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Angel Bleu and Kinross make it an opening day to remember for Ralph Beckett at Goodwood

Angel Bleu and Kinross provided trainer Ralph Beckett and owner Marc Chan with a Group Two double on the opening afternoon of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Turning out just three days after filling the runner-up spot in the Listed Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot, Angel Bleu was sent off at 100-30 for the Unibet Vintage Stakes under Frankie Dettori.

The Dark Angel colt sweated up on the way to post and raced enthusiastically for much of the race, but still managed to quicken up smartly in the rain-softened ground once popped the question by his rider.

He did hang quite badly right when delivering his challenge, interfering with The Acropolis in the process.

But while the previously-unbeaten Coventry Stakes winner Berkshire Shadow (13-8 favourite) was doing his best work at the finish, Angel Bleu had enough in reserve to hold him at bay by three-quarters of a length.

Beckett said: “Frankie got off him on Saturday and said ‘he’s been busy, give him a break’, so I thought we should leave him alone.

“(But) I fed him on Sunday and I looked at him sideways and thought ‘you don’t look like you’ve had a hard race to me at all’.

“I jogged him up, and he bounced up the yard – Marc Chan’s racing manager called me up and said ‘why don’t we geld him now and send him to Hong Kong in the autumn, he can go there and have a good time?’ – he was a little surprised when it rained and we decided to declare him!

“If we hadn’t declared and the field had fallen apart like this, I’d have been really, really cross with myself. With the rain last night, I could hardly believe my luck.

“He likes a bit of juice and he likes soft ground – we’ll think about the Dewhurst now I should think.”

Dettori added: “Horses make a fool of you, but a combination of running round the turn, soft ground and being good on the way to post made a difference. He loved it.”

Of the Andrew Balding-trained Berkshire Shadow, rider Oisin Murphy said: “Off a slow pace he relaxed very well, but took a while to get going. When I gave him a kick he stayed on well and hit the line hard.

“I think he needs another furlong, because he saw out the trip really well.”

Ralph Beckett at Goodwood
Ralph Beckett at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

Little more than half an hour later Angel Bleu’s stablemate Kinross carried the Chan colours to victory in the Unibet Lennox Stakes.

Off the track since winning the John Of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock at the end of May, the 6-1 shot powered through in the final furlong under Rossa Ryan to deny 2-1 favourite Creative Force by a neck – with Happy Power and last year’s winner Space Blues close up in third and fourth.

Beckett said of his second big-race winner: “He shot through the gap two (furlongs) down and he sort of floated home in the last furlong.

“I was really keen that Rossa rode him absolutely cold today, and it’s panned out perfectly – as it can do sometimes.

“I was a bit worried he was getting into a row with Danny Tudhope at the top of the hill – I thought we were going to be shoved down on the fence, but it opened up and all was well.”

Kinross has realised his previous potential this season, with two Group-race wins in as many starts since being gelded in March.

Beckett added: “He’s not been a difficult for to train – he’s just been a difficult horse to read.

“I felt last year that I was always trying to get him ready, but I didn’t bother getting him ready for Kempton (last November) – I just got him there in reasonable shape when he won the Hyde Stakes.

“Taking him to Dubai (then) seemed like a good decision at the time – but that didn’t work.

“He was enjoying himself too much, enjoying his holidays – so gelding him was a good idea and sticking to this ground was a good idea.

“The form book doesn’t lie – his mother was very good on soft ground, and we’ll be sticking to good or soft from now on.

“He’ll definitely go up in grade. He’s in the (Prix) Maurice de Gheest, and the (Prix de la) Foret is a race I’ve always thought would suit him – so I think we’ll work back from that.”

Ryan voiced his gratitude to Beckett for the opportunity.

“I was pretty shocked to see myself booked to ride,” he said.

“But Ralph has shown in recent years that he’s never afraid to give lads a chance. That’s what he’s done, and I’m very thankful.”

Charlie Appleby was not too downcast over Creative Force and Space Blues.

The Godolphin trainer said: “Both horses ran well, but unfortunately as far as William’s (Buick) horse (Space Blues) is concerned it was not the strongest-run race and he said they were always picking up at a crucial point. I think we will look to the Hungerford in a couple of weeks.

“It was another solid run from Creative Force. He was going forward right to the line having travelled very well. We might contemplate bringing him back (in trip) for the Maurice de Gheest, but I’m just as keen to give him a break before heading to Haydock (for the Sprint Cup).”

Angel heaven sent for Dettori and Beckett

A quick reappearance proved no barrier to success for Angel Bleu, as Frankie Dettori steered Ralph Beckett’s colt to victory in the Unibet Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

Runner-up in the Listed Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, the Dark Angel youngster was sent off at 100-30 to go one better in this Group Three contest just three days later.

Having sweated up on the way to post, Angel Bleu raced enthusiastically for much of the race, but quickened up smartly in the rain-softened ground once popped the question by Dettori.

He did hang quite badly rightly when delivering his challenge, interfering with The Acropolis in the process.

The previously-unbeaten Coventry Stakes winner Berkshire Shadow (13-8 favourite) was doing his best work at the finish, but Angel Bleu had enough in reserve to hold him at bay by three-quarters of a length.

Beckett said: “Frankie got off him on Saturday and said ‘he’s been busy, give him a break’, so I thought we should leave him alone.

“(But) I fed him on Sunday and I looked at him sideways and thought ‘you don’t look like you’ve had a hard race to me at all’.

“I jogged him up and he bounced up the yard, (owner) Marc Chan’s racing manager called me up and said ‘why don’t we geld him now and send him to Hong Kong in the autumn, he can go there and have a good time’ – he was a little surprised when it rained and we decided to declare him!

“If we hadn’t declared and the field had fallen apart like this, I’d have been really, really cross with myself. With the rain last night I could hardly believe my luck.”

“He like a bit of juice and he likes soft ground, we’ll think about the Dewhurst now I should think.”

Of the Andrew Balding-trained Berkshire Shadow, rider Oisin Murphy said: “Off a slow pace he relaxed very well, but took a while to get going. When I gave him a kick he stayed on well and hit the line hard.

“I think he needs another furlong, as he saw out the trip really well.”

Stradivarius faces 10 rivals in bid for fifth Goodwood Cup

Stradivarius is set to face 10 rivals in his bid for a remarkable fifth victory in Tuesday’s Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup.

