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Queen Anne Stakes

So Low, Mon Amie


So Low, Mon Amie

In the much-vaunted clash between Able Friend and Solow, which kicked off the Royal meeting in the Queen Anne Stakes (Gr.1), it may have been worth giving some airtime to the other contenders, whose claim to being there had been virtually ignored in the media scrum that surrounded the two headliners. 


It Takes One To Know One


It Takes One To Know One

The trainer's giant hand clapped his star pupil on the neck as he crossed, as if to say, "My work is done, it's all up to you now." A little over 24 hours later, Frankel completed his 14th straight victory and bade farewell to his adoring fans in a blaze of publicity on Ascot's Champions Day. Make that Champion's Day, for there was only one that day.




Al Shaqab Racing, who have invested heavily in racing in recent years, landed the first two races of the 2014 Royal Ascot meeting. Its well-backed favourite Toronado (High Chaparral) started the ball rolling in the Gr.1 Queen Anne Stakes, swooping past his rivals a furlong from home and holding off Ballydoyle’s US import Verrazano (More Than Ready) by three quarters of a length.




Soft Falling Rain (SAF) (National Assembly) and Shea Shea (SAF) (National Emblem) will represent South Africa on Tuesday, 17 June, the opening day of this year’s Royal Ascot, UK. Mike de Kock will be hoping for a Group 1 double from his stable stars in the Queen Anne Stakes and the King’s Stand Stakes.




Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot

(Photo : FS)


Tuesday 18th - Saturday 22nd June 2013

The Aussies have dubbed theirs “the race that stops the nation”, and they’re right. The Melbourne Cup has been known to suspend even the federal parliament, and it’s a phenomenon all of its own.

Today heralds the start of a racing festival that stops the world, not for a day, but for a week. Our sport is fortunate in having a long and colourful history, much longer than cricket and rugby, and it is decorated by epic events in every country in which it’s celebrated. Yet nothing eclipses Royal Ascot, which dates to the summer of 1711, when Queen Anne first set land aside in the vicinity of the Windsor Forest, and called for a week of sports. While out riding, she came upon a vast space of open heath, not far from Windsor Castle, the ideal place for “horses to gallop at full stretch”. That June, Charles, Duke of Somerset instructed Sir William Wyndham, Master of the Royal Buckhounds, to have the heath cleared of scrub and gorse bush, in preparation for the first race meeting. Thus it was on the 11th August 1711, that the first meeting took place, with Her Majesty’s Plate, worth 100 guineas to the winner (open to any horse, mare or gelding over the age of 6) the central event. Each horse carried 12 stone and seven runners lined up.

The centrepiece of a growing festival was the Gold Cup (for three-year-olds and upwards), over 2½ miles. Introduced in 1807, it was won its in first year by a three-year-old, and while this was some achievement even by today’s standards, given that in those days horses were not bred to be precocious, it was all the more remarkable. In 1813, Ascot’s future was secured by the Act of Enclosure, ensuring Ascot Heath, while the property of the Crown, would be set aside for public use as a racecourse. Simultaneously, the future employment prospects of the Master of the Buck Hounds was entrenched, as his office was handed the permanent responsibility of managing and conducting the races. If all else fails, remember, there’s a future in dogs.

Things were moving quickly, and by 1822, King George IV commissioned a two-tier stand to be built on a surrounding lawn. Access was by invitation of the King only, and this was the beginning of the pomp for which Royal Ascot is now famous. The King’s greatest legacy was the Royal procession, introduced in 1825. The King’s coach led four others carrying members of the Royal party up the Straight Mile in front of the crowds. A diarist of the day commented “the whole thing looked very splendid”. In 1862, as an act of affection, Queen Victoria named the Prince Of Wales Stakes (still contested at Group One level over 2000 metres to this day) after her much-loved consort, Prince Albert.

Today kicks off with a helluva programme, with three Group Ones including the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile (featuring among many other quality horses, the Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup hero, Animal Kingdom in Barry Irwin’sTeam Valor silks), the St James Palace Stakes (also known as the “Summer Guineas”, which generally attracts the English, the Irish and French Guineas winners,) and the King’s Stand Stakes, a 5 furlong dash including some of the best sprinters in the the world, and especially South Africa’s champion, Shea Shea. (Tune into Channel 239 - 14:30 our time onwards).




Barry Irwin - Royal Ascot
Barry Irwin - Royal Ascot

Barry Irwin

(Photo : Supplied)


Courtesy of Thoroughbred Daily News

The build up to Animal Kingdom’s appearance tomorrow in the opening race of the 2013 Royal Ascot meeting has been remarkable to watch unfold, as the racecourse has generated an unbelievable amount of interest in the challenge undertaken by our horse.

The media has been all over our horse and his unusual story, everybody jumping on the circumstance of AK being the first Kentucky Derby winner since 1935 hero Omaha to race at Royal Ascot. If you don’t believe me, Google it! The Depression Era Derby hero has replaced Omaha Steaks as the most searched item in all of Nebraska! The British are nothing if not worldly; after all, they tried to run the world for a long, long time. So they know a sporting challenge worthy of the name when they see one.

