Leading Jockey title at this year’s Royal Ascot.
The winner was a comfortable two and a quarter lengths victor despite being held at the back of the field for most of the race. The Joseph O’Brien-handled Visualisation (16/1) was runner-up with Irish Legend (22/1) from the Hugo Palmer barn third, a length further behind.
Another Irish jockey was among the winners today as Shane Kelly took his first Royal Ascot win, along with trainer David Evans, thanks to Rohaan’s neck victory in the six-furlong Wokingham Handicap. The only three-year-old in the race beat Fresh (15/2), with the 3/1f King’s Lynn third.
Whenever Irish Champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins teams up with top English rider Ryan Moore punters normally take note, and with good reason.
The final race of Royal Ascot 2021, the Queen Alexandra Stakes, the longest flat race run in Britain each year (2m 5f 143 yards), saw the top combination claim the race for the third time (they won in 2012 and 2014) as Stratum (4/1) triumphed by three and a quarter lengths..
Stratum, the seventh career Royal Ascot winner for Mullins beat Calling The Wild (40/1) with the 2020 runner-up The Grand Visir (17/2) taking third, as Moore completed a day 5 treble at the Berkshire racetrack.
“I thought Stratum never looked so well and he ran like he looked. Even though the ground didn’t suit him ideally, he probably handled it a lot better than other horses,” the winning handler admitted post-race, before adding “It is a huge advantage to have someone like Ryan Moore riding for you when we bring over these types of horses. I am delighted.”
Photo: Royal Ascot Day 5 ( Megan Ridgwell Photo)