(Main picture) Yeats earns his place in racing history with an unprecedented fourth win in the Gold Cup. Of all the great horses of the modern era, none has become more synonymous with Royal Ascot than the legendary Yeats who won four Gold Cups in a row from 2006 to 2009.
No horse had ever before matched this epic achievement. This image shows the magical moment when jockey Johnny Murtagh and Yeats crossed the Ascot winning line and galloped into horseracing history in June 2009.
This picture shows two legends in one – Lester Piggott and the great Nijinsky. The partnership arrived at Ascot for the 1970 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes undefeated having won the 2,000 Guineas, Derby and Irish Derby. Although long odds on for the King George and regarded as something of a formality by everyone else, the concentration on Lester’s face in this image as he calmly settles Nijinsky in the parade ring embodies the single-minded determination of the greatest jockey the world has ever seen.
Frankie Dettori’s “Magnificent Seven”
Shortly before 6pm on Saturday 28th September 1996, true sporting history was made when Frankie Dettori completed an unprecedented seven-timer from seven races on the previously unheralded four-year-old, Fujiyama Crest. On a day that bookmakers called their worst ever, Dettori won everything from Europe’s championship mile race, the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, to the closing event, the lowly Class C Gordon Carter Handicap.
The Sporting Life called it Frankie’s “Magnificent Seven” and the jockey’s excitement and disbelief is captured perfectly as he is pictured entering the winners’ enclosure for the seventh time in this image.
Grundy and Bustino
Arguments concerning who might have been the best horse ever to race at Ascot will rage on but to the question “what was the best race?” there will only ever be one answer – Grundy (trained by Peter Walwyn) and Bustino (Major Dick Hern) in the 1975 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. It is hard to think of another race where the runner up is afforded the same legend status as the winner, but when people talk of the 1975 King George, they don’t say “Grundy’s King George,” they say “Grundy and Bustino.”
The phrase victory in defeat has arguably never been so aptly brought to life than in Bustino’s gallant attempt under Joe Mercer to add the King George to his victory in the previous year’s St Leger. As the four-year-old came to lead turning in off an electric pace set by his two pacemakers, he was joined at the furlong pole by the Derby winner, Grundy, under Pat Eddery, for one of the toughest duels the turf has ever seen. This iconic picture shows the finish of Ascot’s greatest ever race.
Brown Jack was a crowd favourite and a household name as well as something of an unlikely Royal Ascot hero, having begun his career as a hurdler, albeit at the highest level with victory in the 1928 Champion Hurdle. On the recommendation of top flat jockey Steve Donoghue, Brown Jack’s trainer, the Hon. Aubrey Hastings, switched him to the flat, a decision that saw the partnership win the 1928 Ascot Stakes and subsequently six consecutive renewals of the Queen Alexandra Stakes between 1929 and 1934.
It is almost inconceivable that another horse will ever win at seven Royal Meetings, a fact that
wouldn’t have been lost on his adoring public as demonstrated in this image.
A colourful history of racing – with a few surprises.
Today a day at Ascot Racecourse is a chance to watch first class racing whilst also enjoying the unique surroundings and atmosphere of the world’s most famous racecourse – but visitors here have also seen some colourful and surprising sights over the past 300 years. The additional entertainment laid on for 18th century racegoers included cockfighting, prizefighting, wrestling, gaming tents, jugglers, ballad singers, ladies on stilts and freak shows.
Allison is the Publisher of Eclipse Magazine. She loves going to the Races and is learning to bet (despite being officially the worst bettor in the History of the Universe), there's a lot more to learn...