Soushi digs deep for Duke of Edinburgh honours

Ryan Moore’s stellar week at Royal Ascot continued when he steered Okita Soushi to a battling success in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.

The 39-year-old had to be at his strongest aboard the Joseph O’Brien-trained five-year-old and from a position near the rear of the 18-strong field, Moore was urging his mount to improve his position as the turn for home approached.

Swinging the bend, Moore angled Okita Soushi wide to lay down a challenge and he soon hit top gear to join Alan King’s HMS President on the front end entering the final furlong, as the duo went on to fight out a thrilling finish.

Okita Soushi held on to return a neck verdict at 9-1 and continue a special day for the O’Brien family following the success of Joseph’s brother Donnacha in the Albany Stakes earlier in the day.

O’Brien: “It was a great ride from Ryan. He ran a very good race here last year in a mile-and-six handicap.

“It is special to get a winner this week. We’ve hit the crossbar a bit. The horses have all run well, but haven’t won.

“I’m delighted for the owners as well. Ryan is the best jockey in the world, isn’t he. When we are lucky enough to get him on the odd time, it is very special.

“I think anyone will tell you he’s the best in the world. He’s been riding at the top of his game for a number of years and he is riding at the top of his game now.

“He is a special jockey. I’m not sure he’s ridden a winner for me before, I’m not sure. But it is special to get him anyway.”

Frankie Dettori brought up a day four double when steering the John and Thady Gosden-trained Coppice to Sandringham Stakes glory – a first winner of the week for leading owners Juddmonte.

The daughter of Kingman was sent off the 6-1 joint-favourite and was following in the footsteps of her brother Calyx who stormed to Coventry Stakes success for connections in 2018.

Dettori, won won the Albany Stakes earlier in the day, told ITV: “I was sure I’d get one on the first day, when the first day went, I thought ‘Oh my god!’.

“I knew I had some good rides on the Saturday, then I won the Gold Cup. Looking at my rides today I thought I had chances but nothing stood out, then I rode the two winners today, great!

“I am enjoying the moment.”

On Coppice, he said: “I tracked the leaders, I got her settled, I got the splits when I wanted, she did the rest.

“It was a very, very smooth performance and in these races you don’t usually get that.

“We were training her for the Guineas but then we did not think she was quite right. We do think she will be a Group race filly.”

Hollie Doyle and Archie Watson enjoyed their second winners of the week when Rhythm N Hooves (12-1) came with a late rattle to catch Kerdos in the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes.

In the Cool Silk Racing partnership colours of Peter and Karin Swann who tasted Group One glory with Sands Of Mali, Doyle produced her mount perfectly to win by a neck.

Doyle said: “It’s a great result for the yard and the horses are on fire. Thankfully I’m in the driving seat but it’s all down to Archie really.

“I was really lucky to get the association with Archie when I lost my claim and he took me under his wing.”

Watson added: “It has been a fantastic week. We’ve had the two winners now and the whole squad throughout the week has run very well. I’m very proud of the whole team.

“This horse was inexperienced coming into this – it was only his fifth race. He learned a lot the last day. It was a big shock for him going through all-weather novices to these 25-runner handicaps and he’s shown his class today. Hollie has given him a great ride and it is nice to get a win without any stewards’ inquiry kerfuffles.

“He is very enthusiastic at home. He has always been a good workhorse and worked well with our good, older lead horses. He has shown a high level of ability and hopefully we can go for another of these high-level handicaps or I wouldn’t put a price against us going for a Listed race next.”

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