The two Group 1s on the Day 4 card produced brilliant performances from two horses revealing a wonderful turn of foot in the last furlong, though they went about winning their races in very different ways.
At least ten horses could be given legitimate chances in the inaugural running of the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup, but Muhaarar put the race to bed in a matter of strides. As they went into the final furlong, jockey Dane O’Neil kicked on and quickly put clear air between himself and the field.
“He is the best horse I’ve trained,” said trainer Charlie Hills. “He is straightforward, versatile, has speed, is very attractive and has great conformation. He will be a great stallion.”
Coronation Stakes goes to France
Ervedya’s turn of foot was saved until late in the day and it was a close run thing with regular rival Found, but jockey Christophe Soumillon produced the French-trained filly with aplomb in the final furlong and the pair got up to take the Coronation Stakes by a neck.
“I knew that I had one run,” said jockey Christophe Soumillon. “Races are very hard to win here, the races are run at a stronger pace than in France. I saved her for the straight, but saw Ryan Moore going well and knew I had to get my timing right.”
It was a first Royal Ascot win for Soumillon at Ascot – his previous Royal success came in 2005 when the meeting was held at York. It was also a first Royal Ascot victory for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget.
Richard Hughes gets on the scoreboard
The Albany Stakes was won by Illuminate, her win giving young sire Zoffany a third winner this week and Richard Hughes a first in his last Royal Ascot as a jockey.
“She has a lot of speed,” said Hughes. “It is relief to ride a winner, things just had not been clicking right, but you just have to keep riding the same and keep the belief. I tend to forget it is my last meeting until someone says, but to be honest I am looking forward to my new career.”
Morrison’s plan comes together
Hughes doubled up later in the day in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes for trainer Hughie Morrison on Arab Dawn, a grey gelding by Dalakhani.
“It has been the plan for a time,” said Morrison, adding: “You always need a Royal Ascot plan for a horse such as this. I am grateful to the owners – they have been offered a lot of money for him, but they stuck by my enthusiasm for the horse.”
Simcock’s patience pays off with Balios
While Morrison was bagging a seventh Royal Ascot winner, trainer David Simcock trained his first, courtesy of Balios’s victory in the King Edward VII Stakes.
“He is a lovely horse and we have always held him in high regard,” reported the trainer. “We could not do a lot with him last year as he had sore shins, and he won’t over-race this year – he is one for the future, for next two or three years. He has speed and will be a better horse as he races.”
Moore: a modern-day record breaker
A Royal Ascot day couldn’t go by without a Ryan Moore winner and the leading jockey took this week’s tally to nine and a modern-day record for the number of winners ridden at one Royal Ascot meeting.
He gave Aloft a superb ride to take The Queen’s Vase, but when asked after the victory to give his thoughts on his record-breaking achievements, he merely said: “I’ve a few rides tomorrow, let me deal with those and we’ll think about this then!