2023 Royal Ascot Review

This year’s Royal Ascot was enthralling with world-class racing, with many shock results across the five days to boot.

And just like that, Royal Ascot finished for another year, and it was five days full to the brim with enthralling action, world-class racing and plenty of shock race winners to boot. Anticipation was high ahead of the first day, with many wanting to see who would come out on top, and this was also the last ever Royal Ascot for the legendary Frankie Dettori, who was not going to come away without several victories at Ascot to add to his tally.

Dettori has ended his final Royal Ascot with no less than 81 wins in all. In the racing meeting’s long and illustrious history, only Lester Piggott has more wins, with the Englishman racking up an astonishing 116 wins at Ascot throughout his career.

Other records were there to be broken this year, and Aidan O’Brien had his sights set on breaking Sir Michael Stoute’s long-standing record of 82 wins as a trainer at Royal Ascot. O’Brien went on to do just that, and he now has no less than 83 victories at Ascot as of the time of writing.

2023’s Royal Ascot will be memorable for many reasons, and let’s start this review with the action on day one.

Day One – Tuesday 20th June 2023

The Queen Anne Stakes got proceedings underway on the opening day, and this race delivered the first surprise winner of the week’s racing. Despite being the favourite to take home a victory ahead of the race, Modern Games failed to live up to the favourites tag, settling for fourth place, with Triple Time winning instead. Jockey Neil Callan guided Triple Time to victory after passing Inspiral to win the race in the final furlong.

River Tiber won the following race, the Coventry Stakes, after beating the likes of Army Ethos and Bucanero Fuerte to win. This was a highly significant moment for River Tiber’s trainer Aidan O’Brien, who, with this victory, matched Sir Michael Stoute’s record of 82 wins at Royal Ascot, with there being an opportunity for O’Brien to break this record in the coming days.

It certainly did not take long for Stoute’s record to be broken, as in the third race of the day, Ryan Moore rode Paddington to victory in the St. James’s Palace Stakes to hand Aidan O’Brien with his 83rd win at Ascot, breaking the record previously held by Sir Michael Stoute. It was a great race from Moore, who guided Paddington from fourth place to lead the race in the dying embers.

The Ascot Stakes saw Ahorsewithnoname, ridden by William Buick, win the race, and this was a second win at Royal Ascot for trainer Nicky Henderson whose most recent success at this race came in 2011 with Veiled.

Another historic moment came in the Wolferton Stakes, where jockey Jack Mitchell recorded his first-ever victory are Royal Ascot aboard Royal Champion, managing to hold off competition from Bolshoi Ballet and Buckaroo.

The Copper Horse Handicap was the final race on the opening day, won by Willie Mullins’ Vauban. It was a comfortable win for Ryan Moor and Vauban, who won reasonably comfortably in the end, with Absurde and Cemhaan finishing in second and third place, respectively.

Day Two – Wednesday 21st June 2023

Crimson Advocate (United States) became the first international winner at this year’s Royal Ascot after winning the Queen Anne Stakes, the opening race of day two. It was a competitive race, with John Velasquez guiding Crimson Advocate to a victory by a margin of just a nose. This was also trainer George Weaver’s maiden win at Royal Ascot.

Don’t Tell Claire was the favourite to win the Kensington Palace Fillies’ Handicap, but Jack Mitchell and Villanova Queen ended up with the race win. Don’t Tell Claire had to settle for second place, followed by Tarrabb (3rd), Adelaide (4th) and Yerwanthere (5th).

Jockey Daniel Tudhope managed to record his 11th career win at Royal Ascot aboard Rogue Millennium by charging from the back of the pack to win the race just a neck ahead of Random Harvest.

Another surprise winner emerged from the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes when Mostahdaf made fine progress through the field before crossing the finish line, four lengths ahead of eventual runner-up Luxembourg, the race favourite.

It was a 1-2 for trainer Ralph Beckett in the Royal Hunt Cup, with Jimi Hendrix winning the race ahead of Sonny Liston in second place. My favourite Astro King finished 21st, whilst Awaal (3rd) and Aerion Power (4th) rounded off the top four.

The Queen’s Vase was the penultimate race on day two, where Frankie Dettori rode favourite Gregory to victory in the race after seeing off challenges for the lead from the likes of Saint George, who ended 1 ½ lengths behind the leader. This victory ensured that Dettori would have a win to his name in his final-ever Royal Ascot.

The final race of day two saw favourite Maximum Impact end the race 23rd with Jason Hart riding Big Evs to victory in the Windsor Castle Stakes by a margin of three lengths ahead of Johannes Brahms, who ended up finishing in second place.

Day Three (Gold Cup Day) – Thursday, 22nd June 2023

Day three, better known as Gold Cup Day, did not disappoint, with several significant moments taking place across the day. Valiant Force equalled the highest starting price in a royal meeting when victory was secured in the Norfolk Stakes, the opening race of the day. This victory also saw the biggest price returned in a British or Irish Group Race. Favourite Elite Status had to settle for third place and just behind Malc (2nd).

Desert Hero’s win in the King George V Stakes saw the King and Queen secure their first-ever win at Royal Ascot and the first win for the Royal Family since the death of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Valiant King, ridden by Oisin Murphy, had to settle for second.

Ryan Moore is widely seen as one of the sport’s best jockeys, and the Englishman secured a 77th win at Royal Ascot in the Ribblesdale Stakes on board Warm Heart, and this was also yet another win for trainer Aidan O’Brien. The final two furlongs secured the victory, finishing two and a half lengths ahead of second place Lumiere Rock.