John and Thady Gosden’s superstar stayer has landed the two-mile Group One ever year since 2017, beating the great Double Trigger’s record of three victories in the race in the 1990s.

Despite having come up short in his bid for a fourth Gold Cup success at Royal Ascot last month, Stradivarius will be a hot favourite to get back on the winning trail on the Sussex Downs under Frankie Dettori.

With his Gold Cup hero Subjectivist sidelined by injury, Mark Johnston instead saddles his half-brother Sir Ron Priestley and his stablemate Nayef Road.

Sir Ron Priestley steps up to two miles for the first time off the back of winning the Group Two Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket over a mile and a half, while Nayef Road was runner-up to Stradivarius in last year’s Goodwood Cup, but has been disappointing of late.

Andrew Balding will have high hopes for Spanish Mission, who was one place ahead of Stradivarius when third in the Gold Cup.

Franny Norton celebrates after winning the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes on Sir Ron Priestley
Franny Norton celebrates after winning the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes on Sir Ron Priestley (David Davies/Jockey Club)

Aidan O’Brien retains a strong hand, with recent Curragh Cup winner Amhran Na Bhfiann joined by Serpentine and Santiago, who won the Derby and the Irish Derby respectively last season.

The Donnacha O’Brien-trained Emperor Of The Sun is a fourth Irish challenger.

Away He Goes (Ismail Mohammed), Mekong (Jamie Osborne) and Trueshan (Alan King) complete the field.

Stradivarius’ owner Bjorn Nielsen expects his Goodwood rivals to “try to make it difficult” for the reigning champion, but he believes his star stayer can to rise to the challenge in an event which is part of the Qipco British Champions series.

He said: “Most of the time when you go racing as an owner you hope they run well, and you hope maybe they’ll win, but Stradivarius is that rarest of horse and it’s been the case since he won his first Gold Cup that you go there hoping he isn’t going to lose, so the feeling watching a race is the opposite to what it normally is.

“The way it is with him now is that he’s always the one they have to beat and they ride to beat him, so a lot of horses will be trying to make sure he doesn’t have a good run round. They are going to try to make it difficult for him and that’s what happened at Ascot. But if he’s out and about he’s going to win.”

Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori after winning at Goodwood last year
Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori after winning at Goodwood last year (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Nielsen would have relished a rematch with Subjectivist at Goodwood and while that rival will not line up, the owner is still anticipating a tough test.

He said: “Stradivarius had worked very well before the Gold Cup and we were pretty confident he was going to run a huge race, but things just didn’t work out – no disrespect to Subjectivist, who was well trained, well ridden, and quickened up exactly as we were getting stopped.

“I was really looking forward to the rematch but we’ll never know now what might have happened. But Subjectivist wouldn’t have been that far ahead of us again turning in if he were here, I’m sure of that.

“There are still some very good horses there though, and any rain is going to suit Trueshan. We can’t underestimate Sir Ron Priestley either, who Mark Johnston has supplemented and is no slouch. You are always going to need some luck in running at Goodwood too – things have to go your way.”

Reach For The Moon makes no mistake at Newbury

Royal Ascot runner-up Reach For The Moon carried the colours of the Queen to an impressive victory in the second race at Newbury on Friday.

Trained by John and Thady Gosden, the son of Sea The Stars came close to providing Her Majesty with a winner at last month’s showpiece meeting – going down by just half a length to Aidan O’Brien’s Point Lonsdale in the Chesham Stakes.

Having also filled the runner-up spot on his racecourse debut at Yarmouth in May, Reach For The Moon was the 2-9 favourite to make it third time lucky in division two of the bet365 EBF Novice Stakes and the result was scarcely in doubt.

Always travelling strongly in the hands of Frankie Dettori, the youngster moved smoothly to the front over a furlong out before rocketing four lengths clear of Harrow.

Gosden senior said: “He was entitled to do that but there was no pace and he quickened well, that will bring him on.

“He’s a grand colt and we’ll look towards the Solario with him now.

“We could have gone straight into another Group race, but you can see he’s quite playful – we’ll leave it at that! To that extent we’ll look for a race in August and the Solario is a nice race.

“He’ll get further. He’ll be comfortable over a mile this year and over middle distances next year because he switched off with no pace today. Frankie wanted to take a lead today.

“In the Chesham there was a strip of ground from his draw in two and I told Frankie to stay straight, so he raced on his own in the Chesham.”

Intelligentsia (5-1) then made a winning debut in the royal colours in the bet365 EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

Trained by Richard Hughes, the Exceed And Excel filly showed a smart change of gear for Pat Dobbs and looked home and hosed, only for Majestic Glory to close to within a neck.

“She’d shown plenty. She’s an end of May foal, but we gave her a swing one morning and I liked what I saw, we gave her another and she’s never let me down so we saw no point hanging on,” said Hughes.

“It was important she had a flat track and nice ground. but she’s smart.

“The Dick Poole at Salisbury, something like that in six weeks, I don’t want to rush her.

“Her brother did win over seven but ended up running over five and six, so I don’t want to bring her back to five in case she gets seven, if that makes sense.

“On her pedigree and the speed she shows, if she gets a mile she’s really good.”

The Queen went on to enjoy an across-the-card treble – from her three runners on the day – when Portfolio (9-2) made all in the Rich Energy Fillies’ Handicap at Newmarket.

Ryan Moore dictated affairs from the start on the daughter of Deep Impact, who found more when challenged by Brunnera in the final furlong to score by a length and a half for Sir Michael Stoute’s stable.

Motakhayyel bounds to Bunbury victory

Motakhayyel looked the proverbial Group horse in a handicap when landing back-to-back victories in the bet365 Bunbury Cup at Newmarket.

Already a dual winner on the July Course for trainer Richard Hannon – including in this race 12 months ago – the Shadwell Estate-owned five-year-old was a well-backed 11-2 chance to land the £100,000 contest for a second time in the hands of Frankie Dettori.

Stepping down in class after finishing second in the Group Three Criterion Stakes over the course and distance last month, Motakhayyel travelled like a dream before bounding three and a half lengths clear, with Fundamental best of the rest in second.

Hannon said: “He’s a gentleman of a horse and has been for years. He’s such a pleasure to have around.

