Royal Ascot 2017 set off at a blistering gallop on Tuesday 20th June, when the first race of the day – and the meeting – became a record breaker.
Trainer Richard Fahey described Ribchester as the best horse he has ever trained after the Godolphin-owned colt landed the G1 Queen Anne Stakes under William Buick in a track record time of 1m 36.60s.
A delighted Fahey said: “I’m just delighted he has won. You can never be confident but everything dropped into place there. He has huge gears and he is never in trouble. He gets the trip and that makes him a good horse.
“Look Ribchester is just an exceptional horse. He has to be the best horse I have ever trained. He broke the track record here today and that’s not being disrespectful to the others, but he is just exceptional.”
The win marked 40 years to the day since Sheikh Mohammed’s first success as an owner (Hatta, Brighton, 20th June 1987). Godolphin’s founder (pictured top), was delighted with the performance of the 11/10 favourite and said: “Ribchester was always travelling well with the field. He is a good horse.
“Hatta was my first horse and people were surprised when she beat the favourite at Brighton (40 years ago today). From that day, we have moved forward and we are really enjoying it.”
Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation enjoyed a second winner when Barney Roy landed the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes; and Sound And Silence completed a 123.95/1 treble for Godolphin on the first day of Royal Ascot when winning the Windsor Castle Stakes by a neck.
William Buick was aboard Sound And Silence, having ridden Ribchester to win the Queen Anne Stakes earlier in the day. It was a 34.7/1 double for the jockey.
The Tuesday also saw Wesley Ward attempt to become the first American trainer to take the five-furlong G1 King’s Stand Stakes. His runner Lady Aurelia won the 2016 Queen Mary Stakes over the same distance – and this year produced a devastating display to land the King’s Stand Stakes. Although she just missed out on the course record by .01 seconds, Wesley Ward was at least able to claim his own history-making distinction.
Lady Aurelia also became the first horse from Wesley Ward’s stable to win twice at Royal Ascot and the trainer expressed his delight and admiration for his star filly: “That was awesome. Lady Aurelia is a very special filly. This is a Group One with some of the fastest horses in the world, and to duplicate what she did last year, she is a once in a lifetime horse.
“All the team have done a fantastic job with her and she really is something special. She has immense talent and immense speed. Hopefully, with the experience she has now, she should get better and better.”
Royal Ascot 2017 winners – Tuesday, 20th June
- G1 Queen Anne Stakes – RIBCHESTER (Godolphin) Richard Faley 4-9-00 William Buick 11/10 Fav
- G2 Coventry Stakes – RAJSINGHE (Rebel Racing) Richard Spencer 2-9-01 Stevie Donohoe 11/1
- G1 King’s Stand Stakes – LADY AURELIA (Stonestreet Stables/G Bolton/P Leidel) Wesley Ward USA 3-8-09 John Velazquez 7/2
- G1 St James’s Palace Stakes – BARNEY ROY (Godolphin) Richard Hannon 3-9-00 James Doyle 5/2
- Ascot Stakes (Handicap) – THOMAS HOBSON (Susannah Ricci) Willie Mullins IRE 7-9-10 Ryan Moore 4/1 Fav
- Listed Windsor Castle Stakes – SOUND AND SILENCE (Godolphin)Charlie Appleby 2-9-03 William Buick 16/1