Day two of Royal Ascot concluded with a comfortable success for Fujaira Prince in the 14-furlong Copper Horse Handicap.
The six-year-old grey was making his first appearance since coming home third in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot 12 months’ ago and stayed on resolutely for a three and three-quarter length over Selino, justifying 3/1 favouritism.
Trainer Roger Varian, saddling his sixth Royal Ascot winner, said: “Andrea gave Fujaira Prince a great ride. It looked a tricky draw beforehand, but he was intent on getting out and getting into a position. They didn’t go that quick so he could get over and sit second one off the fence.
“He got the horse in a good position, a no excuse position. The rest of it was pretty straightforward and he quickened up well in the straight.
“Fujaira Prince is quite a delicate horse, who is lightly-raced for a six-year-old. A great team at home have been working with this horse for a long time now. This has rewarded their patience and the owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid – he has given him a great day today.
“The obvious race that springs to mind is the Ebor. Whether that is his next race, we will see or not. We will see how he is tomorrow, see what else we fancy and what Sheikh Mohammed Obaid wants to do.
“The Ebor will be a nice race to get him back bouncing. Whether that will be his next run, I am not sure.
“I think he will stay further. Our next step last year before he had a setback was to go back up in trip and I think he is a horse could stay two miles.
“We will keep all options open with him at the moment. If he gives us a bit more durability than he has done over the last few years, there are a lot of exciting races to look at with this horse.
“The relief of having a winner this week is just as high. We do enjoy it but having the relief of one on the board makes us relax a little bit throughout the week.
“It is very strange circumstances. We are missing everyone being here, the atmosphere, the owners and the public. It is what it is. I think we are all understanding of the situation and I think the fact that we are racing, a lot of credit must go to everyone.
“Our third week back racing, the participants and people behind the scenes have done a great job of getting the show back on the road. God willing, we will be back to normal next year.”
It was a seventh Royal Ascot success for Andrea Atzeni, who said: “That was the plan – we were very keen to jump and go forward and get a good position. We thought he would stay. It was one of those things – when you’re drawn that wide, you have either got to go on and take a risk, or drop out and hope for the best, but we didn’t want to do that because we knew the horse would stay and we wanted to give him every chance.
“He is not a flashy horse, he just does enough. It was a great training performance; he hasn’t run since this meeting last year. He has had his issues and is very lightly raced for a six-year-old, but if he stays sound, touch wood, he could be a horse we can have a lot of fun with.
“I am sure he will stay even further than a mile and six. There could be a race for him, but I am going to let Roger [Varian] and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid decide where he will go next.”
4.40pm Copper Horse Handicap
- Fujaira Prince [drawn 16] Roger Varian 6-9-04 Andrea Atzeni 3/1 Fav
- Selino  James Fanshawe 4-9-02 Oisin Murphy 8/1
- Almani  David Simcock 4-9-02 Jim Crowley 12/1
- Themaxwecan  Mark Johnston 4-9-07 James Doyle 16/1
6th Royal Ascot win for trainer Roger Varian
7th Royal Ascot win for jockey Andrea Atzeni
Time: 3m 2.86s
Distances: 3¾, ½, ¾