And that makes eight. Jockey Ryan Moore engineered his sixth, seventh and eighth winners at this year’s Royal Ascot meeting, winning with Waterloo Bridge, Curvy and War Envoy Thursday. As for adding to it, well, that seems inevitable for the imperious jockey Friday.
Moore climbs aboard Group 2 winner Ol’ Man River (3/1) in the King Edward VII Stakes, Royal Ascot winner Hootenanny (9/2) in the Commonwealth Cup, Irish One Thousand Guineas runner-up Found (2-1) in the Coronation Stakes, Dashing Star (15-1) in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes and Racing Post Trophy runner-up Aloft (evens) in the Queen’s Vase.
Four of those five hopefuls hail from Coolmore, which has already produced a banner Royal Ascot meet. Coolmore’s main trainer, Aidan O’Brien, sports four wins, two seconds and a third thus far. O’Brien’s respect for Moore has grown after the world’s best jockey replaced O’Brien’s son, Joseph, as Coolmore’s No. 1 this season.
“Ryan is a marvelous jockey, probably the best I’ve ever seen,” Aidan O’Brien said. “He’s a total professional, extremely committed, has a great feel about a horse and a great feel about a race. He’s an absolute gentleman to work with – we’ve worked with him very closely for the last three years, and for the last couple of years he’s been very close to Joseph and very close to everyone. It’s a privilege that he’s riding for us.”
Moore rides with patience when appropriate, panache when needed and precision all the time. Part artist, part general, the 31-year-old tied Pat Eddery and Lester Piggott for the modern-day record of eight wins at the meeting. Moore has won 44 percent of the races at Royal Ascot this year.
Beyond Moore, Graham Lee starred Thursday.
Lee won the Gold Cup aboard Trip To Paris, becoming the first jockey in history to win the Grand National and the Ascot Gold Cup. Now that’s our kind of double. Lee rode over jumps for decades, winning the Grand National aboard Amberleigh House 11 years ago. Too light for jump racing, Lee switched codes three years ago and won 159 races last season. Trip To Paris provided Lee with his first Royal Ascot win.
Owners La Grange Partnership coughed up £35,000 to supplement the 4-year-old for the Gold Cup. Money well spent.
As for Friday, the hits just keep on coming. We’ll throw in some picks for good measure.
Race 1. 9:30 a.m. The Albany Stakes. Group 3 stakes for 2-year-old fillies going 6 furlongs. Wesley Ward tabs Joel Rosario for Back At The Ranch and Frankie Dettori for Laxfield Road. Claiborne Farm’s Blame is represented by Tutu Nguru for William Haggas. Illuminate hails from the Hannon cannon.
The Picks: Illuminate, Back At The Ranch, Mirage.
Race 2. 10:05. The King Edward VII Stakes. Ol’ Man River tries to right his career after two wins to begin it last term and two losses to begin it this year. Coolmore’s son of Montjeu won’t face the likes of Golden Horn, Jack Hobbs or Gleneagles. Just seven runners, three with Michael Tabor in the owner’s line.
The Picks: Mr Singh, Stravagante, Ol’ Man River.
Race 3. 10:40. The Commonwealth Cup. Group 1 stakes offers $632,500 for 3-year-olds going 6 furlongs. George Weaver, Matt Schera and John Velazquez venture with Cyclogenisis. He’s won all three of his starts, starting at Saratoga, then taking the Laurel Futurity and then the Tom Ridge Stakes at Presque Isle Downs. We like writing, “faces the acid test here.” This is the “Ascot test.” Good to see Americans stretching their boundaries. Hootenanny seeks his fifth win, uniting with Ryan Moore for the first time. Versatile? The 3-year-old son of Quality Road owns wins at Keeneland, Ascot and Santa Anita. Limato tries to bounce back from his first career defeat. Tiggy Wiggy takes on the boys and tries to snap a rare two-race losing streak, she’s back at her distance. Ascot added this race this year. It has passed the test. Captivating race.
The Picks: Hootenanny, Limato, Anthem Alexander.
Race 4. 11:20. The Coronation Stakes. Group 1 stakes going 1 mile for 3-year-old fillies. Found exits a runner-up finish in the Irish One Thousand Guineas. She’s never finished worse than third in five tries. Jim Bolger unleashes Lucida, second in the British One Thousand Guineas. Graham Motion ventures across the water with Miss Temple City, a three-time winner in Maryland and Florida. Like her? She’s 50-1 on the morning line. Godolphin shoots three bullets, Local Time, Lucida and Sperry.
The Picks: Found, Yasmeen, Ervedya.
Race 5. 12:00 p.m. The Duke of Edinburgh. Handicap going a mile and a half. One for the paddock.
The Picks: Igider, Watersmeet, Gold Trail.
Race 6. 12:35. The Queen’s Vase. Listed stakes for 3-year-olds, going 2 miles. Variety, variety, variety. Royal Ascot offers 6 furlongs and 20 furlongs for 3-year-olds on the same card. Aloft finished three quarters of a length behind Elm Park in October. Aidan O’Brien brings him here, off an eight-month freshening.
The Picks: Aloft, Fabricate, Antiquarium.