Twilight Son (white and green) wins from Gold-Fun (yellow), Signs Of Blessing (noseband) and Magical Memory (second right)
PICTURE: Getty Images
By Nick Pulford 4:28PM 18 JUN 2016
Report: Royal Ascot, Saturday
Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) 6f, 4yo+
TWILIGHT SON snatched a thrilling victory close home as four runners hit the line almost in unison, with Gold-Fun, Signs Of Blessing and Magical Memory close up in a frantic finish and Suedois right on their heels in fifth.
The Henry Candy-trained winner was a third success of the day for Ryan Moore, who was at his brilliant best with a strong and well-timed finish. This victory clinched the meeting’s top rider award for Moore as he finished the week on a high.
Twilight Son, sent off 7-2 third favourite, won by a neck from Hong Kong raider Gold-Fun (7-1), with long-time leader Signs Of Blessing (25-1) only a short head away.
Magical Memory, the 3-1 favourite, was a somewhat unlucky fourth, having been slowly away and still last going into the final furlong. He powered into contention under Frankie Dettori but his effort petered out in the final 100 yards.
Suedois was a close fifth, just a short head behind Magical Memory, as the last Group 1 of the meeting provided a tremendous final-day highlight.
Twilight Son cut for July Cup
Several of the principals are likely to meet again in the Darley July Cup next month and Paddy Power make Twilight Son 5-1 (from 9) for that Group 1 contest.
William Hill have Twilight Son as 5-1 favourite (from 8) with Magical Memory 6-1 and Limato and Quiet Reflection next on 10-1.
Twilight Son’s veteran trainer, enjoying his first Royal Ascot winner since 1979, said: “We’ve been close a few times and it’s marvellous to get the job done finally. I was looking at Frankie steaming up on the stands side and thinking he [Twilight Son] was probably going to be third, but our horse really dug deep and the jockey on top dug deep. He’s a top man.”
Moore added: “I always felt that, when I was going to ask him, he was going to win. He travelled very strongly and the pace wasn’t strong enough for him. It would have been better if they’d gone quicker. He’s a very good colt and is getting more confident.”
No excuses for Gold-Fun
Gold-Fun was flying at the finish and, although he could not quite get past Twilight Son, his trainer Richard Gibson was pleased his raider had shown his Hong Kong form on this big stage.
“We’ve come a long way and from a professional point of view you’re always pleased when your horse runs to his rating,” he said. “It was tight and all credit to the winner, we’ve got no excuses. It was not quite our day but we’re very satisfied with second place.”
British triumph in international field
Five countries were represented in the field of ten and French challenger Signs Of Blessing was soon at the head of affairs, followed by Australia’s Holler and Twilight Son. The Tin Man, 100-30 second favourite, was also prominent but he faded disappointingly, as did Holler.
Having set a steady pace, Signs Of Blessing stuck on well and it took all of Moore’s strength to drive Twilight Son into the lead close home. At that point it was clear that Magical Memory’s charge from the rear would fall short and the late challenge came from Gold-Fun, but it was not enough to deny Moore and Candy a famous victory.