Royal Ascot 2017 Results

Royal Ascot 2017 Review: a write up of the highlights of the biggest festival of the flat racing year

In terms of sheer spectacle, pomp and pageantry off the track, and relentless class and quality on it, the five day Royal Ascot Festival remains unequalled. Here we pick out the highlights and main stories for each of the five days.

Day 1: Aurelia The Queen In Kings Stand As Churchill Bombs Out

The boys in blue of Godolphin were to enjoy a fantastic festival this year, and it all started in the very first race. “The best horse Richard Fahey has ever trained”, Ribchester powering home under William Buick to land the Queen Anne Stakes.

Godolphin were to strike again in the St James’s Palace Stakes, as Barney Roy found this flat galloping track much more to his liking than Newmarket, comprehensibly reversing 2000 Guineas form with the mighty Churchill, who could manage only fourth. Sound And Silence’s victory in the concluding Windsor Castle Stakes, made it three on the day for Godolphin.

It wasn’t all about the powerful owners though, as Rajasinghe got on the board for the underdogs when landing the Coventry for Richard Spencer and Rebel Racing.

The undoubted star performance of Day 1 came in the King’s Stand Stakes. Wesley Ward’s Lady Aurelia took the breath away at this meeting last year when blitzing home in the Queen Mary, but could she do it again up in class against the boys? The answer was a resounding yes, as she proved in a different class once again to score by three lengths.

Day 2: Heartache Downs Happy and Highland The Hero Again

Day 2’s opening, Jersey Stakes, featured a cracking display from an emerging French star. Having to make his challenge from the “wrong” side of the track, it was quite some effort from Andre Fabre’s Le Brivido to haul in Spirit Of Valour. France were to score again later as the classy Qemah showed her liking for this venue once again in the Duke of Cambridge.

The Queen Mary Stakes once again featured a Wesley Ward trained hot favourite in the shape of Happy Like A Fool. However the US raider simply had no answer to the Clive Cox trained Heartache in the closing stages. Cox has had a few smart sprinters over the years, and most definitely has another here. Ward was to gain compensation in the slightly unexpected form of Con Te Partiro who claimed the concluding Sandringham Handicap under an inspired Jamie Spencer ride.

Having now claimed victory in Ireland, England, Hong Kong and the USA, Aidan O’Brien’s globetrotter, Highland Reel, is rapidly becoming one of the most popular horses in training. It takes a certain toughness and will to win to rack up the sequence of wins this one has, and the King George hero utilised these attributes to tremendous effect once again in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, getting back up to deny Decorated Knight and Ulysees in a captivating renewal.

Day 3: Orange The New Order in Gold Cup Thriller

One of the potential headline stories headed into this week was the fact that one more Royal Ascot win for Sir Michael Stoute would make him the most successful trainer in the history of this fabulous meeting. That however remains a potential headline for another year, as Stoute failed to get on the scoreboard. Nowhere did he come closer though than in the Ribblesdale Stakes as his Mori went down by just a neck when splitting the John Gosden pair of Coronet and Hertford Dancer.

With the first of the Aidan O’Brien bankers having flopped with the eclipse of Churchill on the opening day, hopes were high that Order Of St George would deliver in this year’s staying showpiece of the Gold Cup. In the end, the defending Champion couldn’t quite do it, coming with his trademark late run he reeled in everything bar Michael Bell’s Big Orange, who would simply not be denied. Now a six time Group race winner, this was a well-deserved first Group 1 for this tough as teak stayer.

Elsewhere, the Derby form received an early boost as Benbatl claimed victory in the Hampton court Stakes, and Jamie Spencer demonstrated his straight mile prowess once again aboard Bless Him in the Britannia Stakes.

Day 4: Star Performances From O’Brien Duo

As we hit Day 4 it was certainly about time the O’Brien hotpots began to oblige, and – thankfully for favourite backers – oblige they did, and in some style.

First came Caravaggio in this year’s Commonwealth Cup. One of the most anticipated contests of the week certainly lived up to its billing. Harry Angel adopted familiar trailblazing tactics and saw off the fellow Godolphin runner, Blue Point; looming large though was the O’Brien trained son of Scat Daddy, who mowed down the leader to win going away in a sensational display of speed.

Dual 1000 Guineas winner, Winter, was up next in the Coronation Stakes and with much of the opposition seemingly running scared, was sent off the shortest priced favourite of the week at just 4/9. The beautiful grey never looked in any danger in recording a comfortable 2¼l success. With Roly Poly and Hydrangea filling the places, this was yet another big race 1-2-3 for the master of Ballydoyle.

In the days other contests, the Derby form was further enhanced as Permian and Khalidi filled the first two places in the King George V Stakes, Gosden got on the board again with Stradivarius in the Queens Vase and Godolphin landed another winner with Rare Rhythm in the Duke Of Edinburgh.

Day 5: Tin Turns To Gold In Diamond Jubilee

The concluding day of the Royal Ascot Festival began with yet more O’Brien success, as the big gamble September lived up to the hype. The daughter of Deep Impact was set a lot to do by Ryan Moore, but powered right away for an impressive 2 ¼l success in the end. She’s now just 5/1 in places to follow in Winter’s footsteps and take next season’s 1000 Guineas.

Idaho’s later victory in the Hardwicke Stakes was enough to confirm Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore as the top trainer and jockey of the week. It also claimed a narrow win for Coolmore over Godolphin in the race to be the top owner.

The big race of the day went to James Fanshawe and The Tin Man, as the speedy five year old came out on top in another pulsating finish to the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Having also taken the Champion Sprint over this course and distance back in October, the son of Equiano is worthy of close attention whenever he lines up here.

The Festival concluded with the Willie Mullins runner Thomas Hobson narrowly failing to achieve the remarkable double of winning both the Ascot and Queen Alexandra Stakes at the same Festival. Mark Johnston’s, Oriental Fox, just outstaying him in the end to claim a famous double of his own, having first taken this prize in 2015.