Royal Ascot: Subjectivist wins the Gold Cup on Ladies’ Day – as it happened

By: Tony Paley, with Greg Wo Friday 18 June 2021

Joe Fanning and Subjectivist secured a heartwarming win after Frankie Dettori’s misjudgement left Stradivarius with too much to do

Related: Subjectivist wins Gold Cup at Royal Ascot as Stradivarius runs into trouble

And here’s a tip ot two for Friday …

Related: Royal Ascot day four: Novemba is one to remember in Coronation Stakes

Frankie Dettori has a love affair with Ascot, his status as the premier jockey in the public consciousness being forged back in 1996 when he rode all seven winners at the track on what was then Festival of British Racing day. I recall seeing him first at Redcar in the early days back in the late 1980s when it was clear he was going to be one of the leading jockeys of his generation. He was brash and loud, certainly, but he clearly had enormous talent.

The Italian has had an incredible career and the second phase of that stellar time in the saddle has been mainly with John Gosden, the trainer of Stradivarius. They have had some wonderful days together – but this wasn’t one of them, as Kevin Blake of ITV racing highlighted below, and Dettori is always going to look back on the chance to ride Stradivarius into immortality in today’s Gold Cup with regret. The rider said afterwards: “I’d love to have another shot at it.”

"I think today represented a passing of the torch"@kevinblake2011 has had a nightmare with his tips but he's still smiling and mightily impressed with Subjectivist

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1 Highfield Princess (Jason Hart) 18-1
2 Danyah (Dane O’Neill) 10-1
3 Riot (Oisin Murphy) 18-1
4 Lord Rapscallion (Marco Ghiani) 25-1
28 ran
Also: 10-3 Fav Aldaary
Non Runners: 22,26

And they’re off ... Danyah broke out fast ... Jack’s Point is up with the leaders ... Dubai Mirage takes over ... Highfield Princess is there too ... and she leads on the nearside and wins from Danyah with something to spare.

Meanwhile, it’s started raining at Royal Ascot ...

The regular reader will know of my respect for the brilliant Princess Zoe ... it’s been quite a story and her second in the Gold Cup was an incredible feat.

Princess Zoe relaxing after her brilliant run at Ascot

Another brutally competitive handicap to round off the day, with the lightly-raced Aldaary, the only three-year-old in the field, heading the market at around 9-2. William Haggas’s gelding lost his unbeaten record on his fourth start at Goodwood last time out but he was given plenty to do on soft ground and is a very obvious contender off the same mark of 105. All his form is with some cut in the ground, however, and today’s quicker surface is a big unknown, and alternatives abound for anyone who wants to take him on.

You do not need to be a Leeds fan to like Bielsa – though it probably helps – and Charlie Hills’s Persuasion also has plenty of scope for improvement after winning a race at Haydock on his seasonal debut which has proved to be strong form. I’ll go with the horse that Jim Crowley rejected, though. Danyah has run really well over a mile on his last two starts while looking like this drop back to seven furlongs might be just what he needs.

1 Surefire (Hector Crouch) 5-1
2 Sir Lamorak (R L Moore) 4-1 Fav
3 Parachute (Tom Marquand) 16-1
4 Siskany (W Buick) 15-2
17 ran
Non Runners: 3,17

And they’re off ... Surefire is being pushed along ... Sir Lamorak is towards the back ... seems a good pace and First Light leads ... San Martino is last ... Dettori has slowed the pace down on the leader ... Parachute challenges the leader ... Siskany and Surefire make an effort ... Surefire holds off the fast-finishing Sir Lamorak to win.

It’s been a great week for our correspondent Greg Wood in the Tipping Stakes and today after the Gold Cup winner he unearths 18-1 shot Perotto. Hats off!

One runner at Royal Ascot this year and one winner!

Fair play, @tregoningracing @hayleyjanemoore

Another handicap restricted to three-year-olds, but this time on the round course and over a mile-and-a-half and by tradition one of the most competitive events of its type all year. It has been weakened by the scratching of Surrey Gold, one of the overnight favourites, but is still a fiendishly difficult puzzle to unravel. Sir Lamorak, from Aidan O’Brien’s stable, is the likely favourite, and O’Brien’s last runner in this race, South Pacific in 2019, ran out the winner. That broke a 12-runner losing streak for the stable dating back to 2007, however, and O’Brien’s overall record in this contest is perhaps not quite what it should be given the wealth of three-year-old Galileo colts in his yard every year.

