Dartmouth's fourth completes frustrating week for Stoute
Dartmouth's fourth place in the Hardwicke Stakes brought the curtain down on a week that began with much promise for Sir Michael Stoute but ended with nothing but frustration.
Stoute went into the meeting with some great chances of nosing past Sir Henry Cecil as Royal Ascot's winningmost trainer, the pair having been tied on 75 since Dartmouth's win in last year's Hardwicke.
However, one by one Ulysses, Mirage Dancer, Mori, Crystal Ocean, Mainstream, Khairaat et al all came unstuck. The theme all week was of them running well, but not quite well enough, with Mori's neck second in the Ribblesdale perhaps the most frustrating defeat of all.
Dartmouth, joined by last year's King Edward VII winner Across The Stars in a race Stoute had won no fewer than ten times, was the last throw of the dice, and it looked for a moment as if this was Stoute's turn at last when Ryan Moore sent him for home inside the last two furlongs.
However, on the quickest ground of the week the Queen's gallant five-year-old proved vulnerable to pacier finishers, and he was swamped not only by Idaho but also by Barsanti and Chemical Charge.
Stoute, whose first Royal Ascot win had been with Etienne Gerard in the 1977 Jersey Stakes, made no comment on the week as a whole, and he offered no excuse for Dartmouth.
"He wasn't good enough," he said. "He's versatile, and can go up in trip, but he won't be going for the Melbourne Cup."
Stoute was at least on the scoreboard at Newmarket on Saturday with Ghadaayer, who won the mile fillies' handicap.
Stoute’s royal reverses (runners who started 5-1 or less)
Dartmouth Hardwicke, 9-4f, 4th
Khairaat Wolferton, 3-1f, 13th
Mainstream Duke of Edinburgh, 5-1, 6th
Crystal Ocean King Edward VII, 9-4f, 3rd
Mori Ribblesdale, 2-1f, 2nd
Ulysses Prince of Wales’s, 9-2, 3rd
Smart Call Duke of Cambridge, 9-2, 4th