“He’s struggled between a rock and a hard place in handicaps and Listed races. He ran a very good race here in the Criterion and I watched the race today on the same TV I watched it on last year.

“He’s in the mile race at Goodwood and we’ll speak to Angus (Gold) and Richard (Hills) and see what they want to do.”

Frankie Dettori with trainer Richard Hannon in the Newmarket winner's enclosure
Frankie Dettori with trainer Richard Hannon in the Newmarket winner’s enclosure (Tim Goode/PA)

Dettori, riding his first winner of this year’s July Festival, said: “He took me by surprise – I still had a double handful two out and he kept finding.

“Richard told me Jim (Crowley, owners’ retained rider) was going to York and I couldn’t do the weight for John (Gosden, trainer of Fundamental). Richard told me to get on this horse as he loves Newmarket and he was right.

“I didn’t expect him to win like he did. He’s a very long horse with a long stride and I’m not sure he’d enjoy turning tracks.”

Teal and Oxted up for the Cup again at Newmarket

Roger Teal is taking inspiration from England’s football team ahead of Oxted’s bid to become the first back-to-back winner of the Darley July Cup in over 60 years at Newmarket on Saturday.

In beating Denmark in extra time at Wembley on Wednesday, Gareth Southgate’s men became the first squad since the World Cup heroes of 1966 to reach a major final ahead of a mouthwatering Euro 2020 clash with Italy on Sunday evening.

Oxted is out to end an even longer wait for a sprinter to successfully defend the July Cup – with the Lester Piggott-ridden Right Boy the last horse to achieve that feat in 1959.

Oxted winning the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot
Oxted winning the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot (Steven Paston/PA)

Teal said: “England finally got to the final the other night, so it does happen! Maybe it’s the year for long waits to end.

“It hasn’t been done since 1959, so let’s hope we can end that and England can do the same on Sunday.”

Oxted returns to the July course at the top of his game, having doubled his Group One tally in the King’ Stand at Royal Ascot last month.

Having had his enthusiasm tempered initially after Oxted was drawn on the far side in stall 16, Teal is more upbeat after the first three horses home in the six-furlong handicap on Thursday were drawn 16, 15 and 19 respectively.

“It gives us much more confidence now. It did boost us. When it first came out I thought ‘no, I don’t believe it, we’re drawn on the far side’,” he said.

“You can’t change it so you have to do the best from where you are. It just depends where the pace is. Hopefully there is pace around us. If not we’ll have to make our own.

“I don’t want any rain. It’s good to firm at the moment and hopefully that rain front stays away for Saturday.”

Rohaan shone in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot
Rohaan shone in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot (Steven Paston/PA)

Plenty of attention will surround the David Evans-trained Rohaan, who has progressed at a rate of knots this year and was last seen defying a big weight to win the Wokingham at the Royal fixture.

He had run in the valuable handicap as geldings are barred from the Commonwealth Cup – with connections left wondering what might have been, as Rohaan had beaten first past the post Dragon Symbol in the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock.

Evans said: “He seems fine. He just takes everything in his stride and it’s just another day out for him. If it rains it rains, and if it doesn’t it doesn’t – there’s nothing we can do about that. He’s been supplemented, so he’ll take his chance.

“Looking at the handicaps on the first day the draw looks OK, but we’ll see what happens on the day. You need luck in all these races – he got it at Ascot and hopefully he’ll get it again.”

Dragon Symbol (left) in the Commonwealth Cup
Dragon Symbol (left) in the Commonwealth Cup (David Davies/PA)

As well as Dragon Symbol, Archie Watson can also call on another Royal Ascot runner-up in Glen Shiel, who only found Dream Of Dreams too good in the Diamond Jubilee.

“He (Dragon Symbol) is not technically a stakes winner, but he is probably very unfortunate not to be unbeaten,” said Watson.

“He is still very much learning on the job. He ran a huge race at Ascot and he has proven himself to be a proper Group One horse.

“Things get serious when the three-year-olds step up against the older horses and I just hope he can continue to progress.

“On the balance of form he has got a very strong chance on Saturday.”

Of Glen Shiel, he added: “He ran a huge race at Ascot. He clearly just needed his first run back in the Greenlands at the Curragh and he tightened up for that. He obviously handled the soft ground well at Ascot, as did the winner, but he ran another very big race.

“The ground is not going to be as soft as his Ascot runs, but he ran a very good race on better ground in France last year when he was just getting the feel of things as a sprinter and I’m sure he can be just as effective on better ground.”

Starman winning the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York racecourse
Starman winning the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York racecourse (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Ed Walker’s Duke of York Stakes winner Starman arrives fresher than most, having been taken out of the Diamond Jubilee due to the rain-softened ground.

Walker said: “He’s in great nick and looks a picture at the moment – he’s an impressive looking hors.

“We were gutted to have missed Ascot. For me this horse is so exciting, but he only does what you ask at home. You could work him with a 60-rated horse or with the Derby winner and he’d go just the same with his nose in front.

“He’s done absolutely nothing wrong bar that one run on bad ground and I just don’t know how much is up his sleeve. Only he can answer that question and hopefully he does that this weekend.”

Frankie Dettori is praying Extravagant Kid can finally provide him with a first victory in the race.

The six-furlong showpiece is the only British Group One that has so far eluded the 50-year-old – a statistic he is keen put right aboard Brendan Walsh’s American speedball, who was two lengths behind Oxted when third in the King’s Stand.

Dettori said: “There are better horses in the race, but he (Extravagant Kid) is the best I could get.

“Brendan has confidence that six furlongs will suit him, but Oxted thrashed me in the King’s Stand. It will be very hard to reverse that form, but with 19 runners, you never know what is going to happen.

“I think I’ve had four seconds in the July Cup – I’ve had a few goes at the race!

“It’s sad that I’ve been in Newmarket since 1985, it’s our biggest race apart from the Guineas and I’ve never managed to win it.

“It’s quite bizarre really – I’ve won everything else around the world. I’ve been knocking on the door, (but) I am 50 and I haven’t got forever, so every year is precious.

“We’ll give it another go on Saturday.”

Godolphin's Creative Force
Godolphin’s Creative Force (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Charlie Appleby has high hopes for Creative Force and Glorious Journey.

