After drawing a blank on the first day, trainer Aidan O’Brien chalked up his first win of Royal Ascot 2017 with globetrotting superstar Highland Reel (9/4) who stamped his class on the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes under Ryan Moore.
The five-year-old son of Galileo took his career earnings to £5.97 million with the win. The victory provided the Ballydoyle handler with his 56th victory at the Royal Meeting overall and was also deemed to be his 300th Group or Grade success on the flat and jumps.
Reflecting on reaching 300 Group and Grade One victories, Flat and Jump, O’Brien remarked: “We are a small part in a massive team. It’s all pure teamwork by all the people involved in this process. It’s a huge chain of people involved and we feel privileged to be a part of it. The lads make it happen and we are so grateful to them for helping guide us along.”
Highland Reel’s victory was also a 44th Royal Ascot winner for jockey Ryan Moore, and a first in this race which, with a £750,000 prize fund, is the most valuable contest of the Royal Meeting.
The Duke of Cambridge Stakes has gone to French trainers twice in the 13 years since its conception in 2004 (Sabana Perdida, Alain de Royer-Dupre, 2008 and Usherette, Andre Fabre, 2016).
There were four French-based runners this year: Furia Cruzada (Satoshi Kobayashi), Aim To Please (Francois Doumen), Qemah (Jean Claude Rouget) and last year’s heroine Usherette (Andre Fabre).
Winner of the G1 Coronation Stakes at last year’s Royal Meeting, Jean Claude-Rouget-trained Qemah (5/2 favourite) struck gold for France once more with a game success in the G2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes.
The four-year-old daughter of Danehill Dancer travelled beautifully throughout the mile event and quickened up nicely under Gregory Benoist to register a three-quarter length success.
Seventeen years after training her first Royal Ascot winner, Amanda Perrett came up with her second thanks to Zhui Feng in the Royal Hunt Cup.
Owned by John Connolly and Odile Griffith, and ridden by Martin Harley, Zhui Feng (25/1) and most of the field came up the stands’ side before he clinched victory by half a length from Godolphin’s Blair House (16/1).
Perrett said: “He loves the track and the ground, was very brave from the front, and we had a great draw  – and it was a great front-running ride.
“It’s been a long time since Give The Slip won [the 2000 King George V Handicap], and it’s marvellous to have a horse good enough to run here, let alone be a winner.”
Royal Ascot 2017 winners – Wednesday 21st June 2017
- G3 Jersey Stakes – LE BRIVIDO (HRH Prince Faisal Bin Khaled) Andre Fabre FR 3-9-01 Pierre-Charles Boudot 2/1 Fav
- G2 Queen Mary Stakes -HEARTACHE (The Hot To Trot Syndicate – Heartache) Clive Cox 2-9-00 Adam Kirby 5/1
- G2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes – QEMAH (Al Shaqab Racing) Jean-Claude Rouget FR 4-9-00 Gregory Benoist 5/2 Fav
- G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – HIGHLAND REEL (Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor) Aidan O’Brien IRE 5-9-00 Ryan Moore 9/4
- Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap) – ZHUI FENG (John Connolly & Odile Griffith) Amanda Perrett 4-9-00 Martin Dwyer 25/1
- Listed Sandringham Stakes (Handicap) – CON TE PARTIRO (Hat Creek Racing) Wesley Ward USA 3-9-05 Jamie Spencer 20/1
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