Charm Spirit bridges 21-year gap for French at Ascot

Olivier Peslier managed to find a gap had enough in hand to hold off Night Of Thunder

Charm Spirit gave the French their first winner in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes for 21 years when powering home in a messy race for mile Group One at Ascot.

Olivier Peslier managed to find a gap on Freddy Head's three-year-old and had enough in hand to hold the unlucky-in-running Night Of Thunder.

The 5-1 shot got home by half a length from the 2-1 favourite, trained by Richard Hannon, with Night Of Thunder's stablemate Toormore (25-1) just behind in third.

“I came a little bit early, but he was very generous for me,” Peslier said. “He was always in front and it was a really good win. It is wonderful.”


Madame Chiang finished with a flourish after being reluctant to go in the stalls to lift the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

Jim Crowley worked hard on David Simcock's mud-loving three-year-old, who ran as a straight as an arrow to profit from the erratic path taken by Chicquita, who had gained a clear-cut advantage over a furlong out.

Leading inside the last 100 yards, Madame Chiang (12-1) went to win by two lengths from Silk Sari, who came from a long way back to claim the runner-up spot. The wayward Chicquita was third.

Gordon Lord Byron came through the eye of a needle in the dying strides to snatch victory in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.

Tom Hogan's admirable globetrotter looked to have plenty to do a furlong out, but Wayne Lordan managed to weave his way between Tropics and Jack Dexter to land the spoils on the well-backed 5-1 joint-favourite. Tropics was an agonising second for the Dean Ivory team, beaten a length and a quarter, with Jack Dexter another neck away in third.

Lordan said: “It was a bit tight, but he accelerated through. When he got to the front he actually slowed down a bit.”