Dubai: Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, validated just why he is regarded as one of the most influential figures in modern day flat tracing as his horses continued to dominate a wet Royal Ascot meeting.
After the opening day’s hat-track and Wednesday’s King George V Stakes victory, Sheikh Hamdan’s retained rider Jim Crowley delivered two more thrilling winners for his boss on what under normal circumstances would have been Ladies Day, but not this year, due to the ban on spectators following the coronavirus pandemic.
Crowley, the former two-time British champion jockey, has been a man on fire and he continued his red-hot form riding Molatham to win the Group 3 Jersey Stakes and following it up with another scintillating ride aboard Khaloosy in the 22-runner Britannia Stakes, a race that Sheikh Hamdan was winning for the third time after Mostashaar in 2005 and Fareer in 2009.
The Shadwell-bred son of Dubawi provided trainer Roger Varian with a fourth winner of the meeting.
“To get one winner here is great so to have a week like this is way beyond expectations,” said Crowley.
Meanwhile, Stradivarius proved himself to be one of the greatest stayers in modern racing history with a third successive victory in the Gold Cup under an ebullient Frankie Dettori.
At a distance of two miles and four furlongs, the Gold Cup may be Britain’s most testing race for stayers, but Stradivarius made winning look so easy as he pulled away from his rivals to win by a widening 10 lengths.
Ridden with supreme confidence by Dettori, trainer John Gosden’s superstar changed gears approaching the final furlongs leave Nayef Road and Godolphin’s Melbourne Cup winner taking second and third.
A six-year-old son of Sea The Stars, Stradivarius was recording a 14th career victory from 22 starts.
He equalled the post Second World War record of Sagaro with three wins in the Gold Cup, with Yeats being the only horse to land the race four times.
“It’s an amazing achievement,” Dettori said. “I’m so proud of the horse. He’s been a joy to be around.
“He’ll go down as one of the great stayers, like Yeats and Sagaro. Who knows, maybe we’ll try for next year.
“Even with no crowd I’m quite emotional. A very proud moment.
“I was surprised at the four-furlong marker, when I looked under my shoulders, that everybody was in trouble.
“When the ground is like this, sometimes the horses die in your hands. Until I pressed the button, I wasn’t counting my chickens. But then when I asked him to quicken, he really took off and it was sheer joy.”
Hayley Turner, who became the first woman jockey in 32 years to ride a Royal Ascot winner at last year’s meeting, repeated the feat twelve months later when landing the Sandringham handicap with Onassis.
Dubai Love, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan earlier this year, ran on for third behind the runner-up Waliyak.