Racing enthusiast Jon Vine takes a look at the five most famous horses to ever run at Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot is approaching and as excitement begins to build, we take a look at a five of the greatest superstars to have previously graced the meeting.
Between the years of 1929 and 1934, Brown Jack achieved a feat which is unlikely ever to be repeated, when he won the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot six seasons in a row.
What makes Brown Jack such a unique and popular horse, is that he started his career as a hurdler and even claimed Champion Hurdle glory at the Cheltenham Festival as a four-year-old, before switching to flat racing later that same year.
He won the Ascot Stakes title in the summer of 1928 and his trainer, Ivor Antony, saw his charge win ten more major titles over the next six years, including those incredible victories in the Queen Alexandra Stakes.
The Royal family have forever been closely associated with Ascot’s most famous Festival and a victory for a horse carrying The Queen’s colours is celebrated and treasured above any other winner during the week. In 2012, the Sir Michael Stoute trained Estimate carried her majesty’s silks into the Royal Ascot winners’ enclosure, when Ryan Moore guided her to the Queen’s Vase title.
A year later, the four-year-old filly stepped into Grade 1 company for the first time in the Ascot Gold Cup. Moore once again timed his late charge to perfection and the Royal Ascot stands erupted as Estimate made history, claiming Gold Cup glory for the Royal Family for the very first time.
Aiden O’Brien’s charge was never the flashiest, or most breath-taking runner in the sport, but Yeats’ four successive Gold Cup triumphs between 2006 and 2009 ensured he would go down in history as one of the greatest horses ever to tread the Royal Ascot turf.
Victories in the Coronation and Goodwood Cups set a wonderful platform for his future successes and his dominant displays in the Gold Cup earned him the accolade of European Champion Stayer four years in a row.
Royal Ascot paid tribute to the four-time champion shortly after his retirement, as a statue was erected alongside the parade ring in 2011, forever immortalising Yeats’ incredible accomplishments.
International superstars have often ventured to Royal Ascot over the years and watched their superstar reputations crash and burn in front of their trainer’s horrified eyes – Black Caviar was not one of them.
Australia’s most celebrated horse carried what seemed to be the weight of the world on her shoulders when she shuffled into the stalls in the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, but Peter Moody and the horses other connections had no need to worry. She soon established a commanding lead and was even eased down by her jockey, Luke Nolen over the final, triumphant furlong.
Black Caviar retired as one of the most famous horses around the world. She ended her career with an unblemished record of 25 consecutive victories, but her stunning performance at Royal Ascot shines brightest amongst her many achievements and the plaudits continue to arrive on social media through such mediums as the horse racing Twitter account @racingtips.
Described by his trainer, the late, great Sir Henry Cecil as “the best horse I have ever seen”, Frankel’s performance in the 2011 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes went a long way to establishing his reputation as the best in the business.
Anyone who was lucky enough to witness his commanding display in the 2000 Guineas that year, knew they were in the presence of greatness and as Tom Queally drove his mount clear of all his Royal Ascot pursuers with consummate ease, his legacy was cemented.
After another incredible showcase of sprinting in the Queen Anne Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot later in the season, Frankel was awarded a rating of 147 – the highest rating ever bestowed upon a flat racer and ensuring he will be remembered as the greatest of all time.
Royal Ascot 2017, Tuesday 20th to Saturday 24th June 2017, Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7JX. General Enquiries: +44 (0) 844 346 3000.