Hayley Turner denies Queen’s horse to bridge 32-year gap at Royal Ascot
Turner becomes just the second woman jockey to win at the famous meeting
Hayley Turner dismounts Thanks Be after winning the Sandringham Stakes during day four of Royal Ascot. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
The 33-1 outsider Thanks Be prevented Queen Elizabeth winning a race at Royal Ascot on Friday and still proved to be hugely popular as her jockey Hayley Turner became just the second woman to ride a winner at the famous meeting.
Turner, a Group One-winning rider who retired in 2015 and returned to the saddle last year, finally bridged a yawning 32-year gap back to Gaye Kellaway, who created Royal Ascot history way back in 1987.
Turner, 36, sliced through the 27-runner handicap field and Thanks Be fought off the royal-owned topweight Magnetic Charm by a neck.
“Gaye Kellaway was the first but the girls’ changing room is full now so it was only a matter of time,” said Turner, who counts both the July Cup and the Nunthorpe Stakes among almost 800 career winners.
Elsewhere on the card, Aidan O’Brien had two beaten Group One favourites but looks entitled to believe his King Edward VII Stakes winner Japan is a top-flight winner in waiting.
The 6-4 favourite justified market confidence that he’d progressed from a close third in the Derby 20 days previously to run out a four and a half length winner over Bangkok despite Ryan Moore bringing him notably wide on the turn in.
“This is a high-class colt, he’s very good, and put the race to bed very easily,” reported Moore, who later doubled up in the finale on Baghdad.
O’Brien ruled out a quick return in next week’s Irish Derby – instead nominating Anthony Van Dyck and Broome for the €1.5 million Curragh Classic – but nominated a return to Ascot for the King George or a trip to France for the Grand Prix de Paris as possible options.
The Coolmore operation took a blow, however, when Ten Sovereigns could finish only fourth to Advertise in the Commonwealth Cup.
Frankie Dettori equalled his best ever Royal Ascot tally with a seventh win of the week on Advertise, who bounced back to form after a disappointing Guineas effort.
Advertise had a length and a half in hand of the 20-1 outsider Forever In Dreams, whose Co Tipperary trainer Aidan Fogarty, mainly a jumps handler, came close to a fairytale result with his first Ascot runner.
O’Brien’s dual-1,000 Guineas winner Hermosa did better in the Coronation Stakes but the evens favourite had to settle for second behind the 20-1 French outsider Watch Me.
The winner was a first Royal Ascot success for trainer Francis Graffard who also combined with jockey Pierre Charles Boudot to win last Sunday’s French Oaks with Channel.