Surefire, Siskany and First Light, with Frankie Dettori aboard, are all lightly-raced types with the right kind of profile, but in the absence of the original selection, Surrey Gold, I’ll take a very optimistic each-way stab at John and Thady Gosden’s Marshall Plan at around 28-1. The Gosdens took the Copper Horse Handicap here on Tuesday with a big outsider and this son of Golden Horn has done very little wrong in three starts on the all-weather. He was a good second to a subsequent winner at Lingfield in April in a strong time and could easily find enough improvement to figure.

1 Perotto (Oisin Murphy) 18-1
2 Liffey River (S M Crosse) 20-1
3 Quintillus (W Buick) 28-1
29 ran
Also: 11-2 Fav Air To Air
Non Runner: 18

And they’re off ... Emperor Spirit is up there early ... Legal Attack and Mithras are close up ... Tawleed leads on the near side ... Siam Fox is close up but Emperor Spirit kicks for home ... Perotto has it on the near side and wins.

Wonderful to see this after the Gold Cup

Lovely touch from Joe Fanning’s colleagues

It is always difficult to know where to start with the Britannia, a straight-mile handicap for three-year-olds which offers a £40,000 prize to the winning connections, and frequently the slightly less appealing reward of a gelding operation and a ticket to Hong Kong for the winning horse.

After two races yesterday where a runner from the low-numbered stalls on the far side streaked clear of the much bigger stands’ side group, not to mention the sprinkling of rain overnight, it is also hard to be dogmatic about the likely effect of the draw. Air To Air, Mithras and Raadobarg have emerged as the only runners at single-figure odds this morning, while I’ve taken a hopeful stab at Marcus Tregoning’s Perotto, who needed every yard of seven furlongs to win at Goodwood last time and could be ideally suited by a strongly-run mile.

Stradivarius failed in his attempt to equal history and win his fourth Gold Cup in a row at Royal Ascot as Subjectivist got first run on the home turn and the favourite ran into trouble and finished fourth.

Trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by weighing-room stalwart Joe Fanning, the 13-2 chance was always prominent and powered home unchallenged, with Stradivarius fading to fourth after gallantly trying to make up ground under Frankie Dettori once getting a clear passage.

1 Subjectivist (J Fanning) 13-2
2 Princess Zoe (J M Sheridan) 28-1
3 Spanish Mission (W Buick) 7-1
12 ran
Also: 5-6 Fav Stradivarius 4th
Non Runner: 5

And they’re off ... Nayef Road and Twilight Payment are up there early but Amhran Na Bhffiann takes up the running ... Amhran Na Bhffiann is a length clear of Subjectivisit with Twilight Payment and Rip Van Lips close behind ... then a gap to Princess Zoe and Stradivarius in midfield ... Amhran Na Bhffiann still leads and not much chamnge in the order with perhaps Nayef Road taking closer order again with a mile to go ... Ben Lilly is last ... Serpentine has made a big move ... Subjectivist goes for the line with Twilight Payment behind and Stradivarius is well back ...but he goes to third and has a lot of ground to make up ... Subjectivist wins!

Frankie keeping Stradivarius away from the others. “I just hope he wakes up!” says the jockey to ITV presenter Luke Harvey.

The jockey’s ready for the big moment

We're going to give it everything

Stradivarius is back at Ascot for his date with destiny. Wins this and he will be tagged one of the royal meeting greats.

The showstopper is here!

Stradivarius is back at @Ascot for his historic attempt at a fourth Gold Cup, live at 4.15pm on Sky Sports Racing...#RoyalAscot

Stradivarius has set off at 7-4, evens and 4-5 for his three previous wins in the Royal meeting’s showpiece event, a sequence which suggests he should probably be around 4-6 or shorter to complete a four-timer this afternoon. But he is back to odds-against – around 6-5 at the time of writing – and while the punters will probably get stuck into him as the race approaches, his price is an indicator that a fourth Gold Cup promises to be the most difficult to get over the line.