The former has been a revelation in winning all four starts this year, most recently in the Jersey Stakes at the Royal meeting, while Glorious Journey arrives on the back of victory in the Criterion Stakes over seven furlongs of the July course.

Appleby said: “I think we’ve got two live shots really.

“We’ve got the young pretender there in Creative Force. He’s been a model of consistency all year, starting off in handicaps at the Craven meeting, and he’s shown versatility over six and seven furlongs and quick ground and soft ground.

“He comes into the race in great order. It’s a very competitive race on paper, but he’s not going to look out of place and I’m excited to see him run against the older horses.

“Glorious Journey is part of the furniture at Moulton Paddocks. Every year he’ll pick up some nice prizes for you and he goes into the race in very good form – I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so well.

“He really is in great nick. Coming here a couple of weeks ago gave him a nice bit of confidence and that’s what you need going into these Group One races.”

Miss Amulet finishing second in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes
Miss Amulet finishing second in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The only Irish-trained runner in the field is Ken Condon’s outsider Miss Amulet, who drops back in distance after beating only one home in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

“Her season really hasn’t got going due to the ground. With the Irish Guineas on our doorstep it was the last chance of a Classic so we let her run, but the ground was very testing. Hopefully the ground will be more in her favour on Saturday,” said Condon.

“She’s very like last year in that she is very undemonstrative at home, but she is in very good form. She’s fit and she’s healthy.

“It will be a very competitive field and she’ll be a big price, but some of her form from last year is working out very well. It remains to be seen has she trained on, but physically she has done well and we are looking forward to it.”

Frankie Dettori rooting for Italy in Euro final

Frankie Dettori will be “hiding somewhere” as he watches on when his beloved Italy clash with England in the Euro 2020 final.

The hugely popular Italian rider was at Wembley on Tuesday to see the Azzurri knock out Spain on penalties in their semi-final, but will not be there in person on Sunday night.

Looking back on England’s victory against Denmark – sealed by Harry Kane’s swift rebound from his own saved penalty, given after a contentious foul on Raheem Sterling – Dettori is expecting a tight affair.

He said: “I watched most of the match until you (England) got the phantom penalty and I decided to go to bed!

“I went to the Italy semi-final – I took Andrea (Atzeni, fellow jockey) with me, and my daughter. I was given tickets, so I thought it was a good opportunity, and it was a rollercoaster to be honest with you – I felt like I’d had seven rides at Royal Ascot afterwards!

“I’m not going to the final. I’m taking my wife away for a couple of days and didn’t realise it was on the same day as the final, but maybe it’s a good thing, in case we get beat! I’ll be hiding somewhere, and watch it by myself.

“I don’t think anyone could wish for a better final, and I think it will be close.

“I’m Italian and obviously I’ll be rooting for my country. But you are at home, you’ll have 60,000 people behind you as the 12th man – and that could swing it your way.”

Commonwealth Cup result unchanged following appeal

Connections of Dragon Symbol have lost their appeal against the decision of the Ascot stewards to award the Commonwealth Cup to Campanelle.

The pair fought out a thrilling finish to the Group One contest at the Royal meeting, with Oisin Murphy steering Dragon Symbol to a head victory over the Frankie Dettori-ridden Campanelle.

But Dragon Symbol made contact with Campanelle on more than one occasion during the final furlong and a half, with the stewards deeming the interference significant enough to merit reversing the placings.

Dragon Symbol’s owner Yoshiro Kubota and trainer Archie Watson opted to contest that decision via a British Horseracing Authority disciplinary panel hearing, which took place on Thursday morning.

The panel viewed recordings of the race from a variety of positions, including head on, side on and from behind the field, as well as hearing extensive evidence from Dettori and Murphy, plus a brief submission from Watson.

In his evidence, Dettori explained he felt there were three instances of contact in the race, that the interference had caused Campanelle to lose her balance and combined with Dragon Symbol’s “intimidation” he had been “unable to win the race” as he was taken off his his true line and “had no chance of keeping my horse straight”.

Dettori was asked by Louis Weston, representing the BHA, to estimate the distance the interference cost his mount and he said: “It’s hard to say, but approximately 15 metres.”

Frankie Dettori at the Commonwealth Cup trophy presentation
Frankie Dettori at the Commonwealth Cup trophy presentation (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Graeme McPherson, for Dragon Symbol’s connections, contested that opinion, suggesting the distance was more in the region of six or seven metres, although all sides agreed Campanelle had moved across by around six horse widths.

Dettori also agreed he had not had to stop riding during the interference, but said his horse had been “intimidated” and “taken off balance” by the incidents.

In a post-race interview on the day, Murphy reported Dettori had said Dragon Symbol was the best in the race, but Dettori insisted Murphy was mistaken.

He said: “There was a conversation, he possibly misheard me or misinterpreted, but I did not say that.”

Murphy reiterated during his evidence the conversation did take place, although he could not recall if it occurred before or after going into the stewards’ room when pressed on the timing.

He said: “After the race, Frankie going into the stewards’ inquiry, he didn’t say to me either way he felt he was going to win the race in the stewards’ inquiry, but he did say to me ‘sorry kid, this is horse racing, you were on the best horse but that’s life’.”

Oisin Murphy celebrates aboard Dragon Symbol before the placings were reversed
Oisin Murphy celebrates aboard Dragon Symbol before the placings were reversed (David Davies/PA)

Murphy outlined in his evidence that he “didn’t want to hit the front too soon” and was mindful of conditions on the day, but “the acceleration he showed when given a little squeeze saw him go from a length or two behind to half a length in front in a short period of time, he showed a real burst”.

Murphy further stated that before he asked his mount for maximum effort, Dragon Symbol drifted right and “almost put the brakes on having gone clear”, the rider saying his mount had “leaned on (Campanelle) fractionally” before “running straight and true again”.

He also added he had no recollection of a third instance of contact, with the last interference occurring more than 100 metres from the line, with Campanelle not heading him inside the final half furlong and feeling his horse was “good value” for the winning distance, with something “still to give while Campanelle had given her all”.

During some sparky exchanges with Weston – who accused the rider of being “argumentative” – Murphy admitted to careless riding – for which he received an uncontested four-day ban – but felt the subsequent interference had not affected Campanelle’s ultimate performance, adding he felt she “had every chance to win the race”.

