It was a good week for Irish trainers at Royal Ascot last week. Not quite modern day Cheltenham good, but a week not short of sparkling performances and a couple of significant landmarks reached.
State Of Rest was the big one. Joseph O’Brien and Shane Crosse each excelling. It was 10 years on since Joseph O’Brien won the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes as a jockey on So You Think and he got himself in to an exclusive club of people who have both ridden and trained a winner in a Group 1 at Royal Ascot.
More surprisingly, it was actually his first winner as a trainer at Royal Ascot, and given his world-wide exploits, that was a rather large monkey on his back.
It was also a first Royal Ascot win for Crosse, though he has had appreciably less chances, and that’s what made his effort from the saddle on State Of Rest so impressive.
Crosse seized the initiative early on, taking up the running and setting the fractions to suit his mount. It was a superb riding performance from an up-and-coming star, who cruelly missed out on a classic win in the St Leger two years ago because he tested positive for COVID-19 before he was set to travel to Doncaster.
State Of Rest is now a Group 1 winner in four different countries, a remarkable feat, and he looks set to go on his travels again later this year, with his ever ambitious trainer likely to have picked out an exciting plot of races.
There was another Shane to ride his first Royal Ascot win last week and that was Foley, who was strong in the saddle late on to urge Jessica Harrington’s Magical Lagoon home to win the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes.
Like Crosse, Foley was making up for lost time as such, considering he would have ridden Alpine Star to win the Coronation Stakes at the meeting two years ago but for Covid restrictions keeping him at home.
The Irish Oaks looks a nice target now for Magical Lagoon, whose trainer never ceases to amaze given the vast variety of her achievements through flat and National Hunt racing.
Elsewhere it was the Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore show, the pair combining for five winners, which meant they were comfortably crowned leading trainer and jockey for the week.
Indeed O’Brien is now just one behind Sir Michael Stoute’s Royal Ascot tally of 82 wins, while Moore rode seven winners in all, and is now just four behind Frankie Dettori in the all time leading jockeys at Royal Ascot table.
The signature win for the pair was Kyprios in the Gold Cup, with Moore excelling on the four-year-old, in what was a tactical affair.
It was an eighth Gold Cup for O’Brien and given his age and lack of miles on the clock, Kyprios will surely be back to defend his title next year.
Champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins has a fine Royal Ascot record himself and he saw his Stratum defend his title in the meeting finale, the Queen Alexandra Stakes, to give him his fourth win in the race, and eighth in all at Ascot.