Hector Crouch enjoys Royal Ascot breakthrough with Surefire in King George V
Hector Crouch broke his Royal Ascot duck in a chaotic finish to the King George V Stakes, as his mount Surefire stayed on bravely to hold off favourite Sir Lamorak.
The Ralph Beckett-trained runner came from the rear in a wide position to swoop into contention approaching the final furlong, where he and Siskany appeared to veer into each other, effectively ending any chance for the strong travelling Nagano.
Surefire’s momentum appeared to have been hampered slightly but he soon picked up again under Crouch and was able to do enough to deny the fast-finishing Sir Lamorak. Parachute finished third.
The victory is a first for Juddmonte at this year's Royal Ascot, a poignant success following the death of founder Prince Khalid Abdullah earlier this year.
“I’m absolutely delighted, I’m a bit lost for words to be honest,” Crouch told ITV Racing. “My horse was green in front and rolled around and had a good look. Credit to the horse, he’s very tough and very talented.”
William Hill installed Surefire as a 25-1 shot for the St Leger at Doncaster later this season. Beckett was recording his third Royal Ascot winner and suggested the final Classic of the season could be a potential target.
The trainer added: "He came from a long way back and was stuck wide so hopefully we can upgrade this. He's a bit wayward and a bit green.
"Hopefully he can go on from here and you never know he could turn up at South Yorkshire in early September. That might be a gig for us."
Perotto provides Marcus Tregoning with first Royal Ascot since 2003 in Britannia
Perotto gave trainer Marcus Tregoning his first Royal Ascot win since 2003 when landing the Britannia Stakes under Oisin Murphy.
The three-year-old finished clear of Liffey River and Quintillus. The first three home raced on the stands' side rail after the field split.
"I'm delighted for Marcus," Murphy told ITV Racing. "I don't team up with Marcus very much but he's a top-class trainer with a small string. Perotto gave me a super ride. I'm thrilled as these are hard races to win. I wasn't given instructions so I'm glad it went to plan."
"It's fantastic to be back," said Tregoning. "Perotto has got the heart of a lion. He was 4lb out of the handicap but he's such a good one and has a magic turn of foot. He's been an absolute superstar.
"You have to have a good horse every other year to keep the momentum going. We've got some nice two-year-olds and hopefully we can end the season with a bang. This will be a big help."
Britain's biggest betting operators pledged to donate all the profits they make on the race to a number of causes, including the Marie Curie, Prostate Cancer UK and the three Armed Forces charities.
Highfield Princess closes Ladies' Day with 18-1 shock
Jason Hart was another jockey to enjoy his first taste of Royal Ascot glory, as Buckingham Palace Stakes bottomweight Highfield Princess caused a surprise at odds of 18-1.
In a race dominated by the group of runners on the stands' side, the John Quinn-trained four-year-old raced prominently and was on the bridle approaching two out. She struck ahead by a couple of lengths when asked by Hart and kept on to defeat nearest challenger Danyah, with Riot third.
Highfield Princess was the only filly in the 28-runner line-up, and her biggest win before this was at Class 4 level. This success was giving trainer John Quinn his fourth winner at the meeting with the last coming with Signora Cabello in the 2018 Queen Mary.
“It’s grand isn’t it,” Hart told ITV racing. “I was up on the sharp end all of the way, this filly has a tremendous attitude and she was bred by the owners [Trainers House Enterprises Ltd] who are also the landlord of the boss so it’s pretty special. It’s a great team effort.”
Favourite Aldaary, who was sent off at 100-30, started slowly but ran a fine race to finish fifth with 25-1 shot Lord Rapscallion also in the placings.
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