The international aspect of the various connections has really intrigued them, what with a home-grown English lad as the trainer, a legendary Puerto Rican as the jockey, a Kentucky horseman as the breeder, an Australian stud master as the majority owner and the ruler of Dubai as a racing and breeding partner. Toss in the international nature of a Brazilian sire and a German dam and the global profile is complete.

I spent the first part of the day doing the mundane, making sure I had enough clean clothes to last the rest of the week and picking up my Morning Suit from Moss Brothers on Regent Street (Ano, I don’t want to try it on again to make sure it fits!). Joe Drape and I were the only diners at an Indian restaurant down the block from the Corus Hotel, where last summer my wife Kathleen and I stayed when we attended the track and field portion of the Olympic Games.

This evening, Asprey’s (which makes trophies for such diverse and iconic sporting events as Wimbledon and the Dubai World Cup), hosted many Ascot connections at a cocktail party at their store on Bond Street, right across the street from Ralph Lauren’s shop, where polo shirts for men can be had at a mere 50% more than they cost in Manhattan. People keep asking me if I am nervous, or if I am getting excited yet, and what does it feel like? I usually only get nervous when I am anxious.

Anxiety is fear of the unknown. I experience it when I do not have a good feeling about how a horse will do. God knows that Animal Kingdom is facing plenty of unknowns tomorrow: running for the first time in a straight course, racing on an undulating course for the first time, racing in England for the first time and dropping from 10 furlongs on a Tapeta track to turf, on which he will try to win his first race at a distance as short as a mile.

I was apprehensive about the straight course before arriving in England, but I must tell you that after watching him work twice on an uphill straight, I am buoyed with confidence and I don’t expect to be nervous tomorrow. What I do think will happen, is about a minute or two before the race kicks off, I will experience a tiny electric shock beneath my tongue that has occurred countless times, beginning when I used to participate in track in high school. It is the anticipation of competition. Competition is why we brought Animal Kingdom to Ascot.




Frankel wins Queen Anne Stakes
Frankel wins Queen Anne Stakes

Click above to watch Frankel winning the Queen Anne Stakes (Gr1)…

(Image : The Province - Footage : Hot List HD)

Queen Anne Stakes (Gr1)

Ascot, Turf, 1600m

19 June 2012

Khalid Abdullah’s wonder Frankel (GB) (Galileo) provided a second Royal procession in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes minutes after The Queen’s official arrival at Ascot Tuesday, winning his 11th race by 11 lengths.

Sent of at a remarkable starting price of 1-10, the brilliant bay laid claim to the title of the greatest miler in turf history when extending his superiority over old rival and Group 1-winning benchmark Excelebration (Ire) (Exceed and Excel).

“He’s a great, great horse and is still improving,” commented Sir Henry Cecil after greeting his 74th Royal winner. “People love champions, and I’m pleased he’s done it for them.”

Royal Ascot is an intensely competitive environment, and only a select few are sent off less than evenmoney, but Frankel has long since proved that he is as close to a racing certainty as it is possible to get and punters devoured all odds available until he had reached a Black Caviar (Aus) (Bel Esprit)-like return of 1-10.

His latest performance in Newbury’s G1 Lockinge Stakes a month previously gave credence to his trainer’s outspoken belief that the best horse he has handled throughout his long career had progressed throughout the winter break. The homebred’s early days had been characterized by a gung-ho attitude that was most ruthlessly employed in the G2 Royal Lodge Stakes here at two and in last year’s 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. But the Warren Place team had worked tirelessly to channel his enthusiasm, and race by race the results were becoming clear.

Amenable to restraint here, Frankel settled into an easy rhythm right behind his invaluable 3/4-brother Bullet Train while sandwiched between Godolphin’s free-running Helmet (Aus) (Exceed and Excel) and Excelebration, who was more prominently placed by Joseph O’Brien this time. As soon as Bullet Train started to run out of gas with three furlongs to race, Frankel was allowed some rein and began his familiar surge. Drifting across to the far side as he powered away, he hit the line apparently still full of run.

“I’m relieved, as no horse is a certainty,” Cecil commented. “He did exactly what I thought he would, and he is getting better. He looks as if he’ll stay a mile and a quarter, so we’ll leave our options open but he’s in the G1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown July 1, G1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood August 1 and G1 Juddmonte International at York August 22 - we’ll feel our way and he’ll tell me what to do.” Winning jockey Tom Queally added, “He settled and traveled and that was his best performance. He’s amazing and ticked all the boxes - I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Joseph O’Brien was left in awe as he trailed on Excelebration. “I thought for a couple of strides I might get close to him, but as soon as Tom pressed the button he quickened up very well,” O’Brien said. “He’s an exceptional horse and very good.”

