Ryan Moore broke the post-war record for winners at Royal Ascot when Aloft gave him a ninth winner of the week in the Queen’s Vase on Friday.
However, the crack English jockey was on the receiving end of a master-class from Christophe Soumillon in the feature race on day 4.
Riding Ervedya for the Aga Khan, Soumillion threaded his way through traffic to deliver the French-trained filly with perfect timing in the ￡375,000 (US$595,260) Cronation Stakes for fillies over 1,600m.
Soumillon pounced just as Moore was entertaining thoughts of victory aboard Found, who went to the front 300m from home. Yet having reeled the leader in, Soumillion had to contend with the even later flourish of Kevin Manning aboard Lucida.
It was a pulsating finish to a championship race that saw Ervedya prevail by a neck from Found, with Lucida a half-length back in third place. Miss Temple City, the US challenger, acquitted herself with credit in taking fourth place.
Soumillon has long been among the finest jockeys in Europe, but this was just his second Royal Ascot winner — and his first at Ascot itself. His previous victory aboard Valixir — also in the Aga Khan’s silks — was gained at York in 2006, when Ascot racecourse was being redeveloped.
“I was lucky to find a gap through them,” an elated Soumillon said. “I knew Found was the horse to beat and so I stayed behind her. Maybe that’s why we won. If I had challenged down the outside she might have found the [race] distance a bit too far for her.”
The winning trainer, Jean-Claude Rouget, was equally ecstatic.
“It has been a deep dream of mine to win a Group 1 race here,” Rouget said.
At least Found ran up to her best under Moore, who had high hopes of winning the newly inaugurated ￡375,000 Commonwealth Cup aboard Hootenanny. However, the American speedball failed to fire over the 1,200m journey.
The race was won by an emerging star in Muhaarar, who exploded under jockey Dane O’Neill to scorch clear of Limato to win by more than three lengths.
“It was all very easy and a bit surreal,” O’Neill said.
Owned by Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, Muhaarar is trained by Charlie Hills, who saddled Dutch Connection to win the Jersey Stakes on Wednesday.
“This is probably the best horse I have trained,” said Hills, who also saddled the fourth-placed finisher, Salt Island. “He did it in great style.”
On another warm day at the royal racecourse, two jockeys to whom Royal Ascot had been unkind this year experienced better fortunes.
Jamie Spencer, so unfortunate to be denied victory on The Grey Gatsby in the Prince Of Wales’ Stakes on Wednesday, found some consolation aboard Balios in the King Edward VII Stakes.
Spencer brought the David Simcock-trained horse through from last place to collar Mr Singh after the favorite, Stravagante, had injured himself during the race.
Stravagante is trained by Michael Stoute, who suffered similar misfortune when his horse Capal Path, owned by the Queen of England, was injured in a race on Thursday.
Having stayed overnight at a local veterinary clinic, Capel Path was moved to Newmarket on Friday for further examination.
However, Stoute’s misfortunes were later compounded when Yarrow, his runner in the last race, was quickly eased out of the contest by jockey Pat Smullen.
Although Richard Hughes had ridden some fancied horses throughout the week, the jockey had yet to visit the winner’s enclosure at his last Royal Ascot before his retirement.
That changed when Hughes rode two winners. Appropriately, the first of them came in the Albany Stakes aboard Illuminate, who is trained by Richard Hannon. It was with the support of Hannon’s father, also Richard, that Hughes rose to the top of his profession.
“He is going to leave a big hole,” an emotional Hannon said of Hughes, who is also his brother-in-law.
Kamaru Usman put on a Fight Island masterclass yesterday to retain his UFC welterweight world title by grinding down a brave Jorge Masvidal in Abu Dhabi. “I’m at the top of the mountain and everyone’s looking at me,” said the 33-year-old Usman after scoring a unanimous points decision 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the three judges’ cards. The Nigerian-American Usman (17-1) looked the fresher fighter, with Masvidal (35-14) having taken the UFC251 headline bout at just six days’ notice when Brazil’s Gilbert Burns (19-3) tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to travel. The Las Vegas-based UFC pulled off a power-packed schedule with
Thailand international Pitsamai Sornsai, a new arrival for Inter Taoyuan, is to lead her team against Taipei Bravo tomorrow in the 10th round of the Taiwan Mulan Football League. Sornsai, who is nicknamed Pui, has attracted interest from media and fans as the first foreigner signed to play in Taiwan’s women’s league. Inter are among six teams battling for the title this year. The addition of Sornsai is a boost for the international profile of women’s soccer in Taiwan and elevates the competition. The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience, including from the Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Championship, the Southeast Asian Games and
MONKEYS ALSO WIN: The Rakuten Monkeys kept the Brothers from the first-half title as they dominated the Uni-President Lions, scoring four in the fourth The CTBC Brothers still need another win to clinch the first-half CPBL title, despite thrashing the hapless Fubon Guardians 17-0 yesterday, after the Rakuten Monkeys beat the Uni-President Lions 9-2. Fans of CTBC Brothers were hoping to celebrate the first-half title, with a crowd of more than 10,000 packed into the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium for their home game against the Guardians. The figure was an attendance record for this year, when baseball and most other major sports events worldwide have been played in empty venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Entering the game, CTBC had pushed their magic number down to 2, meaning
Preparing to complete a ninth Serie A campaign without winning the scudetto, AC Milan decided that returning to the pinnacle of club soccer required a new approach. Roc Nation, the entertainment agency of US rapper Jay-Z is at the center of it, linking up with Milan to scour the world for sponsors, and use concerts and other high-profile events to attract new fans. And who better to ask about how to end a title drought than the team who just won their league for the first time in 30 years? “We have been talking to Liverpool, because they’ve been through the same path