Any winner that we back makes us feel good, but a winner at a big Festival, amongst the most competitive racing of the year always feels better. It isn’t just financial gain though that makes memories, there have been countless moments down the years that have made us smile, make us shed a tear and most importantly made us fall in love with racing even more. Our Royal Ascot Tips are starting to go up, including a £553 Lucky 15 but before 2017 has memories made, let’s look back at 5 of the best feel good moments from Royal Ascot in recent years.
1 – Riposte wins the Ribblesdale 2013
Many of you may not remember Riposte, she had won just a maiden at Newmarket before winning the Ribblesdale for Khalid Abdullah but it was her victory, swept along on the waves of emotion that touched the heart of the nation. On the 11th of June, racing mourned the lost of one of it’s own, Sir Henry Cecil passed away, a Royal Ascot doyen, winning trainer on no less than 75 occasions at the meeting. Just 9 days later, his wife, Lady Cecil, saddled Riposte in the Riblesdale. Blowing the start, she looked to have forfeited her chance but any fairy tale has it’s element of doubt, the troubles overcome, and having travelled well, she flew past the field in the straight to one of the biggest cheers ever seen at the meeting. Tears flowed champagne like from the thronged steppings of the winners enclosure as Lady Cecil simply stated, “This one’s for Henry.”
2 – Estimate wins the Gold Cup 2013
Fairy tales are rarely akin to buses, but no sooner had the applause died down for Riposte, Estimate claimed the very next contest, the Gold Cup for Her Majesty The Queen. A rarely changing demeanour is a must when dealing with engagements of the like that the Royal Family have to deal with. There was no lack of emotion here however, the Royal Box no different from any other in the Grandstand, a winner roared home, Her Majesty clad in lilac, clapping her hands almost in rhythm with Ryan Moore’s urgings on her filly, sinews stretched as Estimate put her head down to fight off the game Simenon. Whatever personal views of the Royal Family one has, this was a special moment that will not soon be forgotten, a human interest story from the very top. You can watch Estimate claiming the Gold Cup below.
3 – College Chapel wins the Cork and Orrery 1993
The race that is now known as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes has seen a list of some of the brightest and best sprinters win it down the years. 1993 was particularly special however as it marked the final Royal Ascot winner both for fifty seven year old jockey Lester Piggott and seventy six year old trainer Vincent O’Brien. Piggott had missed five years in the saddle from 1985 to 1990, one in prison for tax evasion and four as a trainer. He returned to produce Royal Academy with a perfectly timed run to land the Breeders Cup Mile within ten days of retuning to the plate but it was at Royal Ascot, the end of an era of dominance that both he and O’Brien took their final bow in the spotlight. Timing as always was a thing of Piggott perfection, picking up the lead inside the final furlong on the three year old, he was always holding the runner up by a comfortable length.
4 – Yeats wins the Gold Cup 2009
The feature race of the meeting has unsurprisingly contained some of the very best stories in the Royal Ascot history books. A horse who in 2004 missed the Epsom Derby for which he had been made favourite, became a legend of the game on a June afternoon in 2009. To get a horse to win an Ascot Gold Cup is an achievement, two and a half miles on the flat is gruelling, it takes so much out of a horse to do it once. To do it four times is on a whole other planet of achievement, not just the only horse to ever claim this long standing prize on four occasions, he did it four on the bounce. A race inaugurated in 1807, gives some depth to him being at least the best staying horse of the modern era, one of the all time greats and his thunderous reception was more than deserved. Relive Yeats winning the feature contest of Royal Ascot below.
5 Profitable win the King’s Stand 2016
The life of a jockey is not an easy one. Every day they are faced with long hours, hunger and in the case of the sad few, the loss of life, limbs or movement. It’s all too easy as a punter to be blasé in our attitude towards them but what they put on the line just in an ordinary Monday 0-60 handicap is more than most of us will ever lose. For a jockey pigeonholed as a journeyman or in the case of Adam Kirby, an all weather jockey, it’s a uphill battle to free oneself from the shackles of other peoples opinions. Landing a Group 1 at Royal Ascot on the same day as becoming a Father, is a feeling none of us will understand. The sheer elation and emotional outpouring after the line, the sight of Kirby unable to stem the tide of joyful tears had viewers welling up at home and although it is the most recent of the memories here, it is one that will live long in the minds of those who saw it.
It’s almost time for Royal Ascot 2017, our Royal Ascot Tips are taking shape nicely on the site, don’t miss them as they will be added to steadily as we approach the meeting itself.