1 Estimate 3/1F
2 Athens 11/2
3 Ed De Gas 8/1 NR: Repeater, Spanish Wedding
10 ran Distances: 5l, 1½l, 2l
TIME 3m 34.05s (slow by 11.55s)
The three-year-old filly Estimate, five-length winner of the two-mile Queen’s Vase, gave The Queen her 21st Royal Ascot success, a sequence started in her Coronation year, 1953, by Choir Boy in the Royal Hunt Cup.
The daughter of Monsun belied her inexperience - today was only her third race - to go one better than her Sir Michael Stoute stablemate Carlton House, second in Wednesday’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, to provide a Royal winner at the Royal Meeting.
“We tried to do it with Carlton House and we got beaten fair and square,” said Stoute. “But it’s very nice to come to this meeting with runners for this owner with some sort of chance, particularly in Jubilee year. The Queen deserves the success, she contributes so much to racing, and I’m sure the whole country will have appreciated the victory. And for me it’s a great honour.”
Estimate won her maiden at Salisbury on her only other run this year. “She won very nicely there,” added Stoute, “and I thought then she could be a Vase filly. She has improved in her work since and is a very nice stayer in the making, a big rangy individual. We always thought she’d get this trip - she’s a half-sister to a Gold Cup winner [Enzeli].”
Estimate stated 3/1 favourite, likely on the strength of her ownership. “On her form I’d have thought she should have been about sixth favourite,” said Stoute. The filly was the second winner of the week for The Queen, after Michael Bell-trained Set To Music at Warwick on Monday.
In The Queen’s Silver Jubilee year in 1977, her filly Dunfermline won the St Leger, but Estimate is unlikely to be asked to emulate her on the Diamond anniversary. “We’ll see how she progresses,” added Stoute, “but at this stage I shouldn’t think so.”
Estimate joined The Queen’s racing string, around 40-strong, as part of an exchange with her breeder the Aga Khan. “The mating that produced her was one that suited both sides after we sat down and consulted,” said The Queen’s racing and bloodstock adviser John Warren, “and we hope that she’ll make a lovely Royal broodmare in the future. This is a thrilling day for us all.”
The Duke of Edinburgh was always scheduled to present the Queen’s Vase trophy to the winning owner and today is thought to be the first time that he has handed a trophy to his wife at her meeting. The Queen’s Vase is one of three perpetual trophies at the meeting, the others being the Gold Cup and the Royal Hunt Cup. The designs are changed each year and each is approved by The Queen.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien was happy to fill the runner-up spot with Athens after the colt finished five lengths behind the Queen’s winner Estimate.
“For once I’m delighted to be second,” said O’Brien. “I’m delighted for the Queen. I think two miles might have just been too far for Athens and he is a nice horse. He could be one for the St Leger, that’s a possibility.”
Third-placed Ed De Gas, carrying the colours of Australian owner Richard Pegum, is another possible for Doncaster.
“We’ll put him in the Leger but he won’t race a lot this year,” said trainer Rae Guest. “He’s still green and only a baby. He likes soft ground and is a really nice stayer and could be one for the Melbourne Cup next year.”
Pegum added: “If you are going to get beat, it’s nice to be beaten by the Queen!”