Six of the best: epic Royal Ascot moments

Royal Ascot view

Royal Ascot: a social occasion mixed with world-class racing

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

 By Stuart Riley 5:57PM 11 JUN 2016 

ROYAL ASCOT is not just top hats, pretty dresses and champagne, it is also five days of the best racing in Britain. We relive the standout moment from each year this decade.

2015Queen MaryAcapulco

Wesley Ward’s monstrous filly was as imperious as the post-race comments were amusing. She towered over her rivals in the paddock beforehand, left them all for dust in the race itself, and was then proclaimed “the best four-year-old, I mean three, I mean two, I’ve ever trained.”


Acapulco: the physically imposing American raider routed her rivals

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (  

That her physical appearance and on-track dominance matched Ward’s slip of the tongue only added to the drama. This really was a woman among girls.

2014Diamond JubileeSole Power

It was a year of Group 1 doubles. John Gosden landed the St James’s Palace and Prince of Wales’s with the dominant Kingman and brilliant The Fugue, but even he failed to match the feat of Eddie Lynam, who had the power and claimed the meeting’s two Group 1 sprints.

Sole Power - Richard Hughes

Sole Power and Richard Hughes proved a match made in heaven

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

Sole Power claimed the King’s Stand on the opening day under a match made in heaven waiting ride by Richard Hughes, while Slade Power took the final Group 1 of the meeting on Saturday in dominant fashion. Lynam also landed the Queen Mary in between with Anthem Alexander for good measure, while between them Sole and Slade added the Nunthorpe and July Cup to rule the domestic sprinting scene.

2013Ascot Gold CupEstimate

Royal Ascot moments do not come any bigger than the Queen, the meeting’s guest of honour,  winning its biggest race. The tried and trusted pair of Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore made it happen.

The Queen greets Estimate after winning the Gold Cup

The Queen greets Estimate after winning the Gold Cup

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

She was prepared to the minute and, having won the Queen’s Vase the year before and the Sagaro as her prep, she was sent off the 7-2 favourite. Estimate was given a peach of a ride by Moore, as is his wont, and she became the first Ascot Gold Cup winner to be owned by a reigning monarch in the race’s 207-year history. In the process she created a surreal piece of television as the Queen clapped, cheered and smiled her filly home, all in the company of a really rather giddy John Warren.

2012Diamond JubileeBlack Caviar

Getting Black Caviar to Royal Ascot was a two year process. First connections had to be seduced. Then she had to get here, all the way from Australia in a specially designed compression suit. Finally Black Caviar had to do what she did best – run. Run really, really fast.

Black Caviar - Ascot - 23/06/2012

Black Caviar: just held off Moonlight Cloud

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

She came, she saw, and less than 75 seconds, a pair of dropped hands and a rapidly-diminishing lead later, she was victorious. She was always victorious. In 25 unbeaten starts only two horses got within a length of her and only the line coming exactly when it did, saved Nolen’s blushes.

2011St James’s PalaceFrankel

In 2012 Frankel blitzed the Queen Anne, winning by 11 lengths. A year earlier, and high on life after watching Tom Queally blow the 2,000 Guineas field out of the water in the first five furlongs with one of the most devestating performances of all time, Sir Henry Cecil nearly watched his pride and joy give up his unbeaten record in truly bizarre circumstances.

Frankel - Royal Ascot - 14.05.2011

Frankel: was given a bizarre ride by Tom Queally in the St James’s Palace

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Frankel was restrained early and then sent on from the main field fully five furlongs from home as if merely cruising through the early part of the race would allow him to sustain his Guineas surge. At the two furlong marker he was well clear. With half a furlong to go he unsurprisingly began to falter. A fast-finishing Zoffany reeled in the slow-finishing leader with every stride, but could not quite get there. It was the only time the geatest looked fallible.

2010Prince of Wales’sByword

Byword, in the 2010 Prince of Wales’s Stakes, was Maxime Guyon’s first ride in Britain. Andre Fabre’s 21-year-old prodigy already had five Group 1 wins to his name, having turned professional just two years earlier, and announced his talents on the international stage in emphatic fashion.

Byword - Royal Ascot 16.06.10

Maxime Guyon celebrating his victory on Byword

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham ( 

Guyon celebrated exuberantly as he crossed the line, punching the air on the 5-2 favourite as he led home a one-two for Khalid Abdullah ahead of old favourite Twice Over. It was a brilliant introduction to a wonderous talent.

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