Estimate Strikes Gold for The Queen
1 Estimate 7/2 Fav
Her Majesty the Queen was involved in one of sport’s great moments today when her filly Estimate won the Gold Cup, traditionally the most prestigious race at Royal Ascot.
The Group One race, Europe’s premier long-distance event, had never been won by a monarch in its 206-year history, but Estimate lined up as 7/2 favourite and in a driving finish under jockey Ryan Moore held off Irish raider Simenon and France’s Top Trip. A gift to The Queen from the Aga Khan, she scored by a neck and a length, becoming Her Majesty’s 22nd winner at the Royal meeting.
Accompanied by her racing and bloodstock advisor, John Warren, The Queen was given a rapturous welcome when she joined her daughter, the Princess Royal, and the filly’s trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, in the winner’s enclosure. Expected to present the trophy to the winner of the race, Her Majesty instead received it from her second son, The Duke of York.
Moore said: “She won well, and to do it for The Queen is fantastic. To win the Gold Cup in her colours is exceptional. We had a good draw and gained a good early position, and because she relaxes so well you’re able to keep her there. Most horses that you’re not sure about staying you have to drop in, but because she relaxes that’s not a problem. She was always holding the others when they came at her.”
Sir Michael said: “It’s a great thrill, but I certainly wasn’t confident. Her preparation has gone well and she is bred to get the trip, but she had to up her game to beat the boys. I was trying to be realistic.
“It’s a special thrill to win this race for The Queen, and it will have given her enormous pleasure – she really loves this game and it’s a great recreation for her. She told me it was a very big thrill and thanked everybody involved.
“I kept very calm in the final furlong because I was very worried. I felt she would beat the grey horse of Godolphin’s [Colour Vision, last year’s winner who led into the home straight], but then she had another battle with Simenon, and I really thought he might beat her. It was a tense and very long final furlong.”
Later, at a press conference, Sir Michael said: “This rates as highly as anything, and I know the pleasure it will have given The Queen because she has such a love for her breeding programme, and that’s why it will have been a bigger thrill to win with a filly, rather than a colt.
“Great teamwork went behind this filly, because sometimes she can be a pain in the arse. The girl who rides her every day, Michelle, and Kerry the head lass and Kirstie who led her up have put a lot of hard work in to get her relaxed. I always felt it was a massive task because she had to up her game from the Sagaro Stakes [which she won at Ascot on May 1] but her preparation had gone extremely well. She likes this place – they’ll have to frame more races for her here.
“Things have gone very smoothly – as a trainer you walk the box when horses have had a setback and get behind schedule, and there are doubts about whether they can run. Trip wise their had to be doubts, but the distaff side of her pedigree screams extreme stamina and her half-brother won the Gold Cup [Enzeli in 1999].
“She’s full of guts, very courageous and she relaxes so well in races which makes her a good staying filly. She’ll have a rest now because she’s had a very hard race. We’ve given her time between races in the past and looked after her, and now she’s looking after us – I could make a case for her getting better.
“This win is very high on my list, because it’s been done for a lady who, never mind being The Queen, loves racing, is a great supporter of racing and is so good for British racing.”
Gold Cup (British Champions Series) (Group 1)
Connections of the second and third, Simenon and Top Trip, were happy to be in the place positions because they welcomed The Queen’s victory with Estimate in the Gold Cup, the traditional highlight of Royal Ascot.
Willie Mullins, trainer of the neck runner-up, said: “I wasn’t disappointed to be second – maybe for the first time in my life.
“Our horse ran well above his form – a career best for him I am sure. It was the perfect race to be in. We had every chance at the furlong-marker and I thought he might just win with Johnny (Murtagh) but Ryan (Moore) pulled something more out on Estimate and we were beaten by a great team.
“We are very happy – it was a great horse to watch and experience. I think we have to look at the Melbourne Cup – we are keen to go there and I will start the planning when I get home.
“It is going make November very busy! We ran Holy Orders in the Melbourne Cup and we learned a lot from that trip and will go back with a lot more experience. Holy Orders was not the easiest horse to go on a trip and this horse will be much easier. At least he is keen about his training, whereas Holy Orders wasn’t to put it mildly!
“This is a fantastic result for racing. The stands just erupted from about the furlong-marker and then everyone rushed to the back of the stands to see the winner come it – a fantastic day and atmosphere.”
Francois Doumen, trainer of the third, said: “It would have been a diplomatic incident if Top Trip had won!
“It must be magic for The Queen and Ascot – we have to respect the achievement of Estimate.
“My horse is only four and was trying this distance for the first time. He looks like a promising Kasbah Bliss and will run in the Prix Cadran in September.”
Last year’s Gold Cup winner Colour Vision made a bold bid for glory just after the two-furlong marker in this year’s renewal but failed to hang on to his lead and finished fourth to The Queen’s Estimate.
After the race Saeed bin Suroor, the Rainbow Quest gelding’s trainer, said: “I am happy. He has run a huge race. We thought that Estimate was going to win and he (Colour Vison) was beaten by a better horse today. We will keep our options open with him and stay at two and a half miles plus.”
“We are absolutely delighted – thrilled with him he has run a huge race.” Simon Crisford, racing manager for Godolphin added.
Silvestre de Sousa, who rode the grey, said: “ He ran a good race – it is only his second run this year and it takes a lot to get them a hundred percent fit. There will be a lot more to come from him.”
THE GOLD CUP
2012-WINNER-COLOUR VISION 4-9-00 Owner-Godolphin; Trainer-Saeed bin Suroor; Jockey-Frankie Dettori; SP-6/1
2011-WINNER-FAME AND GLORY 5-9-02 Owner-Derrick Smith/Sue Magnier/Michael Tabor/Fitri Hay; Trainer-Aidan
2010-WINNER-RITE OF PASSAGE 6-9-02 Owner-Dr Ronan Lambe; Trainer-Dermot Weld IRE; Jockey-Pat Smullen;
2009-WINNER-YEATS 8-9-02 Owner-Sue Magnier & Diane Nagle; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Johnny Murtagh;
2008-WINNER-YEATS 7-9-02 Owner-Sue Magnier & Diane Nagle; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Johnny Murtagh;
2007-WINNER-YEATS 6-9-02 Owner-Sue Magnier & Diane Nagle; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Michael Kinane;
2006-WINNER-YEATS 5-9-02 Owner-Sue Magnier & Diane Nagle; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Kieren Fallon;
2005-WINNER-WESTERNER 6-9-02 Owner-Ecurie Wildenstein; Trainer-Elie Lellouche FR; Jockey-Olivier Peslier; SP-7/4
2004-WINNER-PAPINEAU 4-9-00 Owner-Godolphin; Trainer-Saeed bin Suroor; Jockey-Frankie Dettori; SP-5/1
2003-WINNER-MR DINOS 4-9-00 Owner-Constantinos Shiacolas; Trainer-Paul Cole; Jockey-Kieren Fallon; SP-3/1
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