herald

Friday 9 December 2016

ervedya claims crown at ascot

Classic form to fore in Coronation and Moore excels again

The Irish raiders were certainly halted in their domination of Royal Ascot on the fourth day as was the scintillating form of jockey Ryan Moore but that was only until the last race when normal order was restored with Aidan O'Brien saddling his fifth of the week with Aloft and Moore creating a new record of nine winners for the week with one full day to go.

Prior to all that though Moore, O'Brien and the Coolmore team had to settle for second best as Irish 1,000 Guineas runner-up Found and English 1,000 Guineas runner-up Lucida had to take minor honours behind French 1,000 Guineas winner Ervedya in the Coronation Stakes.

It was a first winner at Royal Ascot for top class French trainer Jean-Claude Rouget and just a second for Christophe Soumillon and both were naturally delighted with their latest Group One triumph.

Indeed, it was a first Royal Ascot winner for Soumillon at Ascot itself as his previous came during the redevelopment when the meeting was held at York and the Belgian native said: "For me this is great.

"It's a great meeting but unfortunately I don't have the horses to come here with every year. If you're not riding for Aidan O'Brien, Sir Michael Stoute or the late Sir Henry Cecil then it's hard to make it here.

"But I've had success at Ascot in the King George and on Champions' Day.

"I was lucky to find the gap in the middle. I knew that she maybe didn't handle the trip so I didn't want to make the outside in the turn. I knew that Aidan O'Brien's filly today was on top of her form and she beat us last year at the Marcel Boussac in Longchamp.

"When I saw Found in a good position, I thought it was better to stay behind her and, actually, I think that is maybe why we won because, if I was coming 500 metres out on the outside, I am not sure that she would have quickened like she did and stay on until the line. I knew she would give me something great at the finishing line."

Aloft won the concluding Queen's Vase on his first start of the season and Ryan Moore was clearly suggesting afterwards that there's a lot more to come from him when he said: "You wouldn't know where this horse might end up."

While there were emotional scenes after Illuminate won the opening Albany Stakes for Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes in what could be Hughes last ever Royal Ascot winner.

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