The day’s main event then followed with the latest Ascot Gold Cup. This was yet another win at this year’s Royal Ascot for Frankie Dettori, who rode Courage Mon Ami to victory ahead of Coltrane (2nd) and Subjectivist (3rd).

Following the Gold Cup, Docklands, ridden by jockey Hayley Turner, won an enthralling Britannia Stakes. In the dying embers of the race, Turner led Docklands to the race win after charging through the pack and finishing ahead of New Endeavour (2nd).

The penultimate race of day three was Waipiro, who won the Hampton Court Stakes with jockey Tom Marquand securing victory after living up to the favourites tag. The win was confirmed by a margin of two and a quarter lengths in the end, with Exoplanet (2nd), Bold Act (3rd) and Torito (4th) rounding off the top four.

In the final race of the day, the Buckingham Palace Stakes, Jamie Spencer, riding Witch Hunter, won the race in what was Spencer’s 27th win in a Royal Ascot meeting. Not only that, it was the Irish jockey’s first win in a royal meeting since securing victory in the Sandringham Stakes in 2018 aboard Agrotera.

Day Four – Friday 23rd June 2023

The penultimate day of this year’s Royal Ascot was enthralling, with the world-class racing action not relenting on the fourth day. The Albany Stakes was the first race of the day, and it was yet another landmark moment for Frankie Dettori, who rode Porta Fortuna to victory in the race, which was the Italian’s 80th at Royal Ascot in an incredible career. Porta Fortuna won by a length ahead of Matrika (2nd) and Soprano (3rd).

The Albany Stakes was followed by the Commonwealth Cup, where jockey Oisin Murphy rode Shaquille to victory on the day. It was a shock victory, with Shaquille managing to get the better of Little Big Bear, taking the lead in the last 100 yards to win the race by a length and a quarter.

Okita Soushi, ridden by Ryan Moore, held off competition from HMS President (2nd), Live Your Dream (3rd) and Ajero (4th) to win the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes. Moore led Okita Soushi from the back of the pack to the lead after entering the final furlong ahead of HMS President, with the former eventually winning by just a neck.

It was Tahiyra who won this year’s Coronation Stakes. Tahiyra was the favourite before the race, and this was jockey Chris Hayes’ first-ever victory at Royal Ascot – meanwhile, it was trainer Dermot Weld’s 18th win at Ascot in his career so far. This victory was secured after Tahiyra pulled ahead of Remarquee, who finished second place.

Frankie Dettori claimed his 81st victory at Royal Ascot in the latest edition of the Sandringham Stakes, with the Italian riding Coppice to victory one length ahead of Breege with Balalaika (3rd) and Unless (4th) finishing in the final two spots in the top four.

The King Edward VII Stakes followed with a win for Kevin Stott and King Of Steel. Significant progress was made through the field, and as they all came onto the final straight, Stott and King Of Steel managed to claim victory by a margin of 3 and a half lengths in the end, with Continuous finishing 2nd.

The final race of day four was the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes. It was a very tight and competitive race from start to finish, and it was only in the final furlong that Rhythm N Hooves, ridden by Hollie Doyle, managed to secure their victory. Kerdos finished second, with Conquistador and Radio Goo Goo finishing third and fourth, respectively.

Day Five – Saturday 24th  June 2023

Saturday saw the world-class horse racing that comes with Royal Ascot end for another year. The opening race of the day, the Chesham Stakes, was competitive. Snellen eventually sealed the win after finishing narrowly ahead, with just a neck separating first and second. Aidan O’Brien’s Pearls and Rubies was the runner-up in the end.

Age Of Kings, trained by O’Brien and ridden by Wayne Lordan, took home a shock win in the Jersey Stakes ahead of Zoology and Streets Of Gold in second and third place, respectively. This was Lordan’s first win at Royal Ascot since 2014, when he rode Slade Power to victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1), riding Slade Power.

Yet another shock in this year’s Royal Ascot came in the following race when Khaadem won the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes. With this victory, Khaadem became the biggest-priced winner in the history of this race. Highfield Princess, the favourite for the race, had to settle for a third-place finish just behind Sacred, who finished in second.

In the Hardwicke Stakes, West Wind Blows and Changingoftheguard were, in the end, no match for Pyledriver, who took home the win in this race. It was an incredible performance, with Pyledriver having been out for 336 days due to injury, finishing 1 ¼ lengths ahead of West Wind Blows in 2nd place.

This incredible race was followed by the Wokingham Stakes, the third to last race of 2023’s Royal Ascot. It was a third win of the week for Hollie Doyle, who rode Saint Lawrence to victory in this race, with favourite Orazio settling for 7th place. Apollo One and Juan Les Pins finished in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.

The penultimate race of Royal Ascot was the Golden Gates Stakes which saw Neil Callan and Burdett Road fend off competition from Lion of War (2nd) and Local Dynasty (3rd) to take the victory. Burdett did build up a significant lead, only for his to be eaten into as fatigue set in, but in the end, Burdett Road could hang onto the victory, beating Lion of War by just ¾ of a length.

The action at 2023’s Royal Ascot ended with the Queen Alexandra Stakes. Race favourite Dawn Rising won the race in the end, with Ryan Moore securing yet another win at Ascot. Dawn Rising was the 12th Irish trained winner of the week, and this was also a 6th victory for Moore.

Royal Ascot 2023 was incredible, with history being made and some world-class horse racing on show for everyone in attendance. At Eventmasters, we are already looking ahead to when Royal Ascot gets underway again in June 2024.

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