Royal delight - Tactical wins the Windsor Castle

A review of the rest of the action from day two of Royal Ascot where The Queen had a winner

A review of the rest of the action from day two of Royal Ascot where The Queen enjoyed a winner with Tactical.

Royal delight at Royal Ascot

The Queen celebrated her 24th Royal Ascot winner as Tactical landed a gamble in the Windsor Castle Stakes, the first two-year-old race of the week.

Andrew Balding's charge raced close to the favoured stands' rail but had to be brave inside the final furlong, finding the reserves to win by a length and a quarter.

Yazaman (20/1) and Muker (40/1) ran huge races to fill the minor placings.

Click the image to watch Tactical's Royal Ascot victory

Doyle said: “To ride a winner here for Her Majesty is what dreams are made of.

“It worked out perfectly. He jumped really well from the stalls and was a true professional – for a horse who had only run once before. He took it all in his stride, and it’s a testament to Andrew’s training.”

The Queen’s bloodstock adviser John Warren said: “I think everyone involved is absolutely thrilled – all of Her Majesty’s team, and obviously Andrew and his team.

“Throughout the conversations the Queen was saying how delighted she is to produce a two-year-old winner at Royal Ascot.”

He went on: “Andrew has been saying since the spring the colt was naturally precocious and was finding his work terribly easy. It looked as though he was a nice prospect, even if we didn’t immediately clock him as an Ascot two-year-old.

“When he ran at Newmarket, he got himself into a little bit of trouble, but he had such a good introduction and came out of the race so well, it boded well for his prospects to come here.

“We debated long and hard whether to take him to the Coventry over six furlongs, which would have been his preferred trip, but he has plenty of pace and he did it well.

“It is obviously a great shame Her Majesty isn’t there to enjoy the buzz of having a runner, but she has studied every bit of it today, watching the races. It’s the icing on the cake to have a winner for her.

“I think the Queen, every day of her life, follows racing one way or another when she can. She will have read the Racing Post and known very well the important, fancied horses. She always dedicates half an hour or so to the information every day, so she’s very well tuned in and racing is her tremendous pleasure.

Tactical returns to the winners' enclosure

“The Queen doesn’t get frustrated lightly – she’s very pragmatic and takes everything in her stride. I suspect deep down there may have been a tinge of disappointment she wasn’t there, but that was completely overridden by having a winner and breeding it. I suspect she got a warm inner feeling from pulling this one off.”

Balding said: “He was showing a fair bit at home before we ran him first time out and he ran a nice race at Newmarket. We were quite hopeful today, particularly when the draw looked like it would be more of a help than a hindrance.

“He would have been ready to run in April, which is very early for one of mine. He’s got a great attitude and is very professional.

“I think he will be more comfortable over six furlongs. We looked at the Coventry, but felt it was a stronger race and decided he had enough pace to stick at five.”

He added: “It’s obviously a great thrill for all of us to have a royal winner at the Royal meeting.

“On racedays we tend to give the Queen a ring in the morning and give her our thoughts. We did that this morning, so she was well informed!”

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Prince is King in Copper Horse

Fujaira Prince made a triumphant return after a year off the track when running out a ready winner of the Copper Horse Handicap.

The Roger Varian-trained gelding had been absent since finishing third at this meeting in 2019, but was sent off the 3/1 favourite and did not let his supporters down.

Fujaira Prince is away and clear at Ascot

Varian said: "Well done to Andrea. He gave him a great ride. It looked a tricky draw (16), but he was intent on getting out and getting a position. He was able to sit second, one off the fence.

"The rest of it was pretty straightforward. He quickened up nicely in the straight.

"He's quite a delicate horse and has not raced much for a six-year-old. To see him win like that it's patience rewarded.

"The obvious race that springs to mind is the Ebor. Whether that's his next race or not we'll have to see how he is and see what else we might fancy and what the owner wants to do."

Crowley's golden week continues

Jim Crowley and Hamdan Al Maktoum's golden week continued as Hukum (12/1) won the King George VI Stakes.

Fresh from a treble on the opening day, the jockey provided trainer Owen Burrows with a first Royal Ascot winner.

He went to the front two out but was immediately pressed by Kipps, who for a stride or two looked set to go past.

However, Hukum was game in front and battled on strongly to score by half-a-length on only his third career start.

Subjectivist (22/1) and Group One Power (28/1) were third and fourth respectively.

Jim Crowley drives Hukum to victory at Royal Ascot

Crowley said: "It's going great and I'm very lucky to be riding for such a good owner and such powerful stables."

The colt was given quotes for the Investec Derby afterwards and the in-form rider added: "Hukum only only had two runs before and we half threw him in at the deep end there but he's been working nicely and I still think there's a bit more to come form him. He stays well but whether he has enough experience to go round Epsom is another question."

The winning trainer added: "It's a great day. We'll have a think about the Derby and go back and talk to Sheikh Hamdan.

"Jim said he was lugging left a bit for the majority of the way round today and whether he'll handle Epsom we'll have to see. He just got struck into on his right hind too and we'll see how that is."

Murphy magic on Busker

Oisin Murphy partnered his first winner of the week as Sir Busker (12/1) swooped late to win the Silver Royal Hunt Cup.

Salayel (12/1) looked to have stolen the prize when booting clear a furlong out but the champion jockey was busy conjuring a race-winning burst from his partner.

He weaved between horses to hit the front in the dying strides and win cosily by three-quarters-of-a-length.

It was a race in which those drawn high and raced by the stands' rail dominated, Alternative Fact (9/1) and Almufti (33/1) filling the minor placings.

Poignant winner for trainer William Knight

Winning trainer William Knight said: "When he won at Newcastle that was my first runner from our new yard at Newmarket. That morning my father (Martin) died so this horse has a big emotional bond to me. Now I’ve had my first Royal Ascot winner he’s even more special to me.

“When I think about it I start choking up. My wife is from Newmarket and I had five years as assistant to Ed Dunlop in Newmarket and a load of my old mates are there. As my wife Emily said, we have been self-isolating for 14 years so it is nice to be back.”

He added: “I was quite happy he got in the consolation (for the Hunt Cup). In a normal year we wouldn’t have had this race so I’ve fluked a Royal Ascot winner.

“He’s tailor-made for these handicaps. The Balmoral at the end of the year has to be a target. He’ll go on soft ground.

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“He’ll step up to stakes company as some point. but the handicaps have got such good pots. He’s a gelding so there is no need to get black type for him and we’ll go where the money is.”

Murphy said: “William said to ride him like Jamie Spencer, but I can’t ride like Jamie as he is masterful on that track here. I just rode him with loads of confidence and followed the right ones through. A lot of that was to do with chance, but the horse was in super shape.”

Of the action being behind closed doors, Murphy said: “There wasn’t the roar of the crowd we love and dream about, but it’s amazing. Royal Ascot is very important and to get on the scoresheet is important to me as a rider.”

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