SIR ROBERT Ogden’s Baccarat – and the horse’s young jockey George Chaloner – can both expect to step up in class after winning the Wokingham Stakes, Royal Ascot’s final day cavalry charge over six furlongs.
A fifth Yorkshire-trained winner of the Royal meeting after The Wow Signal, Muteela, Hartnell and Louis The Pious, it was a first of the week at Flat racing’s showcase meeting for Malton trainer Richard Fahey whose Alben Star was fourth.
The winner of the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon last summer, Baccarat’s handicap rating means that he will have to step up in Group company while the success will help Chaloner make the transition this summer from apprentice to fully-fledged rider.
Born in Lincoln, he served his racing apprenticeship with the Northern Racing College and then Malcolm Jefferson before making the switch to the Fahey yard at nearby Musley Bank in pursuit of further opportunities on the Flat.
After the biggest win of his career, a delighted Chaloner said: “The boss said keep it simple and you’ll have a chance. It feels amazing to have a first Royal Ascot winner. I am really grateful to the boss and owner Sir Robert Ogden for putting me on him – I really appreciate it.”
As for Fahey, his relief at finally getting on the scoreboard in the 29th and penultimate race of the meeting matched his vote of confidence in the horsemanship of his three-pound claimer after Baccarat streaked clear.
“It’s brilliant for George. He’s a kid, he’s probably only got five or six winners left in his belt and he needs big winners like this to project him into the jockeyship and hopefully a few people will have looked at him and thought this kid can ride,” said Fahey after his fourth Royal Ascot career winner.
“Baccarat is a horse probably capable of better but that is what you need to win these sort of races. He likes a flat-out pace. He won the St Wilfrid last year and was a bit unlucky last time at York. We will step him up in class now.”
The only disappointment was that Ogden, a prominent Yorkshire racing owner, was not present at Royal Ascot to see his colours carried to victory.
The final day began with Richard Pankhurst streaking clear in the seven furlong Chesham Stakes for the in-form team of jockey William Buick, trainer John Gosden and the latter’s wife, Rachel Hood, who bred and owns the victor.
A first Royal winner for Hood, this horse is now one of the ante-post favourites for next year’s Qipco 2000 Guineas and carries the name of the husband of the suffragette Emily Pankhurst.
Sired by Gosden’s Breeders’ Cup winner Ravens Pass, Gosden said: “It’s beyond exciting to have a horse that Rachel bred at Pantile Stud near Ely on the Fens. It’s unusual to breed a horse in the Fens but they can grow a good horse there – they grow a lot of good vegetables, so why not a horse?”
The win, however, was not sufficient for Gosden and Buick to be the leading trainer and jockey respectively at the meeting. That accolade went to Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore after Arab Spring won the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap before Telescope confirmed his King George credentials in the Hardwicke Stakes.
Moore later completed a treble on the Willie Mullins-trained Pique Sous in the concluding Queen Alexandra Stakes, a race marred by the death of 2013 Ebor winner Tiger Cliff, who suffered a suspected heart attack just after passing the post in fourth place.
The one race to elude the mercurial Moore was the feature Diamond Jubilee Stakes sprint – he had to settle for second on Due Diligence to the Eddie Lynam trade Slade Power.
It was a third win of the week for the Irish trainer whose Sole Power had won Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes.
The Kevin Ryan-trained Astaire, who finished sixth for his Barnsley owners Pete Tingey and Angie Bailey, set the pace.
John Gosden and William Buick followed on from a lucrative Royal Ascot by taking the feature race at Pontefract with Freedom’s Light.
Gosden secured four winners at the showcase fixture, with Buick on the mark three times, and the pair successfully linked up with the four-year-old in the Listed totepool Pontefract Castle Stakes over a mile-and-a-half.
Buick brought Freedom’s Light (7-4) from the rear to lead just over a furlong out and held the 11-8 favourite Waila by a half a length. The pair pulled 12 lengths clear of Familiarity in third.
Mark Johnston had two winners at Royal Ascot and also carried on the good work with Bureau (4-1) in the toteexacta Pick The 1, 2 Fillies’ Handicap.
The daughter of Halling dug deep for Silvestre de Sousa to hold off Ingleby Symphony.