At the conclusion of a six-furlong journey over a bog created by a perpetual rain, a pair of combatants, well clear of the rest, hit the finish of the G1 Commonwealth as one with nothing between them.
Jockey Oisin Murphy, aboard once-beaten colt #3 Dragon Symbol, knew his mount had gotten the nod over #13 Campanelle, a fellow sophomore of the female variety partnered with all-time Royal Ascot leading reinsman Frankie Dettori. Murphy fist-pumped the air in elation.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on which way you punted, Murphy’s satisfying moment in the rain soon was short circuited by a sensible stewards’ decision to disqualify #3 Dragon Symbol from first to second for interference and to promote #13 Campanelle to the winning position. It’s the 13th time a US-based runner has won a Royal Ascot race and Campanelle’s trainer Wesley Ward, amazingly, has saddled 12 of those!
Not more than a half-hour later, in what racing gods gigglingly call ‘messing with the humans,’ at the conclusion of the G1 Coronation, jockey Murphy once more emphatically pumped his fist. This time, though, his celebration was above revision. #1 Alcohol Free, at 9/2 odds, had drawn well clear at the finish to emphatically capture Coronation glory from #13 Snow Lantern in second and #6 Mother Earth third.
The penultimate 2021 Royal Ascot card, at one point in danger of surrendering completely to a deluge, delivered drama, excitement, great story lines and anticipation of future races from the participants. Saturday’s card, the final one of the season, also holds anticipation, too, in the form of hope that The Queen will make an appearance.
It must be noted, The Queen has been busy. Normally, at this time of the year, she’s ‘going racing’ at Ascot, daily. Dates for the five-day meet traditionally are the first appointments booked on her annual calendar. However, in case you haven’t noticed, this and the previous year have been quite different. No kidding. Here we are, about to enter the final of the current stand and The Queen Mother has yet to make an Ascot appearance.
You can’t say all is right with the world if The Queen Mother hasn’t been to Ascot yet. In fact, let that be the barometer by which a return to normalcy will be judged: When The Queen, finally, waves to us from a horse-drawn carriage trundling down the green straightaway at Ascot, then and only then, will matters even be considered to have approached ‘normal.’
Earlier this week, because of COVID and the G7 Summit--the latter attracting dignitaries like President Joe Biden from the United States and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia to Windsor Castle--The Queen has been otherwise engaged. However, she is expected to visit Ascot before the meet concludes. Saturday is her last chance and she has a ‘live one’ named Tactical running in the Jersey Stakes. Anyway, this year, there’ll be no procession and The Queen will need to lay low (if a Queen can even do that).
According to Vanity Fair, The Queen has, ‘…ridden in more than 260 royal processions at Royal Ascot, often accompanied by members of the royal family and driven in horse-drawn landaus.’ Any way you look at it, that last sentence contains too many mentions of ‘royals.’ Reportedly, The Queen has only missed Royal Ascot twice during her 69-year-reign, both times when she was pregnant. Of course, she also missed last year when the meeting was presented behind closed doors and we’re pretty sure she wasn’t pregnant. So, make her overall Royal Ascot attendance record 66-for-69.
I like it when The Queen shows up at Ascot. It’s cool knowing someone that important derives a similar level of enjoyment from racing as you do. It’s almost as affirming as knowing that the late Elizabeth Montgomery of “Bewitched” fame was a regular attendee at Hollywood Park.
The final day of Royal Ascot racing includes G1, G2 and G3 races. The main event is the G1 Diamond Jubilee, presented at six furlongs on a straightaway. #10 Starman is the 5-2 morning line choice with Oisin Murphy aboard for trainer Ed Walker. The 4-year-old colt has won four of five, including the G2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics last out at York. The only blemish on his resume is a poor effort in October in the G1 British Champions Sprint Stakes over a soft Ascot course—similar to the one he might see Saturday. #5 Glen Shiel, also entered in the Jubilee, defeated him that day under Holly Doyle, who is aboard.
#2 Dream of Dreams is the 3-1 morning line second choice and starts for the all-time leading Royal Ascot trainer Sir Michael Stoute and will be accompanied by Ryan Moore. This 7-year-old won a stakes race last out but defeated just two rivals over soft going. He was well-beaten as 3-1 favorite in the common British Champions Sprint Stakes.
Murphy leads all jockeys with four Royal Ascot wins, one more than all-time Royal Ascot winning pilot Frankie Dettori. William Buick alone has two wins at the meet. The John & Thady Gosden team lead all trainer with four wins, one more than Andrew Balding and two more than William Haggas. Aidan O’Brien has had a notably frustrating week with one win, four seconds and three thirds. Godolphin top all owners with two wins and three thirds. Coolmore Partners have one win along with a host of trainers and four seconds.
We hope you’ve enjoyed racing from Royal Ascot, our observations and that juicy 10X XB Rewards Points promotion on all of your Ascot wagers through Saturday. If you haven’t registered yet, do it before you play today. Complete details are available here: https://www.xpressbet.com/royal-ascot-promotion