Photo courtesy of Coolmore
Royal Ascot is almost upon us, the excitement is building as the best equine talent from the UK and around the world compete at the famous track.
This year is set up for some potentially epic clashes including Stradivarius against Cross Counter in the Gold Cup and Sea Class taking on Masar in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Over the last 10 years, Royal Ascot has witnessed many titanic battles, scintillating performances and iconic moments. Here’s our list of the greatest Royal Ascot moments in the last decade.
“All class, one of the greatest stayers of all-time, one of the greatest training performances of all-time”, Richard Hoiles summed up the magnitude of Yeats’ fourth Ascot Gold Cup victory brilliantly.
The famous race dates back to 1807, and over all that time, the Aidan O’Brien trained superstar is the only horse to win it four times.
If you’re ever having a bad day and need a pick-me-up, just take a look at this video. Frankel destroyed his rivals in the opening race of Royal Ascot 2012 – arguably his greatest race.
To put it into context, the horse that finishes 11 lengths behind the Sir Henry Cecil-trained icon is Excelebration – a three-time Group 1 winner. Sit back and be amazed…
Black Caviar came to Royal Ascot with a huge weight of expectation. Undefeated in her previous 21 races, Peter Moody’s wonder mare went off at odds of 1/6.
Whilst cruising through the majority of the race and seemingly in control, jockey Luke Nolen became too comfortable in the saddle to leave a nail-biting finish in the dying stages. We still find it agonising to watch, and we’ve seen it umpteen times now!
Her Majesty The Queen, a superb ambassador and patron of our great sport, could not have been a more fitting winner of the Gold Cup in 2013.
For trainer Sir Michael Stoute and jockey Ryan Moore, Estimate’s tenacious attitude to defeat the boys in the dying stages presented the Royal meeting with one of its greatest ever triumphs. The crowd were in raptures for the Queen’s success, as were we.
After his narrow QIPCO 2000 Guineas defeat to Night of Thunder, this was payback. Thought to be better on softer ground, Kingman showcased his capabilities as an equine hero by dismissing his rivals one-by-one in a matter of strides.
As Simon Holt says in commentary, he is all class!
In 2016, the two year old Lady Aurelia turned the Queen Mary Stakes into an exhibition – showing stunning speed in the softish ground to prevail by seven lengths in a rapid time.
The following year, the Wesley Ward trained filly beat the boys in the King’s Stand with another electric turn of foot in the final furlongs to win by three lengths.
However, the 2016 Queen Mary was certainly the most eye-catching of the two.
Big Orange pipped the 2016 victor Order of St George by a short head in an epic finish to win one of the greatest ever finishes to the Ascot Gold Cup.
The double Goodwood Cup champion, Big Orange, was known as one of the most genuine and determined horses in training. There was never a truer example of this than the 2017 Gold Cup when the Michael Bell-trained stayer held off the oncoming Order of St George to claim the big prize by the finest of margins.
Big Orange has recently retired and joined the Retraining of Racehorses charity flagship yard at Palace House, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art.
Visitors to the museum, specifically the Rothschild Yard will be able to meet the champion racehorse along with his new stable mates Purple Moon, Accession, Tariq Too, Rouge Nuage and Whiteshift.