For one thing, he is not looking to beat the same cast of characters for the umpteenth time, as can sometimes be the case in the staying division, with Serpentine - a Derby winner, no less - having been added to the field at the supplementary stage to join Subjectivist and possibly Trueshan in the line-up. For another, he is now a seven-year-old “entire” – ie. still in possession of his testicles – and while John Gosden has done an outstanding job in keeping Stradivarius’s focus on the business of racing, his horse would not be human equine if procreation were not an increasing concern.

1 Loving Dream (R Havlin) 18-1
2 Eshaada (Jim Crowley) 17-2
3 Nicest (G M Ryan) 28-1
13 ran
Also: 2-1 Fav Noon Star

And they’re off ... Twisted Reality is out slow as is Annerville ... Nicest leads ... Noon Star is in midfield ... Dubai Fountain is taken through to lead with Loving Dream just behind ... Taslima makes a forward move ... Noon Star goes around the outside with her move ... Loving Dream takes it up with Nicest challenging ... Eshaada comes late but Loving Dream holds on to win for John and Thady Gosden.

As expected the places remain unaltered after the stewards’ inquiry into the Hampton Court Stakes at 3.05pm


Places remain unaltered in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes

Roman Empire
Secret Protector

The rain hasn’t arrived in enough quantities for Trueshan to run and the horse has been withdrawn from the Gold Cup. The fates seem to be pointing towards Stradivarius.

Alan King has made the decision to withdraw Trueshan from the Gold Cup due to ground concerns. #RoyalAscot

Like Mohaafeth in the previous race, the favourite here was expected to run in one of the Epsom Classics just under a fortnight ago, but unlike Mohaafeth, Noon Star was scratched from the Oaks a few days before the race when she was found to be suffering from a “blood disorder”. It was not expected to lay her low for too long, however, and the Ribblesdale was immediately nominated as the likely target for Sir Michael Stoute’s filly, who was a little less than four lengths behind Snowfall in the Musidora Stakes at York last time.

Since Snowfall then went on to win the Oaks by a record 16 lengths, a simple reading of the form makes Noon Star a near-certainty against Group Two opposition here, and her exceptional middle-distance pedigree – by Galileo out of the multiple Group One winner Midday – is further encouragement for her backers. But life is rarely that simple, and racing never is, and today’s field includes Divinely, third home in the Oaks, and Dubai Fountain, who was a long way further back in 10th place at Epsom having set off as second-favourite after a rush of late support. Eshaada and Gloria Mundi, meanwhile, were first and second respectively in a minor Oaks trial at Newbury in May but were steered around Epsom to be fresh for Ascot. I’m going to forgive Dubai Fountain her run at Epsom as she looked all at sea on the track and has several bits of form in the book which suggest she should be well up to winning a Group Two at least.

1 Mohaafeth (Jim Crowley) 11-8 Fav
2 Roman Empire (R L Moore) 14-1
3 Secret Protector (James Doyle) 11-1
9 ran
Also: 14-1 Snapraeterea 4th
Non Runner: 6
Stewards’ inquiry

And they’re off ... Matchless makes the running ... Mohaafeth circles the field and takes it up with Roman Empire trying to get to him but he won’t. There is a stewards’ inquiry as the winner went across the second in the closing stages. A rough race in the early stages too.

“What do you mean bruv?” Big Narstie ... MC, author, rapper, singer, songwriter and television presenter was just on ITV ...

"Coming from Brixton, you're not really surrounded by Ascot Horses"@bignarstie in the Social Stable and there's no prizes for guessing who he's backing in the Britannia Stakes

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Twelve days ago, Mohaafeth was a single-figure price to win the Derby and potentially just a few hours away from joining the most illustrious roll of honour in racing. Then William Haggas walked the course, considered the impact of unexpectedly heavy rain the previous day on watered ground, and loaded Mohaafeth back onto his horsebox.

Mohaafeth, of course, will never know how close he came to racing immortality, but Haggas will be facing a lot of questions which start with “What if …?” or “Do you regret …?” if Mohaafeth bolts up in this Group Three. He may well do so, having gone unbeaten in three starts so far this season, but I wasn’t entirely convinced by his claims for the Derby – he has yet to post the kind of winning time that is the inescapable mark of a Group One horse – and One Ruler is a very plausible alternative. Charlie Appleby’s colt ran sixth behind Poetic Flare – Tuesday’s St James’s Palace Stakes winner – in the 2,000 Guineas and then sixth again in the Derby at Epsom, and the drop back to today’s 10-furlong trip could be the making of him.