During his evidence, Watson outlined how inexperienced Dragon Symbol was, progressing in a “very short period of time” and having his first race in front of a crowd of “more than stable staff and connections”.

He added that Dragon Symbol does not hang at home and had not shifted in previous races.

Archie Watson, trainer of Dragon Symbol
Archie Watson, trainer of Dragon Symbol (Simon Cooper/PA)

Having considered all the evidence, the panel, which comprised of chairman HH Brian Barker QC, Tim Etherington and Steve Winfield, dismissed the appeal but the Dragon Symbol team will have their deposit returned.

Written reasons for the panel’s decision will be provided in due course, but in summing up Barker said: “We have given careful attention to the rules and guidelines and taken great care to consider the factual matters and arguments placed before us.

“Our conclusion is that the stewards did come to the right conclusion and that the appeal fails.

“In our view this was absolutely a debatable appeal, something which should have been given careful consideration and in our view the deposit should be returned.”

Sublime Subjectivist rules for Johnston and Fanning in Gold Cup

Subjectivist provided Mark Johnston with a fourth Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, as Stradivarius – chasing a fourth win of his own – met trouble in running and could only finish fourth.

Joe Fanning sat second throughout as Amhran Na Bhfiann set steady fractions at the head of affairs, while Frankie Dettori on Stradivarius was happy to let the race unfold in front of him.

Fanning kicked clear with over two furlongs to run, just before the field turned into the straight, and as the runners bunched up Dettori found a wall of horses blocking his path on the favourite.

Subjectivist – so impressive in the Dubai Gold Cup last time out and a Group One winner in France before that – took three lengths out of the field and was never likely to be found out for a lack of stamina.

As he kicked clear Amhran Na Bhfiann was weakening rapidly – right into Dettori’s path – and all of a sudden Stradivarius was up against it.

Tony Mullins’ mare Princess Zoe came out of the pack to chase Subjectivist and although Dettori tried valiantly to weave his way through, he found himself with too much to do.

Subjectivist (13-2) had five lengths to spare over Princess Zoe, with Spanish Mission a further half-length back in third, just ahead of the 5-6 market leader.

Johnston had won the race previously with Double Trigger in 1995 and Royal Rebel in 2001 and 2002, and had been second in numerous big races to Stradivarius with Dee Ex Bee and Nayef Road.

The Middleham handler said: “He was on the up last winter, he won the Group One in France on heavy ground which made people think he wanted heavy ground.

“When he went to Dubai and won on fast ground, he put up the performance of his life, so I knew coming here – but I couldn’t be confident – that if he could reproduce that he would take an awful lot of beating.

Celebration time for the Subjectivist team
Celebration time for the Subjectivist team (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“Someone asked me earlier if he would lead, but we never tell the jockeys what to do, we always go a pace to suit our horse and when he’s sitting second like today, in a nice rhythm, I thought it was perfect.

“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 can finish off.”

He added: “The preparation wasn’t smooth, 45 minutes after his race in Dubai he was stood in a stable on one leg and we thought it was really serious and then last week he fell over in Middleham, scraping his knees and the only positive I could take was that Attraction did the same before winning the Queen Mary!

“I think we’ll look at the Goodwood Cup. We’ll have an eye on the winter in Dubai and Saudi given the money on offer. The number one thing, I think, will be to work back from this next year.”

Weighing-room veteran Fanning was afforded a tremendous reception by racegoers and his fellow riders on his return to the winner’s enclosure.

He said: “He’s a very straightforward horse, very uncomplicated, and he did all the hard work.

“I just let horses find their own comfort zone. He can be a little keen, but with every race he’s getting more relaxed. I always say to Mark it’s better off letting him jump and find his own rhythm.

“It was a steady pace, but he relaxed which helped. Six (furlongs) out I started to push a little and I was never going to take him back.

“It was nice to see the lads come out of the weighing room to welcome me in, it’s nice to come here and win a big race.

“Having the crowd back is great.”

Of the immediate Stradivarius reaction, John Gosden said: “It didn’t go to plan.

“I thought the winner was most impressive, but we were a long way back, had the filly beside us and couldn’t get out.

“We were just caught too far back. Frankie couldn’t get out when he wanted to. You need these races to go right, it didn’t exactly go to plan in running, but full marks to the winner, I thought he was mightily impressive.”

Dettori said: “I ran into a pocket turning for home. When you get stopped in a two-and-half-mile race, you never get going again. The winner’s a good winner, but I’d love to have had another shot at it.”

Princess Zoe ran a huge race on ground that would have been quick enough for her, leaving Mullins rightly proud of her effort.

He said: “Everything will revolve around the Prix du Cadran, with whatever presents itself beforehand.

“I think we’ve been beaten by a great champion, and she’s run the race of her life.

“The owners have expressed a view to consider the Cheltenham Festival. She’s jumped a few on the q.t, and seems to enjoy it, but it’s whether her legs would stand it and it’s just a thought.”

Her rider Joey Sheridan said: “I’m over the moon for all the connections and she’s shown the people who doubted her just how good she is.

“We would never have beaten the winner, but on easier ground would have been closer.”

Andrew Balding was also thrilled with Spanish Mission, saying: “We’re thrilled with his run and might look at the Goodwood Cup.”

Jockey William Buick added: “It was a great run, because that trip stretches him. He gave me a great ride.”

Dettori limbers up in style for Stradivarius – and O’Brien equals Sir Henry Cecil landmark

Frankie Dettori and Aidan O’Brien – two of the racing world’s very leading lights – both reached 75 winners at Royal Ascot on the second day of this year’s meeting.

Dettori’s success was something of a surprise on 22-1 shot Indie Angel in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, while Love provided a much more expected triumph for O’Brien in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes as the 11-10 favourite.

Indie Angel, trained by John and Thady Gosden, was just what the doctor ordered for Dettori on the eve of going for a fourth consecutive win in the Gold Cup aboard Stradivarius.

He is, though, taking nothing granted and knows what the two of them have to do.

Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori have enjoyed great moments together at Royal Ascot
Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori have enjoyed great moments together at Royal Ascot (Megan Ridgwell/PA)

“I’m not lying – I’m nervous. I’m not over-excited, I’ve got a job to do,” said Dettori, who still has some way to go to reach Lester Piggott’s haul of 116 wins at the Royal meeting.

