2013 Royal Ascot: First Day Review
The first day of the 2013 Royal Ascot festival was an excellent day of racing and ceremony, notably marked by an immaculately respected minute’s silence in memory of Sir Henry Cecil. Cecil, who sadly passed away last week, was the most successful Royal Ascot trainer of all time with an incredible 75 winners. A hugely popular figure in the horse racing world, he will be sorely missed.
Shortly after the Queen arrived in her traditional procession past the grandstand, the first race was underway. Animal Kingdom was the overwhelming favorite to win the Queen Ann Stakes, but turned in a disappointing performance to the delight of the bookmakers. The race was won by Declaration of War, at a decent price of 15-2.
Next up was the King’s Stand Stakes. The favorite for this race was Shea Shea, bidding to be the first South African trained winner at Royal Ascot. However, in an exciting finish that went to a photo, Shea Shea was beaten on the line by the 8-1 shot Sole Power. Pearl Secret completed the top three.
The St James’ Palace Stakes was next, and was another thrilling race. For the second time of the day it was a photo finish, between the favorite Dawn Approach and the 5-1 Toronado. The favorite Dawn Approach was announced as the winner, at 5-4, but there was a steward’s inquiry to follow regarding an incident where Toronado had been forced wide. The inquiry was dismissed though.
The fourth race to be run was the Coventry Stakes. With an astonishing run that took everyone by surprise, outsider War Command won the race with relative ease at 20 – 1. The 11-2 favorite, Championship, finished in second. The Ascot Stakes followed, and again the favorite (Tiger Cliff) finished second. The winning horse was Well Sharp, at 9-1.
The sixth, and final, race of the day was the Windsor Castle Stakes. That was won by Extortionist, at 16-1, and was the first win at Royal Ascot for the rookie trainer Olly Stevens. It was a fitting end to a fabulous first day, and the rest of the week promises more of the same.
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