Posts

Real deal Marco Ghiani celebrates first Royal Ascot winner

Rising star Marco Ghiani gave a jubilant celebration as he stormed to victory aboard Real World for Saeed bin Suroor in the Royal Hunt Cup.

The talented apprentice had fellow Godolphin runner Eastern World from Charlie Appleby’s yard for company as the pair blazed along on the far rail – but once Ghiani hit top gear on the 18-1 winner he shot clear.

It was all over from there, and even though 11-2 favourite Astro King tried to make late gains he was still four and three-quarter lengths adrift. Grove Ferry and Ouzo took third and fourth respectively.

Ghiani said: “He often misses the break, but to avoid that he was blindfolded and went in late.

“I managed to stay next to William Buick and at the two he was quickening away while looking at the crowd.

“He’s a bit of a baby and an improving horse with few races under his belt.

“I walked the track and hoped we would stay on the rail.

“He is an improving horse, he is still a bit of a baby.”

He added: “I want to say thank you to Stuart Williams (boss) and Mr Bin Suroor and Sheikh Mohammed.

“Thank you very much everyone.”

Real World was first - with daylight second...
Real World was first – with daylight second… (Steven Paston/PA)

Bin Suroor said: “When Marco came in to ride him I said if you want to be famous you must win on him at Royal Ascot.

“I liked him last year when we looked after him, but this year he’s started to show us something.

“He can miss the jump, but not today, and when I saw him on the bridle at halfway I thought he could win.

“He handled the ground well and I shall look at Listed or Group Three options for him.”

Chipotle sparked scenes of delight in the winner’s enclosure with victory in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes.

Starting at 22-1, the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained youngster – winner of the Brocklesby at Doncaster at the start of the season – travelled at the rear of the group on the far side of the track in the hands of Charlie Bishop, who timed it to perfection in picking off his rivals.

Dig Two was two and a quarter lengths back in second, with Boonie another head away in third. But it was another disappointing race for American trainer Wesley Ward, with his Frankie Dettori-ridden favourite Ruthin ultimately well beaten having led for a long way.

Bishop said: “I was quite keen to get a level break, but he bunny hopped when the stalls opened and I had to be patient. But I got a dream run through.

“We’ve always liked him and we never pressed any buttons when he won the Brocklesby and that race here, but at Sandown he didn’t like the soft and I didn’t give him the best of rides.

Charlie Bishop with Chipotle
Charlie Bishop with Chipotle (Steven Paston/PA)

“Eve’s a brilliant trainer and I feel quite emotional that she’s kept the faith with me.”

Johnson Houghton said: “He’s a horse that trains himself. He travels and when you ask him off he goes. He’s an absolute dude of a horse and he didn’t enjoy the soft ground at Sandown.

“All through the day I felt we couldn’t win from stall one, but then after the Hunt Cup I thought we did have a chance. Charlie had the courage to stay on the far side, and off a rattling fast pace he really picked up.”

Haqeeqy has Royal Hunt Cup in sights

Lincoln winner Haqeeqy will aim to get back to winning ways in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot.

John Gosden’s four-year-old looked booked for big things when he won the first major handicap of the season so impressively at Doncaster.

However, upped to Listed class next time out, the Lope De Vega gelding was beaten a length and a half into fourth by Richard Hannon’s durable Oh This Is Us – who came out and franked the form at Epsom last week.

“He won the Lincoln well but didn’t seem to fire at Ascot last time, so we’ve freshened him up,” said Gosden, as he prepares Haqeeqy for Wednesday’s ultra-competitive handicap.

“He’s a sweet horse, a little bit sensitive about life, so I’m hoping being covered up will suit him – I think he likes to be buried and run on late.

“It didn’t happen last time at Ascot – we tried to come down the wing, and it didn’t work out.

“He went through a breeze-up sale, and it tends to just fry their brains, and we’ve always been slightly trying to come back from being a horse who wants to do things the wrong way round in a bit of a hurry.”

On Tuesday, Gosden will attempt to win the Coventry Stakes for just the third time when both Tolstoy and Dhabab will represent him in the Group Two.

Iceman in 2004 and Calyx in 2018 are his only winners of the race to date.

“Rab (Havlin) will keep the ride on Dhabab, while Frankie (Dettori) rides Tolstoy,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“They are two lovely horses – but it’s a big, open race where a lot of them are just maiden winners.

“The smart one in Ireland of Fozzy’s (Stack, Castle Star) hasn’t come over, but it will (still) be highly competitive.

“They’ll probably go in two groups – so you need to think of all the little conundrums, like where the pace is.”

Race Histories 11: The Royal Hunt Cup

James Jewitt - top trainer in RHC

James Jewitt - top trainer in RHC

It would be nice to think that the Royal Hunt Cup was named after the Danish prog-rock band, but as the race was started in 1843 and the band more than 150 years later, that’s clearly not the case. Read more