Royal Ascot Star Runners & Riders 2021
- Frankie Dettori and Palace Pier land the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot
- Quick Suzy lives up to her name under jockey, Gary Caroll
- Subjectivist out runs Stradivarius to take the Ascot Gold Cup
- Oisin Murphy bounces back with Alcohol Free in Royal Ascot Coronation Stakes
- Dream of Dreams finally seals the Diamond Jubilee Stakes
So another year at Royal Ascot has passed, and what a week it was. There really is no occasion quite like a day out at the races, and there’s nothing more impressive than the crown jewel in the summer sporting calendar – Royal Ascot.
The annual meeting is loved by royalty and celebrities alike. Everyone from Her Majesty the Queen to the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has attended the five-day meet.
Like so many special sporting events, Royal Ascot was forced to take place behind closed doors last year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the Royal Meeting welcomed the return of spectators in 2021, and despite the reduced capacity, racing fans decked out in their best frocks all the same.
Prince Charles donned a dapper grey suit, while Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrived in a sublime striped blue coat and matching face mask. After deciding not to attend the Royal Meeting last year, Queen Elizabeth II dazzled in a mint green ensemble and could be seen with a broad smile on her face throughout the day.
We’re going to relive some of the finest moments on the racetrack at Royal Ascot 2021 ahead of its return in 2022.
Frankie Dettori and Palace Pier Land Queen Anne Stakes – Tuesday
The five days of action kicked off with the Queen Anne Stakes, and it didn’t take long for the packed crowds to see an exceptional performance.
On Tuesday, Palace Pier justified odds-on favouritism in the Queen Anne Stakes to get the King of Royal Ascot, Frankie Dettori, off to the perfect start and a milestone success at Ascot Racecourse – the track that made him famous.
At the time of writing, only Lester Piggott has won more races than Frankie Dettori, who cruised home atop of Palace Pier by a length and a half. The John and Thady Gosden-trained bay colt secured victory twelve months earlier in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and followed up in front of the biggest crowd allowed at Ascot Racecourse for more than 15 months.
Dettori had it all cleverly mapped out, keeping Palace Pier slightly on the flank early in the race to get some cover behind Prince Eiji at the halfway point. A victory didn’t seem imminent, but Palace Pier shifted into top gear with a furlong to run, powering past the other runners to take the win by almost two lengths.
Despite suffering defeat to Baaeed in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse, Palace Pier has topped the Horse of the Year standings.
The opening day rarely fails to live up to its expectations, and racegoers were indeed not disappointed. With three thrilling Group 1 races on the card in the space of two hours, the 12,000 spectators hardly had time to draw breath before the next adrenaline-pumping performance got underway.
Palace Pier’s run provided Italian jockey Frankie Dettori with his fourth Group 1 victory of the British flat racing season and his 75th victory at Royal Ascot!
Not a bad way to kick off the week.
Quick Suzy Lives Up to Her Name in Queen Mary Stakes – Wednesday
Irish trainer Gavin Cromwell proved to the punters that he could train sprinters and jumpers after securing his first-ever win at Royal Ascot in 2021.
It was Quick Suzy’s first G2 race, and the two-year-old filly lived up to her name to beat odds-on favourite Twilight Gleaming by a length and a quarter. Although the US challenger came close to winning, she lacked the finishing burst that Quick Suzy possessed and settled for second place.
Trainer Gavin Cromwell was delighted by the result, stating: “It’s fantastic to have a winner at Royal Ascot. We didn’t know where Quick Suzy lay with the American or English horses, but we were confident she would run a big race.”
Cheerupsleepyjeana, who was down at 50-1 with the bookmakers, also surprised crowds after placing third.
Subjectivist Takes the Ascot Gold Cup – Thursday
The feature race of Ladies Day of Royal Ascot 2021 was the Ascot Gold Cup.
It went the way of Mark Johnston and Subjectivist, who denied Stradivarius a win in the race and landed jockey Joe Fanning, his ninth Royal Ascot win and first-ever Gold Cup victory.
The 13-2 shot Subjectivist blitzed the field under veteran Joe Fanning, leaving Frankie Dettori and Stradivarius with too much to do to catch up.
Dettori and Stradivarius have shared some beautiful days, with the second half of the Italian’s career in the saddle primarily being with John Gosden, trainer of Stradivarius.
However, Frankie Dettori’s misjudgement cost Stradivarius a record-equalling fourth win in the Ascot Gold Cup. Instead, the John Gosden-trained horse settled for fourth place, behind Tony Mullins’ Princess Zoe (28-1) and A M Balding’s Spanish Mission (7-1).
Heading into the final two furlongs, Fanning and Subjectivist fired ahead to score five lengths clear of the second-place winner, Princess Zoe.
Trainer Mark Johnston said:
“With half a mile to go, we were in unknown territory, but Joe hadn’t asked for an effort, and we knew from Dubai how he could finish off.”
Oisin Murphy and Alcohol Free Seal the Coronation Stakes – Friday
Despite the less than ideal weather conditions, Ascot managed to survive an inspection at lunchtime on Friday, albeit it was quite the emotional rollercoaster on the penultimate day of Royal Ascot.
No doubt, Oisin Murphy, who has enjoyed a spectacular racing season, will have mixed feelings about the Royal Ascot Friday following the sobering experience in the G1 Commonwealth Cup.
The Coronation Stakes was likened to the ride of redemption by some newswire reports after the Irish jockey was demoted from first to second place in the Commonwealth Cup with Dragon Symbol.
Oisin Murphy might not have even had time to soak in the news given that he had to mount Alcohol Stakes moment after the announcement was made. Nonetheless, he demonstrated his mental fortitude 40 minutes later, bouncing back from the Group 1 loss by securing the top position in the Coronation Stakes.
Having placed fifth in her last start, the 11-2 Alcohol Free was not a bookie favourite, but she returned to top form on a rain-soaked fourth day in Berkshire.
Dream of Dreams Delivers in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – Saturday
Entering the final day of Royal Ascot, Dream Of Dreams made it third time lucky after finally landing the Diamond Jubilee Stakes to give trainer Sir Michael Stoute his 82nd victory at the renowned Ascot Racecourse.
If ever a horse deserved top honours, it would be seven-year-old Dream of Dreams, beaten by Blue Point in 2019 and pipped to the post by Hello Youmzain last year.
Jockey Ryan Moore combined with Sir Michael Stoute for the victory in the feature for the final day of Royal Ascot. Art Power and last year’s QIPCO British Champions Sprint winner Glen Shiel looked impressive early on in the race.
However, the 3-1 favourite Dream of Dreams made amends for two previous near-misses, pulling away to win a length ahead of the persistent Glen Shield, who just didn’t have enough fuel left in the tank.
Sir Michael Stout has not won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes since 1985 with Dafayna, so no doubt this will be a memorable victory for the Irish trainer.
It was certainly a perfect way to end a spectacular week.
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