Claymore fended off Reach For The Moon in the Hampton Court Stakes to deny the Queen a Royal Ascot winner.
All week the hope had been that, while the royal silks held various each-way chances, the John and Thady Gosden-trained Reach For The Moon was the one that would provide Her Majesty with a 25th winner at the meeting in her Platinum Jubilee year.
Frankie Dettori tracked Adam Kirby on Claymore into the straight and while on entering the final furlong 2-5 favourite Reach For The Moon drew level, as the contest wore on Jane Chapple-Hyam’s well-regarded colt, who had no joy in the French Guineas last time out, pulled out more to win by a length and three-quarters.
The 7-1 chance was providing Chapple-Hyam with a second winner of the week after Saffron Beach on Wednesday.
Kirby said: “It’s sad for the Queen, but Claymore has always been a proper horse. I think he proved that in his trial (second to Native Trail in the Craven) when he ran a great race. Last time was a disaster. The only positive to come out of it was that it made a man of him.
“His attitude today was brilliant. It was a first-class performance and hopefully he’ll take another step forward when he gets proper ground.”
He added: “Just to get a winner here is very special. It’s great to be here and full credit to the horse. You can never do it without them – you need the ammunition.”
Delighted owner Mary Slack said: “I’m really thrilled and delighted. We thought he would run well in the French Guineas but from a terrible draw he was hopeless. This was the return.
“I hardly watched really. I couldn’t be more excited and thanks to Jane who has been brilliant. She has had a great week.
“I’ve mainly had horses in South Africa, but I’ve been in racing for a long time. I have never been to these heights before.”
Chapple-Hyam said: “It was the plan to go out in front, he is in his comfort zone when he is up there bowling along in front. He has got a huge stride. Unfortunately last time in France he was drawn 16 of 16, he was out in the woods. It was very hard. Today was a small field and he was able to dominate and use his stride.
“So stepping up to 10 furlongs has helped him as well. It is lovely that Mary Slack has come over from South Africa for today and he will be able to stand at one of her studs.
“There is no plan at the moment, wherever Mary wants to go I’ll send him.”
Dettori said he felt in trouble a long way from home: “I said to John I wasn’t very happy at the three (furlong marker). Then I got serious at the two and managed to get my head in front, and in the last furlong he didn’t finish.
“Could be numerous different things – ground, the trip, I don’t know. But he didn’t run his race.”
On a disappointing day for the rider, Dettori, who was third in the Gold Cup on Stradivarius and went close with Saga for the Queen in the Britannia, said: “I can’t go back and do it again. There is always tomorrow.”
Gosden said: “The mother (Golden Stream) was very very fast; perhaps we’ve run him beyond his trip. I’m not sure he quite stayed it out, but we’ll see – it could well be a possibility.
“He’s never run over that trip before. He ran a great race first time back out in the Heron and My Prospero franked the form in the St James’s Palace, so we may well be dealing with a horse who only stays a mile – a stiff mile – I don’t know.”