Thomas Chippendale draws clear to land back-to-back Royal Ascot winsPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Thomas Chippendale dies after Hardwicke win
Royal Ascot: Report, Saturday
Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) 1m4f
ROYAL ASCOT was dealt a sombre blow on the final day of the meeting as Thomas Chippendale died of a suspected heart attack just moments after winning the Hardwicke Stakes.
The 8-1 shot was quickly dismounted after the line before collapsing.
Earlier in the race favourite Ektihaam slipped up on the bend and ejected jockey Paul Hanagan onto the running rail. Both rider and horse were reported to be okay, though Hanagan was stood down for the rest of the day.
Thomas Chippendale was gaining back-to-back royal meeting successes having landed last year's King Edward VII Stakes, and also provided Lady Cecil with her second victory of the week.
However, with no winner to welcome back into the enclosure his trainer, owner Sir Robert Ogden and jockey Johnny Murtagh were in understandably subdued mood.
Thomas Chippendale's groom Luis Villareal said: "He was such a wonderful horse, always doing his work at home and never complaining about anything.
"If you look at his last races he was improving all the time and then this happens - it just breaks your heart.
"It's very hard for the whole team but we'll stay strong and keep on working."
With leader Ektihaam out of the race, Universal took up the running and fashioned a break back his rivals, who began their challenges at the two-furlong pole.
Thomas Chippendale hit the front and saw off Dandino, while Mount Athos lacked the finishing kick to get involved in the finish.
Murtagh said: "He ran his heart out and was pulled up at the line. He lost his balance and I don't know what happened to him.
"It's heartbreaking for everyone involved - it should have been a great win. It's just devastating the way it's finished."
Paddy Power gave backers of Ektihaam their money back.
Marco Botti, trainer of Dandino, said: "That was a good run, but it was messy when Ektihaam fell. Frankie [Dettori] tried to edge Dandino out and he stayed on.
"The Melbourne Cup will be the plan, but I'm not sure where we go in between. Presumably we'll keep him fresh and then go for the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup."
Mark Johnston has a whole host of big-race targets in mind for third-place Universal.
"There's so many options and the King George is awfully tempting," he said.
"At the end of the season I'm dreaming of the Canadian International and Japan Cup, but then I think how good this horse could be over a 1m6f in something like the Irish St Leger."