“There’s a lot more runners than I thought – some he has not met before – and then there is the question mark of the rain so there’s a lot of things to be worried about. He still has to turn up.”

The 50-year-old Italian could not happier with the way Stradivarius is before his date with destiny.

“I’m very pleased with the horse. His home work has been good. His demeanour is good,” he said.

“He’s trying to do something that is rare. Only Yeats has done it, so I’ve still got to go out there. Me and him have to perform at our very best and I’ve got to get him over the line.

“It’s a big milestone. I was nervous when I rode Enable in her third Arc. I was nervous yesterday with Palace Pier.

“Nervous is good. It means you care and you’ve still got your eye on the ball. I know how to channel my emotions and to channel it in the right way.”

Yeats, who achieved the feat in the four years from 2006 to 2009, is the most successful horse in the Gold Cup history.

He was trained at Ballydoyle by O’Brien, who has now equalled the late Sir Henry Cecil’s tally of Royal Ascot winners thanks to Love making a successful seasonal reappearance.

Aidan O’ Brien collects his trophy from the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall after Ryan Moore won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Love
Aidan O’ Brien collects his trophy from the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall after Ryan Moore won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Love (Andrew Matthews/PA)

O’Brien recalled the day Cecil won the Oaks at Epsom at his expense when Light Shift took the fillies’ Classic in 2007, with his Peeping Fawn beaten half a length in second place.

“I remember Sir Henry won the Oaks and we were there. He was an unbelievable man and the presence he had when he walked into the parade ring,” said O’Brien.

“When I started training it was a privilege to meet him.”

As ever, O’Brien showed his humility by playing down his role in the Ballydoyle operation.

“I’m in a very privileged position. I’m a small part of a big team and grateful to everybody for everything, he said.

It will probably not be too long before O’Brien has that particular training record to himself.

Indie Angel heaven sent for Dettori in Duke of Cambridge

Frankie Dettori posted a landmark 75th Royal Ascot winner as John and Thady Gosden’s Indie Angel sprang a surprise in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes .

Dettori, striking for the second time for the Gosdens at this year’s meeting, bided his time on the 22-1 winner as Parent’s Prayer set out to make all and then Lady Bowthorpe made her bid for Group Two glory.

The Italian manoeuvred into position to challenge on the stands side, took over from eventual runner-up Lady Bowthorpe and had two and a half lengths to spare at the line – with favourite Queen Power staying on to take third, just another short head away.

Indie Angel, owned by Cheveley Park Stud, was overturning last month’s Newmarket form – having finished only fourth in the Dahlia Stakes behind both Lady Bowthorpe and Queen Power, over a furlong further than this.

“Everything fell right today,” Dettori said.

“She likes faster ground, cover, and she likes plenty of room – she got all three of those things.

“Well done to the Gosden team, the Clarehaven team.”

Gosden said: “In fairness she won very well last backend, it went a little wrong and I probably ran her before she had come to herself in the spring and she had a little complication in her last race. But we knew she could be competitive with the top fillies – (but) to say that she’d win by two and a half lengths? No, that would have been wishful thinking.

“She relaxed beautifully and she’s bloomed. She looked a different filly today than when we last ran her back in May.

“You’ve got to be looking forwards. She’s now won a Group Two so maybe you start trying to climb even higher up the ladder. We won it last year (with Nazeef) and there are nice races like the Sun Chariot and the nice fillies’ race (Falmouth) at the July meeting for her, so those are possibilities.

“Right now, we’re savouring this moment.”

Frankie Dettori celebrates
Frankie Dettori celebrates (Steven Paston/PA)

Of Lady Bowthorpe, trainer William Jarvis said: “All credit to the winner who was very impressive, but I feel easier ground would have suited us better.

“When a filly is running as well as she is my inclination is not to give her a break. She’s in the Falmouth, but ideally I would love her to try at a mile and a quarter on decent ground in the Nassau (at Goodwood), with the Sun Chariot a possibility longer term.”

Sir Michael Stoute added of Queen Power: “She’s a model of consistency, that’s for sure, and I guess the trip was a little short of her best.”

Manning and Dettori again show age is just a number as crowds return to Royal Ascot

Weighing-room veterans Frankie Dettori and Kevin Manning hailed the return of crowds back to Ascot for the first time since February 2020 after they scooped the two top mile prizes on day one of the Royal meeting.

Manning, 54, steered the battle-hardened Poetic Flare to a convincing victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes for his father-in-law Jim Bolger.

It was just 45 days since the same combination combined to lift the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket – with the horse also showing his toughness by running in both the French and Irish 2000 Guineas in between, not to mention at Leopardstown in April.

Manning said: “You can hear the shouting and congratulating. It’s nice. It’s not what been used to for the last year or so. It’s great to have people cheering from the stands again.”

Racegoers in the stands during day one of Royal Ascot
Racegoers in the stands during day one of Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

Speaking from his home in County Carlow, Bolger paid tribute to the horse, whose sire Dawn Approach won this race in 2013.

He said: “That was what I expected. He’s improved so much. He’s extremely hardy and can take it all.”

After finishing second in the Irish 2000 Guineas behind stablemate Mac Swiney, it seemed as though Poetic Flare might have a break and possibly miss Royal Ascot.

“I needed a break to think about it more than the horse did,” said Bolger.

“Then I thought everything is looking good for Royal Ascot and we just carried on.

“He is exceptional. I haven’t had one that takes everything he’s taken.

“I welcome competing with the older horses. He’s entered in the Sussex (at Glorious Goodwood). That is a real possibility.”

Frankie Dettori celebrates with Palace Pier
Frankie Dettori celebrates with Palace Pier (David Davies/PA)

Dettori, 50, took his tally at the showpiece fixture to 74 when getting the perfect start on one of the bankers of the week, Palace Pier, in the opening Queen Anne Stakes.

He revealed he has not lost his appetite despite it being 31 years since he opened his account on Markofdistinction in the same race.

“I didn’t need an espresso this morning. I could have done with some Valium. I was that excited,” he said.

“Ascot with people is amazing. Ascot has been a part of my life with the success that I’ve had. You cannot imagine to see the colours, the people screaming.

“It’s great people are back here, it’s like a mirage – there’s nothing better than Ascot with people.”

