Secret State grimly held off the late thrust of Deauville Legend to win the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Always fairly handy behind the pace set by Frankie Dettori on Franz Strauss, William Buick got a dream run up the rail on Charlie Appleby’s lightly-raced three-year-old.
Sent off the 4-1 joint-favourite, the colt by Dubawi out of Jacqueline Quest, who lost the 2010 running of the 1000 Guineas in the stewards’ room, had won at Chester and Nottingham already this season.
In truth he looked a sitting duck inside the last half a furlong as both Israr and then close home Deauville Legend threw down stern challenges. However, Secret State held off the latter by a head and was introduced by Betfair into the St Leger market at 14-1.
“We were keen to get out and get a nice pitch, it’s one of those races that can be hard work if you’re in the second half of the field so our plan was always to be in the first half,” Appleby said. “William got him out, got him in a good pitch.
“The pace was steady enough so you know you had to be in the right position when they started quickening. He got that first run on them and the one thing I was always confident of was that this horse will always find.
“He’s done it on every occasion and today, we’re very pleased and he’s a horse with a profile that’s going the right way.
“We’d be bold enough to say we might work into something like a (Great) Voltigeur (at York), we’d be stepping from handicaps into Pattern company there but he’s done little wrong.”
Thesis (14-1) gained a first career win when just holding off the Queen’s Saga in the Britannia Stakes.
Despite going winless to date Roger and Harry Charlton’s Thesis did have some good form in the book and Ryan Moore kicked clear on entering the final furlong.
He needed to be tough close home as Frankie Dettori came from the back of the pack on Saga, going down by just a head.
Harry Charlton said: “Thesis is unbelievably talented. He was second to My Prospero at Newbury and we then got beat in a slowly-run race at Lingfield. He tried to make all at Doncaster and got caught late. Nothing has really gone as we would have liked.
“It was quite a bold call coming here from Juddmonte (owners) with a five-race maiden who we always thought was our best horse. They said give it a go and Ryan said enter the horse, I want to ride him.”
John Gosden said of Saga: “Unlucky, just ran out of racing room.”
George Boughey saddled his first Classic winner when Cachet won the 1000 Guineas and added a first Royal Ascot victory to his haul as Inver Park 12-1 came home first in the Buckingham Palace Stakes.
Ben Curtis was on board and dismounted on crossing the line which initially caused a moment of worry for the trainer.
“I hope he’s OK, it’s very fast ground, it’s been a very hot day and he’s tried his heart out so we’ll get water on him and hopefully he’s OK,” said Boughey.
“It’s amazing, he’s very tough and progressive and it’s great to see Ben back on him. He’s by Pivotal so probably doesn’t want this ground. This is huge credit to Sam Haggas who buys a lot of my horses.
“That’s our 51st winner and we had to wait until July 18 to get 50 last year.”