O'Brien hails 'hugely special' first Royal Ascot training success

·3-min read

State of Rest gave two-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Joseph O'Brien his first Royal Ascot winner with an impressive victory in the Prince of Wales's Stakes.

O'Brien also won the race as a jockey 10 years ago.

The well-travelled four-year-old winner has already won prestigious Australian Group One contest The Cox Plate, as O'Brien has largely favoured running him outside of Ireland.

However, this victory will live long in the memory of 29-year-old O'Brien and jockey Shane Crosse.

"It's been a long time coming," said O'Brien, whose father Aidan has welcomed home many a Royal Ascot winner down the years.

"We've had lots of horses run well here, but it's special to get a winner here and not only a winner, but to win a race like the Prince Of Wales's Stakes is hugely special.

"This is what it is all about. We love the game, we are born and bred into the game. It is all we know."

Crosse rode a brilliant race, leading from pillar to post to fend off the challenge from odds-on favourite Bay Bridge.

Japanese hopes of a first ever winner at the meeting foundered halfway down the finishing straight as the hotly-fancied Shahryar faded to finish fourth.

"When I asked to go, he didn't have the same acceleration as last time," said Shahryar's jockey Cristian Demuro.

Frankie Dettori's race on 2020 winner Lord North all but ended at the starting gate.

He seemed to be caught unawares as the gates opened and ripped off the hood covering the horse's head as his four rivals disappeared into the distance.

The 51-year-old Italian made up the ground eventually but Lord North had used up too much energy to deliver a killer blow when it mattered.

- 'I was blinded' -

French trainer Christopher Head's first outing at the meeting ended in huge disappointment, as his runner Sibila Spain was withdrawn at the start before the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.

She went down on her knees in the stalls, and although the stall handlers got her back on her feet, it was decided she should not take any part.

Saffron Beach went on to win in eye-catching style under William Buick to give England-based Australian trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam her second Royal Ascot winner.

She joked that her celebrations later would be a match for those of her compatriots who won the King's Stand Stakes with Nature Strip on Tuesday.

Nature Strip's rider James McDonald was to deny Chapple-Hyam a double as he won the Royal Hunt Cup on Dark Shift, holding off her Intellogent.

Danny Tudhope racked up his third win of the meeting -- his ninth in all at Royal Ascot -- as he came home on the impressive favourite Dramatised in the Queen Mary Stakes.

Tudhope did not need his whip, which was just as well as it slipped from his hand entering the final stages.

"It was a bit of a nightmare to be honest," said Tudhope.

"I dropped it a furlong and a half out but she only needed one smack, thank goodness. She is unbelievable.

"The world is her oyster."

Another favourite came in in the next -- Eldar Eldarov just getting up to deny Zechariah on the finishing line in the Queen's Vase after a photo finish.

Eldar Eldarov -- named after an MMA fighter -- impressed his trainer Roger Varian, who hailed it as "a hell of a performance".

It was a very personal success for his Bahraini owner Shaikh Khalid.

"He is a special horse to me because I chose him," he said.

"My brother was sure we had won, but I was blinded so I couldn't be sure. It was a very tough one."

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