Palace Pier’s trainer John Gosden agreed, saying: “It’s wonderful. Those people who have taken their tests and come here, it’s fantastic.

“There’s a gorgeous atmosphere because it’s not crowded, it’s very comfortable and it’s a gorgeous day, so to that extent full marks to people who made the effort to come.”

Of his brilliant winner, Gosden added: “Palace Pier’s options are the Sussex Stakes, the Jacques le Marois in Deauville, which he won last year. And obviously you can step him up a trip if you wanted to, for the Juddmonte International, something like that.

“He is a grand horse, great attitude, good looking, nice scope.”

Amtiyaz (33-1) made it a first- and last-race double for the Gosdens, leaving Hollie Doyle all smiles.

The record-breaking rider’s first Royal winner came 12 months ago and while she will never forget it, this one had a different feel, for obvious reasons.

Doyle said: “It’s absolutely amazing. Having a winner last year was good, but to have a crowd here and my family as well is so special.

Hollie Doyle was a winner with Amtiyaz
Hollie Doyle was a winner with Amtiyaz (David Davies/PA)

“It’s been hard for them watching it on TV, but to experience it in real life is a bit different. We’re getting back to normality now, which is what the world wants.

“I knew the horse had ability and he was suited by this galloping track. Turning in, I tried to fill him up and he has got gears for a slow horse. He quickened away nicely and stays two miles.”

Though there as no Royal procession for the 12,000 crowd – part of the Government’s test events – to savour, there was a Royal presence with Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Anne in attendance, as was her daughter Zara Tindall.

Celebrities enjoyed the spectacle, too, including comedian Bill Bailey, winner of the highly-popular BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing in 2020.

Honours go to bookmakers on day one of Royal Ascot

Round One of Royal Ascot 2021 went marginally to the bookmakers in a day of changing fortune for followers of the market.

The victory of Palace Pier at 2-7 in the opening Queen Anne Stakes hardly raised a ripple in the pond – but both 4-1 shot Oxted and 7-2 favourite Poetic Flare put matters comfortably to the side of the punters following their successes in the King’s Stand Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes respectively.

Coral spokesman David Stevens encapsulated the mood at that stage of proceedings when stating: “Both those winners were popular, but the pendulum swung back with the successes of Juan Elcano (14-1 in the Wolferton), Berkshire Shadow (11-1 in the Coventry) and especially Reshoun, whose Ascot Stakes triumph at 66-1 was greeted with stony silence.

“He headed off a strong Irish challenge, and we end the first day with honours just about even.”

Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield confirmed that it was a winning day for the book, in spite of the successes of Palace Pier and Poetic Flare.

He said: “Punters win a few quid on Poetic Flare, as well as on Oxted in the King’s Stand, but the likes of 66-1 shocker Reshoun and to a lesser extent Juan Elcano were obviously difficult enough to pinpoint.”

Betway PR Manager Chad Yeomans said: “It’s been a good first day for us at Royal Ascot, with the well-backed Battaash getting beaten being the highlight.

“Palace Pier was a very short-priced winner in the opener and was in plenty of multiples, but lots of those were then let down by Battaash in the Kings Stand Stakes.

“The worst result of the day was without doubt Poetic Flare in the St James’s Palace Stakes. He was supported throughout the day and again on the show price. He’s a hardy horse who looks like he could give Palace Pier a great race in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. We go 4-5 Palace Pier and 4-1 Poetic Flare at this stage.”

Avoiding Frankie Dettori multiples, along with defeats for Battaash and Cape Gentleman, ensured bookmakers started the week on the right foot, and while there was a Hollie Doyle winner that came at 33-1 with Amtiyaz in the concluding race.

Ladbrokes say day two could be a very different narrative, as Dettori has a full book of rides.

Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “We definitely can’t complain on day one of Royal Ascot, as things went our way. Dettori multiples being knocked over was a massive relief, while defeats for Battaash and Rachael Blackmore’s mount had a big impact on the day.

“We won’t be getting ahead of ourselves, though. Dettori has seven rides tomorrow which is enough to give our traders a sleepless night. If he gets off to a good start, the momentum will gather, and it’s not something we want to think about.”

Palace Pier delivers perfect start for Dettori

Palace Pier justified odds-on favouritism in the Queen Anne Stakes to get Royal Ascot 2021 off to a perfect start for Frankie Dettori.

Winner of the St James’s Palace Stakes at the meeting 12 months ago in front of empty grandstands, John and Thady Gosden’s brilliant miler followed up in front of a crowd of 12,000 this time.

Racing slightly on the flank in the early stages, Dettori managed to get some cover behind Prince Eiji by halfway.

Entering the final two furlongs, those who took the prohibitive 2-7 price about Palace Pier might have been a little concerned as Dettori got lower in the saddle to ask for his effort.

But while the winning move was not immediate, Palace Pier got into top gear with a furlong to run – and the race was over as he took two lengths out of the others.

He just had to be kept up to his work as Lope Y Fernandez emerged from the pack to claim second, a length and a half away, with Ascot specialist Sir Busker back in third.

Palace Pier’s only defeat remains on Champions Day last year at Ascot in the Queen Elizabeth II – when he lost a shoe in heavy ground.

Dettori said: “There wasn’t much pace in the race and I had him much further forward than usual.

“I stalked the pace, I had the leaders beat with a furlong and a half to go and then he went a couple of lengths clear and he took it easy with me.

Frankie Dettori performs his trademark flying dismount after Queen Anne Stakes victory on Palace Pier
Frankie Dettori performs his trademark flying dismount after Queen Anne Stakes victory on Palace Pier (David Davies/PA)

“It was his first time on real good to firm ground, so he wasn’t so sure on it – but still, he proved again he’s the best miler around. He was in front on his own for a while, so he was taking things easy.

“He did (stumble just after the line). He’s quite clumsy with his feet – he’s forever losing his shoes and things like that, but when he goes fast he’s all right.

“It’s a pressure ride, the first one (of the meeting) – you want everything to go right, and it did.”

He added: “This was my first Royal Ascot winner in 1990, this race (Markofdistinction), and it’s great to get a win for John and Thady.

“He was a fresh horse, he is one of the best horses in the world so you want everything to go right and we can breathe a little bit now!

“At the moment there’s no need to change his trip. You can rely on him, he’s like picking one of the best players in the team to take a penalty first in a shootout.

