Certain names spring to mind when reminiscing abiut Royal Ascot and here are some of main heroes.
If there ever was a horse to personify equine greatness, the once-in-a-lifetime Frankel was just that. Unbeaten in a stunning career spanning three seasons under the tutelage of the late Sir Henry Cecil, he recorded five of his fourteen wins at Ascot, with two of them coming at the Royal meeting. His win in the 2011 St James’ Palace Stakes was as nail-biting as it was electrifying, with the eventual winning margin just 3/4 of a length, the shortest margin he ever won by. A year on, things could have hardly have looked more different. Frankel powered effortlessly clear of a star-studded Queen Anne field and earned himself a rating of 147, the highest ever recorded since ratings began after the Second World War. He was, officially, the best racehorse we have ever seen.
The superstar filly Attraction’s story was one of fairytales. Born with crooked forelegs, her owner/breeder the Duke of Roxburghe believed he would never be able to sell her as a yearling and elected to race her in his own colours instead. But her unstylish pedigree and unique action proved to be no obstacle. She stormed to victory at Royal Ascot as a two-year-old, winning the 2003 Queen Mary Stakes by three lengths. A year later Attraction returned to record her eighth consecutive win in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes, with a bold pillar-to-post display that had by then become the hallmark of a horse that the public had taken to their hearts. She retired in 2005 with five Group 1 wins to her name, and will forever be remembered as the first filly to win both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas.
Saeed Bin Suroor
Since 1995 Saeed Bin Suroor has been a fixture at Royal Ascot as the main trainer for Godolphin, the thoroughbred racing enterprise founded and owned by Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai. Godolphin’s emblematic royal blue silks have been carried to victory many times at the Royal Meeting thanks to horses under the care of Bin Suroor, a former policeman from the Emirate. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Bin Suroor enjoyed a sustained run of dominance rarely seen in British horse racing, in that time guiding the likes of Dubai Millennium, Fantastic Light, Kayf Tara, Doyen and Mutafaweq to glory at Royal Ascot, often in partnership with the hugely popular jockey Frankie Dettori. Bin Suroor’s glittering CV contains four British Champion Trainer titles, seven wins in the Queen Anne Stakes, four in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and five Ascot Gold Cups.
Ryan Moore’s brilliance at Royal Ascot in 2015, when the jockey’s genius in the saddle helped him notch a post-war record of nine winners at a single Royal Meeting, had the welcome side-effect of catapulting one of horse racing’s greatest ever names back into the spotlight. The all-time record for most Royal Ascot victories in a year by a jockey is twelve, set by Fred Archer in 1878. The record may have been set in a distant age but Archer’s talents were from another world. By the age of 29 he had ridden 2,748 winners at a strike rate of 34%, had been crowned Champion Jockey in Britain 13 years in a row and ridden a double century of winners in a season eight times. Archer’s life ended tragically after the 1886 season. A long-standing battle with depression, probably caused by a lifetime of fasting (at 5’10” he was unnaturally tall for a jockey) and intensified by the death of his wife, ended in suicide at his Newmarket home. His achievements should never be forgotten.
To read more entries for the Royal Ascot Hall of Fame, purchase the Royal Ascot magazineat Ascot Racecourse
Tickets for this year's Royal Ascot are proving as popular as ever, with the Queen Anne Enclosure sold out on Thursday 16th, Friday 17th and Saturday 18th June. The Windsor Enclosure has sold out on both Thursday 16th and Saturday 18th June, with limited availability on Friday 17th June.
We still have availability on the opening two days of the Royal Meeting, while upgrades that include Queen Anne Enclosure admission are still available across all five days.
For all latest availability and to book pleaseclick here