1 Perfect Power (P Hanagan) 14-1
2 Go Bears Go (S De Sousa) 6-1
3 Project Dante (G Lee) 6-1
15 ran
Also: 5-1 Fav Cadamosto 4th
No 4 Instinctive Move (8-1) was withdrawn not under orders. Rule 4
applies to all bets. Deduct 10p in the £.

And they’re off ... without Instinctive Move who was withdrawn ... Go Bears Go and King Of Speed are going fast ... Lucci now in front with Go Bears Go ... Perfect Power and Go Bears Go go past together ... photo finish! Perfect Power has it but the places will take some sorting in that blanket finish.

The mercurial Frankie Dettori has admitted to nerves ahead of today’s Gold Cup ride on hot favourite Stradivarius.

"Even by my standards, I was pretty nervous last night"@FrankieDettori ahead of his date with destiny on 'the people's horse' Stradivarius

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... and here’s Michael Holding talking about how meeting Sir Michael Stoute cemented his passion for the turf.

How meeting Sir Michael Stoute sent a growing passion for horse racing into overdrive! Michael Holding is back on Sky Sports Racing for #RoyalAscot @skysportsAlexH @freddytylicki

Michael Holding, so impressive on Sky Sports Cricket recently, is at Royal Ascot today. The former cricketer is a racing fantatic and can often be seen on the Newmarket gallops with the Sir Michael Stoute string. Noon Star, from that stable, has been backed into 2-1 for the Ribblesdale Stakes at 3.40pm.

Fantastic to see Michael Holding at Royal Ascot today
@freddytylicki photography

The Queen will not be in attendance today again ... the Princess Royal has arrived in the last half hour.

Wesley Ward is still looking for his first winner at Royal Ascot 2021 and he is double-handed here, but the failure of well-fancied runners from his US stable earlier in the week has cooled the punters’ ardour and both are big drifters this morning. There was not as much rain overnight as Ward might have feared, but Aidan O’Brien’s Cadamosto has now overtaken Lucci and Nakatomi as the clear market leader. Cadamosto posted a good time when winning on debut on the all-weather at Dundalk back in early April, and while it is a slight concern that he has not been out since, Berkshire Shadow defied a similar absence to win the Coventry on Tuesday.

There are several very live candidates to beat him, however, including Project Dante, an appropriately-named winner on debut at the Dante meeting at York in May, and Go Bears Go, whose trainer, David Loughnane, had lots of positive things to say about his runner when flushed with success after a 1-2 in the last race here on Wednesday. For me, though, the eye-catcher is Clive Cox’s Instinctive Move, a debut winner on good ground at Bath just over a month ago. Cox’s horses always find plenty for their first run and he is three-from-12 at this meeting with once-raced juveniles.

Here are the ones who won’t be turning up whatever the weather

Ascot non-runners

5.00pm Britannia Stakes No 18 Royal Air Force (Not eaten up)
5.35pm King George V Handicap No 17 Surrey Gold (Bruised Foot)
6.10pm Buckingham Palace Handicap No 22 Teston (Declared in error) & No 26 Milltown Star (Going not suitable)

There you are ... you can see it ... it’s brightening up (a little) at Ascot ...

Rain has stopped here @ascot and starting to brighten up

Going, going, not gone ... Ascot has missed the big dollops of the wet stuff that landed elsewhere overnight and the clerk of the course Chris Stickels is still describing the surface as good to firm which is crucially important for all the action today, but specifically the Gold Cup in which Stradivarius is now an even more popular choice after the heavy rain stayed away. I’ve just spoken to our correspondent Greg Wood at the track and he says there “has been some very slight drizzle during the morning but it looks a bit brighter if anything.”

Clerk of the course Chris Stickels tells @SkySportsRacing that day three at Royal Ascot has been unaffected by the overnight rain. #RoyalAscot

Chris Stickels’s first job this morning was to check the rain gauge at Ascot, and it showed that while some parts of the country got drenched overnight, Ascot remained – relatively – dry, with just 2.4mm of rain, which has left the going description for Ladies’ Day as good-to-firm.

That is below even the lower end of the very broad forecast on Wednesday evening, when it was suggested that anything from “5mm to 28mm” might arrive at the track.

Related: Royal Ascot day three: Subjectivist to threaten Stradivarius’s Gold Cup bid

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