“It’s great people are back here, it’s like a mirage – there’s nothing better than Ascot with people.”

Gosden senior said: “We suspected a slow pace and we got that slow pace, so the key thing then is don’t sit out the back. He did it smoothly, came through and won his race, but he’s exactly like his father (Kingman) – as soon as he gets there he thinks he’s done enough.

“If I worked him at home with an ordinary horse he’d just stay with him, that’s his game.

“When you are odds-on like that there’d be something wrong if you weren’t nervous, but it can be a banana skin. Frankie was aware there was no pace so he asserted early, then I noticed he was just hands and heels to keep him going.

“He’s probably done more in a piece of work at home than today.

“I’ve been second in this race three times, but that’s my first win – it obviously took Thady to get me over the line!”

Looking to the future, the Clarehaven handler said: “You could go up in trip with him, as you can see how relaxed he is. He is in the Juddmonte, but he’s also in the Sussex and the Prix Jacques le Marois, so I’ll talk to the owner and see.

“All the races are options, he’d have no trouble with the trip if they decide to go there.”

‘Extraordinary athlete’ Dettori is Gosden’s Royal Ascot banker

John Gosden has hailed Frankie Dettori as an “extraordinary athlete” as the pair once again seek to take Royal Ascot by storm.

Since reuniting in 2015, Gosden and Dettori have enjoyed countless big-race successes, with many coming during the Italian’s favourite meeting of the season.

Dettori has been leading rider at the festival seven times, including the last two years – and despite turning 50 recently, he shows no signs of slowing down.

He is, however, far more circumspect in what he chooses to ride – and while he had just 15 winners this season before Friday’s racing, they include the 1000 Guineas on Mother Earth, the Oaks on Snowfall, the Lockinge on Palace Pier and the Chester Cup on Falcon Eight.

Frankie Dettori specialises in the big races these days
Frankie Dettori specialises in the big races these days (Mike Egerton/Jockey Club)

“He goes into the weighing room late in the season telling the others he still hasn’t had 100 rides in the season, while the others have been up and down the A1, just to wind them up,” said Gosden.

“I did warn him this morning taking a full book of rides a couple of days running that we’d have to take the oxygen mask!

“He’s an extraordinary athlete. When he came to me at the beginning (of his career) he’d reached a crossroads in his life when he got in a bit of a muddle.

“He rode flat out for three years for me. He’d have 50 winners knocked up before the season started, just on the all-weather, then he’d ride 220 winners a year – he proved he had a work ethic.

“He then had a wonderful reign with Godolphin and has been back with me since 2015. Naturally he’s more selective, and there’s no point thinking on a wet afternoon at Brighton he’s your man to send there – he’s not.

“You save him for the big occasions. He rides work on the horses, so he knows them, but I tend not to put him on two-year-olds first time out because we did that a few years ago at Yarmouth and he got dropped in the paddock, cracked his shoulder and missed Ascot. So we learn by our mistakes.”

Gosden was full of praise for officials in managing to stage last year’s meeting in its original slot and admitted to being surprised at the worldwide audience it garnered.

“You always look forward to it,” he said.

“I think it was an amazing achievement last year that Ascot remained firm about their dates – and it was a surreal, strange experience being in the grandstand with nobody there.

Royal Ascot was a lonely experience for John Gosden last year - even socially distancing from his son, Thady
Royal Ascot was a lonely experience for John Gosden last year – even socially distancing from his son, Thady (Edward Whitaker/PA)

“It was still great racing, no matter what. They managed to pull it off last year – but of course, we’re really looking forward to it this year. Thank goodness owners can go, and there’ll be over 10,000 people there, which will make it a rather comfortable Ascot – you won’t get knocked over by people trying to get to the bar.

“You had to be impressed with the show that was put on (last year) – it was going out worldwide. I’m not a social media creature, but it was fascinating with people feeding back in from America, Australia and people in South America – people were just thrilled to be watching sport of top quality.

“The way the cameras filmed it was very clever – they kept it on the horses rather than film an empty grandstand. I also think the horses enjoyed it, because they didn’t have to put up with any military bands or 50,000 people, so if you brought a nervous horse it was the perfect time to run!

“We mustn’t forget we are in the entertainment business, though, and the sooner we get back to normal life – with 60 or 70,000 people there on the Saturday – the better.”

Royal Ascot is often held up as Flat racing’s equivalent of Cheltenham, unsurprisingly so when so many of its races form part of the Qipco British Champions Series, but Gosden feels its place in the calendar means it is rather different.

“I would be being positive when I say that Cheltenham slightly overpowers the National Hunt season, and if you think about it Ascot is before the mid-point of our season and it has become omnipotent – extremely important,” he said.

“I’ve had many owners say, because they didn’t have a winner at Ascot the season had been a disaster, and I’d have to remind them we hadn’t even reached the mid-point. But having said that, it’s a great programme, they know it, they are fascinated by it.

“I was quite surprised by what was coming in from all around the world last year – and once again it will all be beaming out, and none of us will feel any pressure!

“I’m not numerically sharp enough to play poker, but I think you learn down the years to put on a bit of a disguise. Of course inside you are in knots and nervous. If you’re not and don’t care to that extent then I suggest you get out of the game, because it means your heart isn’t in it any more.

Stradivarius was supreme in the Gold Cup last year and is seeking a fourth win in the race
Stradivarius was supreme in the Gold Cup last year and is seeking a fourth win in the race (Megan Ridgwell/PA)

“I’m extremely nervous and edgy – and probably not the easiest person to live with coming up to any big race or big meeting – but having said that, it is your nature. Just because you have a calm exterior, it doesn’t mean inside you’re not a bit neurotic.”

Looking ahead to this year’s meeting, Gosden will be relying on established stars like Palace Pier in the Queen Anne, which opens the meeting, and super stayer Stradivarius – who is chasing a fourth Gold Cup.

“Let’s be honest, we’re totally dependent on our older horses,” said Gosden.

“We do have a couple of nice two-year-olds – but I think our three-year-old crop, to be quite honest, sadly, is probably the worst I’ve had in living memory.

“So you won’t see us particularly potent in any of the three-year-old races, and it was probably noticeable I didn’t have an entry at Epsom last weekend – which isn’t normal for us, but if you haven’t got them, you haven’t got them.”