With champion Black Caviar still waiting in the wings for Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee, Cecil wasn’t eager to compare his titan to the wonder from down under. “I don’t see how people can judge horses from different generations and countries over different distances and put a horse a pound in front of another, but let everybody judge him for what he has done. You can’t compare him with Black Caviar and I’m a great admirer of hers, so let them be champions in their own right. They are good for racing all over the world. I’ve been very fortunate to have good horses and I don’t like to compare my champions - they don’t deserve that - and any winner here is the same. We have to thank the Prince for keeping him in training for another year, but I would think he’ll go to stud next year. It is a question of whether he has three more races or four.”

Frankel was provisionally rated by Timeform at 147 following Tuesday’s tour de force. “The facts are that Frankel’s performance is likely to surpass anything witnessed in Timeform’s 64 year history,” said David Johnson, Timeform’s Flat editor. “To give some perspective on just how phenomenal this effort was, in provisionally rating Frankel 147, we still have Excelebration running more than a stone below his previous best (133). A point worth emphasising is the consistency with which Frankel has produced such performances. This is the fifth time that he has produced a 140+ rating.” The highest-rated horse in Timeform’s history is Sea Bird II at 145.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

royal ascot
royal ascot




Canford Cliffs win Queen Anne Stakes from Goldikova
Canford Cliffs win Queen Anne Stakes from Goldikova

Click above to watch Canford Cliffs winning the Queen Anne Stakes (Gr1)

(Image : Racing Post - Footage : Racing UK)


Royal Ascot, 1600m

14 June 2011

Yesterday’s G1 Queen Anne Stakes was billed as a two- horse race and that’s how it turned out, with the Heffer Syndicate, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Canford Cliffs (Ire) (Tagula) prevailing ahead of Goldikova (Ire) (Anabaa) in a thrilling renewal.

Moving with his customary gusto in rear early as Goldikova followed the pace cut out by her pacemaker Flash Dance (Ire) (Zamindar) and the aggressively ridden Cape Blanco (Ire) (Galileo), Canford Cliffs was hot on her heels as she moved to take over inside the final quarter. With Olivier Peslier - who rode two pounds overweight - hard at work to shake off his attentions passing the furlong pole, the writing was on the wall for the supermare, and Canford Cliffs was firmly on top at the line as Goldikova kept putting up her typical game effort.

“Olivier rode a terrific cat-and- mouse race, as I wasn’t going to kick until he did, and the quickest part of the race was the final two furlongs,” commented jockey Richard Hughes. “Ideally, I wanted to be right behind her and, luckily, I ended up in her slipstream. I have been confident about this horse since the first day I sat on him. He is amazing.” Trainer Richard Hannon added, “Goldikova is obviously a brilliant mare, but he’s a very good horse, so we had to take her on. It was the perfect race with two good pacemakers, and he has a real cruising speed and can quicken. He’s a very special horse to us - these ones don’t come along every day.” That trainer’s son and assistant Richard Hannon Jr. added, “He is probably the horse of a lifetime, and while Goldikova is becoming a legend already, maybe he is going the same way. He seems near unbeatable at a mile. My view is if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, but we’ll discuss plans with the owners. The G1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood July 27 is there and later on there is the Breeders’ Cup, Japan and Hong Kong, so we’ll pick our way.”

Goldikova’s trainer Freddy Head was magnanimous in defeat after witnessing the crowd’s applause on her return to the runner’s-up spot. “I am very happy with her, as she has run a great race, but there is nothing I can say other than she was beaten by a better horse on the day,” Head said. “He had a lovely run and followed us through and, as I’ve said before, this mile is tough, and is maybe a bit too far for her. These people know their horses and are very fond of champions, so it was a thrill to see their reaction to her afterwards. I think she’s run a top race and is as good as ever, so we will follow the same path, and head to Deauville in August, and then try and win a fourth Breeders’ Cup Mile.”

Bred in Ireland, Canford Cliffs is a great-grandson of the U.S. based stallion Stop the Music, and hails from an American female family as well. His third dam Triple Tipple (Raise a Cup) began her racing career in Europe before returning home to secure the GII Wilshire Handicap and GIII Palomar Handicap, and also was runner-up Sabin in the GI Gamely Handicap for trainer Richard Cross. Canford Cliffs, in whom an interest was sold last season to Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, has a 2-year-old half-brother by Holy Roman Emperor (Ire) named Mayo Lad (Ire). That bay colt, sold for 100,000gns to Peter Doyle Bloodstock as a yearling at Tattersalls October, has joined his accomplished brother with trainer Richard Hannon. Their dam Mrs Marsh produced an Excellent Art (GB) colt last February.


Final Result









Richard Hughes

Richard Hannon




Olivier Peslier

Freddy Head




Ryan Moore

Roger Charlton




Frankie Dettori

Saeed bin Suroor




Red Ransom

Michael Hills

Barry Hills




Jamie Spencer

Aidan O’Brien




Mickael Barzalona

Freddy Head

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News