Waipiro boosts Derby form – and seals memorable day for Marquand

Waipiro gave the Derby form a boost when storming to Royal Ascot glory in the Hampton Court Stakes.

Ed Walker’s charge won on his reappearance at Newmarket before chasing home Military Order in the Lingfield Derby Trial and going on to finish a gallant sixth at Epsom itself.

Sent off at 7-1 dropping back to 10 furlongs, jockey Tom Marquand was never in any rush aboard the son of Australia and his patience was rewarded when Oviedo carried a plethora of the challengers right approaching the one-furlong marker – opening up the perfect gap for Waipiro to gallop on through.

And while some were wearily wandering around in the closing stages, Waipiro kept on straight as an arrow as he sprinted clear to a register a two-and-a-quarter-length verdict over Roger Varian’s Exoplanet.

The victory brought up a memorable double on the day for Marquand, who had earlier struck aboard the King and Queen’s Desert Hero, but he was fittingly repaid by the horse he was aboard at Newmarket earlier this year when suffering an arm injury which ruled him out of both the 2000 and 1000 Guineas.

For Walker it was a second success at the Royal meeting following Agrotera’s Sandringham win in 2018.

“The worry was the close proximity to the Derby, only 19 days – not many horses back up from the Derby to Ascot successfully,” he said.

“That was always my big concern; we haven’t done a lot with him at home, but he’s seemed well. If there was a brilliant alternative in a couple of weeks’ time, we may have been tempted, but there wasn’t and this was the perfect race for him.”

He added: “It’s been an agonising wait between drinks (Royal Ascot winners) – we’ve had quite a lot of seconds. Last year we had second in the Kensington Palace, the Wokingham, we were second yesterday in the Duke of Cambridge, it’s been a bit frustrating so really, really pleased to have kicked that one home.

“It’s a great day for Tom. I was so pleased to see him have that winner for His Majesty, that was very important for all of us. Tom has been a big part of our team now for a number of years, he rode our first Group One winner Starman and it’s great to get another one on the big stage.”

Marquand said: “You’d like to think he is still an improver, and I think today solidified what we thought after the Derby. We were obviously disappointed we didn’t run closer that day but we were really pleased with the run, and he just didn’t stay a mile and half, it’s as simple as that.

“Back to a mile and a quarter today he showed his dominance, and hopefully he can now go on a path and show his stamp as a top-class horse.”

Of his special afternoon, he said: “I think everybody here can account for the fact that that (riding the King’s first Royal Ascot winner0 was an extremely special moment.

“Just insanely privileged to be part of the whole occasion – it’s magic, it doesn’t get better than a royal winner at Royal Ascot; it’s the pinnacle of our sport.”

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