The final day of Royal Ascot saw the racecourse welcome back the Queen as she attended her first race meeting in almost two years. She nearly had a great start to her day as her horse Reach For The Moon was narrowly beaten in the opening Chesham Stakes.
It was another regular and long-standing attendee who took the honours in the day’s big race, the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes as Royal Ascot’s all-time winning-most trainer Sir Michael Stoute saddled Dream Of Dreams, his only winner at this year’s meeting.
Ridden by Stoute’s old ally, Ryan Moore, Dream Of Dreams was held up towards the rear of the field as the field split into two groups with Glen Shiel heading the far side group and Art Power leading on the stand’s side. Just over two out, as Glen Shiel started to come under pressure from jockey Hollie Doyle, Ryan Moore started after them on Dream Of Dreams. While both Glen Shiel and Art Power kept on well in the last two furlongs Dream Of Dreams relentlessly ate into their lead and by the final furlong marker, 200 metres out, he was on terms before inching ahead as they raced towards the line, eventually prevailing by a length from Glen Shiel with Art Power third.
Stoute, not a man to court the media, was in good humour afterwards, as you’d expect, and paid tribute to his team at home when asked what had made the difference to Dream Of Dreams, a seven year old gelding who had been struggling to get his nose in front on big race-days until his win in the Haydock Sprint Cup towards the end of last season.
“He has got more and more relaxed, he doesn’t go to post like a sprinter, does he? I thought he was going to pull up halfway down. He is more relaxed, and a little better. He’s fully developed and strong now, but it’s his mind – he’s really, really chilling.” Stoute said of Dream Of Dreams who looks likely to prove a major force in the rest of the season’s top sprints.
The young trainer of the runner-up Glen Shiel, 32 year old Archie Watson, must have been rueing his luck as this second place finish backed up yesterday’s controversial decision to reverse the placings after his colt Dragon Symbol had finished first past the post in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup only to be demoted for interfering with the Wesley ward trained Campanelle. But he remained philosophical in defeat saying, “I’m delighted with Glen Shiel. He tries so hard. Hollie said that Ryan came to her late and whilst Glen Shiel kept on battling, she just wished they had come to him earlier as he just keeps on finding.
It was winner number 82 for Sir Michael Stoute at the Royal Meeting, his first winner having come 44 years ago in 1977, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year. She is now well beyond her Diamond Jubilee but both she and Stoute continue to be star attractions at UK racing’s most eagerly awaited flat racing festival.