Royal Ascot 2015 Results

So it’s all over for another year. As ever the five days at Royal Ascot – which must surely be Britain’s showcase racecourse – lived up to the hype and then some. The Royal processions that lend the meeting its unique personality set the wheels in motion once again, with racing royalty Tony McCoy a popular carriage passenger. The hats, suits and fashions added a touch of class to proceedings in the stands, and the racing wasn’t bad either. Here we take a look at the standout stories and performers from what was a week to remember.

The Jockeys: Records, Landmarks, and Farewells

There is only one man with whom we can begin this section. The record breaking dominant force that is Ryan Moore. Although Fred Archer recorded 12 victories at this meeting back in 1878, Ryan Moore’s nine wins were enough to see him surpass the eight posted by both Pat Eddery and Lester Pigott to become the best in the modern era.

Piggott in his pomp was a jockey almost unrivalled, but in terms of sheer talent Moore deserves to be mentioned in the same breath. Over the five days at Ascot, he gave a masterclass in what it is to be a top flight international jockey. One aspect to point out is that whilst he did have the best book of rides heading into the week, of his winner’s , only dual Guineas hero Gleneagles could be described as a “good thing”. As it turned out Acupulco won just as easily in the Queen Mary and all Ryan really had to do was point the monster filly in the right direction.

It was in his other successes on which he illustrated his many talents to best effect. From his perfect judgement of pace and tactics aboard Clondaw Warrior and Waterloo Bridge, his never say die attitude on War Envoy, his sheer strength aboard Curvy and his cool head when extricating Aloft from a difficult position in his record breaking ride, Ryan was the standout star of the week. Not that he will revel in it much, at least not publicly. Often derided for his stoical interviews he is not one to seek the spotlight. Like it or not, his talent, dedication and class will ensure that it is the spotlight which seeks him for many a year to come.

One man who could never be described as camera shy is our favourite Italian, Frankie Dettori. A man of many achievement’s will forever be associated with this track following his, surely never to be repeated, “Magnificent Seven” in 1996, returned to claim his share of the spotlight in 2015.

Heading into the meeting on 49 festival wins, he brought up the 50 with Osaila in the Sandringham Handicap, followed up with an easy win on Time Test and capped it off on the final day, with a peach of a ride aboard Undrafted in the Diamond Jubilee. Like a phoenix from the flames, Dettori has risen from the depths of tragedy and personal problems to light up the biggest stage once again. Racing is all the better for it.

We can’t leave the jockeys section without a mention for the retiring Richard Hughes. Two winners on his final appearance at the Royal Ascot meeting were a fitting tribute to a man whose style on the track was matched by the way in which he conducted himself away from it. We are sure to see plenty more of Richard around the tracks of the country though, as he will soon be embarking on a training career. We wouldn’t like to bet against him returning to the winner’s enclosure at Royal Ascot in the not too distant future.

The Trainers: Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Of the eight Royal Ascot festival wins recorded by the Irish, the five notched up by Aidan O’Brien were enough to see him crowned as the Champion trainer for the week. Of course the man from Ballydoyle is backed by the most powerful owners and breeding operations, and has the most formidable arsenal at his disposal. An enviable position to be in but a position which brings with it immense pressure.

The tools at his disposal still have to be nurtured and brought to their peak at just the right time. O’Brien rarely fails to deliver in this respect. His winners, Gleneagles, Washington DC, Waterloo Bridge, War Envoy and Aloft came in races run over distances ranging from five furlongs to two miles, illustrating his ability to extract the maximum from his steeds, be they juvenile sprinters or four-year-old stayers.

It was a pair of international winners which brought us two of the most emotional moments of the week. France-based Irishman, Eoghan O’Neill, started his interview after the success of Suits You in the Chesham Stakes in composed fashion, but once the matter of his wife’s role was brought up he was reduced to tears in the space of a sentence. Suits You had narrowly held on in the colours of his wife. A touching moment illustrating how much this sport really means to the men and their families who pour their heart and soul into their horses.

Wesley Ward showed that for all his confidence and stateside pomp, he has a heart too. The success of Undrafted in the Diamond Jubilee was no doubt a personal triumph for a trainer dubbed as “only good with his two-year-olds”. A victory made all the more poignant, as Ward had spent the previous night at the hospital bedside of his sick daughter. The recovery of his daughter and win in the week’s biggest sprint proved all too much for Ward who for once could barely speak.

The Horses: The Real Stars

Of course the horses themselves were the real stars of the show. And what horses we had on display. From as far afield as Australia and Hong Kong, the best thoroughbreds in the world descended on Berkshire. Yorkshire trainer Kevin Ryan, who was incidentally probably the unluckiest trainer of the week, summed it up best when he called this the “Olympics of Horseracing”.  Here we take a quick run through the standout performances from the five days.

We didn’t have to wait long for our first glimpse of an international superstar as the French grey Solow stamped his authority on the opening Queen Anne Stakes. A mouth-watering clash with St James’s Palace Stakes winner, Gleneagles, looks on the cards in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

Robert Cowell may not be as well-known as some of his contemporaries but his Goldream’s speedy display in the King’s Stand was perhaps not the shock that odds of 20/1 would imply. Cowell has taken this prize twice now and there are few better at training sprinters.

Possibly the best race with a view to the top class races to come was Wednesday’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. Dermot Welds Free Eagle demonstrated that all the hype was justified, whilst The Grey Gatsby posted a mighty effort and lost nothing in defeat. Both look horses to follow in the coming months.

Curvy put up one of the most tenacious displays of the week for David Wachman in the Ribblesdale. Overcoming trouble in running to grind it out in the final furlong. She looks a threat to all in the Irish Derby and Oaks.

The biggest race of all of fell to Trip To Paris from the Ed Dunlop yard. This four-year-old has shown remarkable progress to rise from being an 84 rated handicapper to winning the most prestigious staying race of them all, all in the space of a year. Hats off to Mr Dunlop.

There were many more fancied horses than Muhaarar heading into the inaugural running of the Commonwealth Cup. There will be few more fancied for the remaining sprint races of the season following a devastating display of speed which left a stellar field trailing in his wake.

Snow Sky received one of the rides of the week from Pat Smullen in the Hardwicke and must now come into the picture for the big prizes to come. His unexpected turn of foot must have come as a most pleasant surprise to Sir Michael Stoute who had otherwise endured a torrid time of things.

An honourable mention goes to all the other winners at this most competitive of meetings. Roll on Royal Ascot 2016.