Racing never fails to throw up surprises. But there cannot have been too many who envisaged Prosperous Voyage beating Inspiral in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes.
While Prosperous Voyage had finished a fine second in the 1000 Guineas behind Cachet, she was well adrift of John and Thady Gosden’s Inspiral in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Not surprisingly she was sent on her way at 16-1 – while the favourite was a very prohibitive 1-7, as Frankie Dettori sought to cement his rekindled relationship with the Gosdens courtesy of a Group One success, on a horse that provided his one bright spot at the Royal meeting.
In one of those twists that always seems to happen, had they still been on their well-publicised “sabbatical” Dettori could have ridden Prosperous Voyage as a close friend of her owners, Andrew Rosen and Marc Chan.
That would have been another blow for Rob Hornby, who lost the winning Irish Derby ride on Westover to Colin Keane and had to suffer the sad death of his first Group One winner, Scope, just days later.
Instead for once the fates were smiling on someone else other than Dettori, and Hornby bagged a second Group One prize for his main backer, Ralph Beckett. It was his first in Britain, too.
Hornby – who only enhanced his reputation in how he handled losing the ride on Westover – said: “It’s crazy how things can change. I’m just so pleased for the filly, I’ve got a great association with her and the whole team.
“She’s got a great character and a lot of personality. She ran such a brave race in the Guineas and was then a little disappointing at Ascot, but we don’t think the bend suited her as she’s a strong stayer.
“We were confident that wasn’t her running, she’d really come in her skin so we were coming here today to get back on track. She enjoys bowling away out in front and I thought I was perhaps going to be a good third three furlongs out when they came to challenge me.
“She’s just so brave, though, and gives her all and stayed strongly. It’s bonkers isn’t it!
“I’m in a very privileged position, riding these top-class horses. Not just Prosperous Voyage today but to be riding in Group Ones and competing at the top level, it’s where all jockeys want to be.”
Reflecting further on the last few weeks, Hornby admitted he had been feeling low.
“I was thinking it can’t get any worse (losing the ride on Westover and Scope dying). This is a crazy sport, it’s hugely exciting with the ups and downs,” he said.
“It’s terribly sad we lost Scope with the yard having won the Irish Derby just eight days previously. Scope was a fantastic horse for me, he gave me my first Group One, but we’ve some fantastic prospects to look forward to the rest of the season with.
“Nothing ever happened easy for me, I chipped away in my apprenticeship with Andrew Balding and I’ve a lot to thank him for.
“You love to see these horses competing in the biggest races. We always thought Westover was a very nice horse and to see him go and win was amazing. Yes, I wasn’t on him in Ireland but who knows what is around the corner.
“You just have to keep kicking and when the opportunity is given to you just try your best.”
Regarding the filly Hornby said: “By no means was this a fluke today as she has been ultra-consistent bar the Ascot run. Today it was a matter of keeping the revs up and keep it smooth and flowing like the Guineas.
“I’ve never had that sort of reception before. In France (when Scope won) there was no one there and it was a strange journey home. To have a reception like that was something I’ve never experienced. They always have a warm appreciative crowd here and I’m over the moon.”
“The Guineas was a huge run, but you always think what could have been – then what has happened in the last three weeks is bonkers, but that is what we do it for.”