“The Wokingham is a race I’ve always wanted to win,” said Ryan. “And I wanted this fellow to win a good handicap before going up to the next level. He’s always been a Group horse running in handicaps and he could be even better over five furlongs – we’ll look at the Nunthorpe and Prix de l’Abbaye.
“There was always going to be a big day in York Glory and I have been saying that for long enough. I hope a good pal of mine at home, Denzel, has had a few quid on him because he has followed the horse all along and said last week he would win the Wokingham.
“The horse has always been very talented and Jamie (Spencer) texted me 10 days ago asking me if he could ride him. Jamie has great faith in the horse and so does Neil Callan.”
York Glory was bought for $57,000 as a yearling at Keeneland by Bahrain owners Salman Rashed and Mohamed Khalifa and Ryan added: “It’s great because the owners are here and it’s actually the first time they have ever seen the horse. They have come over from Bahrain to watch him.”
Owner Mohamed Khalifa continued: “It’s wonderful. We thank Kevin Ryan and his team because they have done a brilliant job with this horse. I have been looking forward to this race for some time now because I thought he would win.”
Jockey Jamie Spencer did not hide his delight as his partner crossed the line, giving a windmill wave with his whip and beaming broadly when returning to the winner’s enclosure.
He said: “They went slow for a Wokingham and I was travelling too well early on even, although I had cover. It took me a while to settle him but I knew at halfway when some of them started dying that I was always going to get there.
“I ended up having to a go a little bit sooner than I wanted to because the gaps were there. He’s always been a high-class horse and everything fell into place today. He’s been running consistently all season and this track suited him. On this surface, he could grab hold of the ground and quicken.
“I am really good friends with Kevin Ryan and [bloodstock agent] Stephen Hillen, who bought the horse, so it makes it extra special.
“I rang up for the ride on this horse myself so David Harrison [his agent] will struggle to get his wages.”
Reflecting on events at Royal Ascot 2013 and his role as first jockey to Qatar Racing, Spencer said: “It’s a tough week but all our two-year-olds, apart from Beldale Memory, ran well and that is important.”
Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap) £150,000 added, 3yo plus, 6f, Class 2 26 ran
Going: Good to Firm
Trainer Charles Hills was very happy with the performance of runner-up Shropshire after he finished a length-and-three-quarters behind 14/1 winner York Glory in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot this afternoon.
The 12/1 shot has improved in leaps and bounds since being gelded last year and his handler thinks he will win a big sprint handicap before the year is out.
“We’re really happy with that and it looks like he’s finally grown up as he’s starting to put a run of really good performances together,” said Hills.
“I’d like to think he’ll win one of these big sprint handicaps before the year is out. Michael (Hills, former jockey and brother of Charles) thinks he’ll win the Ayr Gold Cup as he’d ideally like to get his toe in a bit more.
“He’ll more than likely head to the Stewards’ Cup (at Goodwood) next but all the big sprint handicaps over this sort of trip will be on his agenda.”
Henry Candy was also very pleased with the run of 22/1 shot Dinkum Diamond who finished a further length back in third.
“He’s in great heart at the moment and I’m pleased he’s stayed the six furlongs so well,” said Candy.
“This gives us a lot more options so we’ll go back and see if we can find some suitable races over either five or six furlongs for him.
“It’s funny as you quite often see these precocious two-year-olds who are so good in their juvenile year and then they disappear for a year or two. Mentally, he’s finally beginning to get it together so there could be a nice race in him soon.”