4:27pm Friday 20th June 2014
ROYAL ASCOT got under way on Tuesday and we have already witnessed some world class racing, with a couple of Yorkshire trained winners as well.
On Tuesday, Malton trainer John Quinn saddled The Wow Signal to victory in the Coventry Stakes under Frankie Dettori.
The Starspangledbanner colt blitzed his rivals on his racecourse debut at Ayr last month and Malton trainer John Quinn was confident his youngster would not be out of place in Berkshire.
Dettori coaxed his mount into the lead heading inside the final two furlongs and his rivals were unable to keep tabs on the northern raider as he galloped all the way to the line to take the Group Two prize by a length and three-quarters.
The Wow Signal’s victory was the second of the afternoon for Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing team, following the opening race triumph of Toronado in the Queen Anne Stakes.
Dettori said: “It feels great, it’s been a few years since my last winner here, but I’m getting close to 50 now.
“I’m delighted, it (the meeting) couldn’t have started any better.
“I was worried about the ground being a bit quick but he showed tremendous courage, he’s a real good two-year-old.
“I love Ascot and this is what it is all about, riding winners on the big day.”
Quinn said: “That’s my second Royal Ascot winner after Pevensey a few years ago.
“My son Sean bought him at the breeze ups, he won his maiden and lots of people rang to buy him to take him out of the yard but Harry Herbert (Al Shaqab racing manager) was the one man who said he could stay with us and I’m very grateful for that.
“He’s a great galloper, we felt six (furlongs) up here would suit, but he’ll get seven and a mile.”
The following day Muteela stretched her perfect record to four with a game victory in the Sandringham Handicap, giving Middleham trainer Mark Johnston his 36th Royal winner.
The filly had progressed from a winning reappearance at Beverley to follow-up at Newmarket and took another step up in class – as well as a rise in the weights – in her stride.
Jumped out in front by Paul Hanagan, she was given an uncomplicated ride from the front and that certainly paid dividends with the runnerup having to come all of the way around the field from last place, failing by a short-head to get up.
Hanagan said: “To be honest, I wasn’t that confident we’d won, because the second horse was quite away from me. Jamie (Spencer) said well done to me when we were pulling up, so that was enough for me.
“It would have done her good if the second horse had come to her, as she was on her own the whole way with no company.
“Every race she’s run she’s up there with the pace. She wouldn’t really quicken, but she’s very genuine and keeps galloping all day. We had a little fall out at Chester (earlier in the season) when I fell off her, but she’s none the worse for it.”
Johnston said: “She’s very fast and there would be a slight debate about whether we should go back to seven furlongs, but there are so many opportunities at a mile and we’ve had this race in mind for quite a long time, so it’s great to do it.
“We thought when she has run before that she needed every inch of a mile but the dam injects so much speed.
“Everyone was asking whether we were disappointed to get an 8lb rise for winning at Newmarket last time, but she needed that to get a run here. It’s a tremendous family. I trained the dam (Nufoos) and I trained the half-brother Awzaan who won the Middle Park. She took a while to mature and grow up.
“It’s so hard to get a winner here, we didn’t manage to get one last year so it’s a great relief. I entered her in the Falmouth Stakes yesterday. As she has won over that course and distance, it would be very tempting.”
Muteela was Johnston’s first winner at the meeting since 2012 and he expressed his relief at getting on the scoresheet.
“It is so hard to have a winner,”
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