Dubai: James Doyle is fast emerging as the jockey everyone wants in big races and he once again proved just why, when delivering a flawless ride aboard Poet’s Word to win the £750,000 Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1), the highlight of the second day at Royal Ascot and the richest race at Britain’s showpiece meeting.
Retained by Godolphin since January 2015, the son of former trainer Jacqueline Doyle has won some memorable races in a glittering career, but Wednesday’s Royal victory must surely rank among the most special.
Not only was the 30-year-old Cambridge-born talent claiming a second Prince of Wales’s Stakes victory after Al Kazeem in 2013, he became a part of racing history by scripting Sir Michael Stoute’s record-breaking 76th Royal Ascot victory — the highest by any trainer in the history of the event.
Poet’s Word was winning for Barbados-born Stoute 41 years after the trainer’s first Royal Ascot win with a horse called Etienne Gerard, who won the Jersey Stakes.
The Newmarket legend eclipsed the late Sir Henry Cecil, who held the previous record of 75 career wins.
Poet’s Voice, who is owned by Dubai businessman Saeed Suhail, no stranger to big race victories having won the Epsom Derby 2003, beat hot favourite and 2017 Horse of the Year, Cracksman, by 2 1/4 lengths.
Godolphin’s Hawkbill, ridden by Doyle’s friend and colleague, William Buick, finished third in the 1,800-metre contest.
Stoute told ITV Racing: “It means a lot — and to the whole stable, as well. Henry’s record was formidable because there were only four days of Royal Ascot in most of his career.
“It’s a relief because we were stuck on it [75 winners] last year. Royal Ascot is special to every trainer.
“We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of nice horses over the years.
“Maybe Cracksman isn’t at his best now, but we beat the others comprehensively. He’s a very consistent, brave horse.”
Doyle added: “I was travelling all over him [Cracksman], it was just a case of hanging on.”
Earlier, Buick rode a sublime race aboard Aljazzi to gift trainer Marco Botti with a first Royal Ascot winner when landing the Cambridge Stakes.
Botti said of his memorable landmark: “We’ve been so close so many times and I’m delighted the owner kept her in training. William gave her a great ride and she showed a smart turn of foot. This is what we wake up in the morning and hope for, it’s what everyone wants.”
The meeting began with an absolute thriller when Signora Cabello prevailed in a gut-wrenching three-way battle to win the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes.
John Quinn’s sprinter benefitted from a strong ride by Oisin Murphy to see off Gossamer Wings and Shades Of Blue who crossed the line in a blur.