Toronado lit up Royal Ascot in the first race of the meeting, taking the Queen Anne Stakes with a fabulous run.
Guided home superbly by jockey Richard Hughes, the pre-race favourite won the blue-ribbon event of the day by a couple of lengths from Verrazano and Anodin, who finished second and third, respectively.
Here’s the result of the first race confirmed by Channel 4 Racing:
It was a wonderful way to kick-start the meeting, with a further four days of racing lying in wait for the punters. And for those who love to back a favourite, Toronado’s win represents the perfect start to the week.
Here are the final standings from the first race of the 2014 Royal Ascot festival:
|1.||Toronado||Richard Hughes||Richard Hannon|
|2.||Verazzano||Joseph O'Brien||A P O'Brien|
|3.||Anodin||Olivier Peslier||F Head|
|4.||Tullius||Jimmy Fortune||Andrew Balding|
|5.||Producer||Ryan Moore||Richard Hannon|
|6.||Soft Falling Rain||Paul Hanagan||M F De Kock|
|7.||Glory Awaits||James Doyle||Kevin Ryan|
|8.||Mull Of Killough||Adam Kirby||Jane Chapple-Hyam|
|9.||Side Glance||Jamie Spencer||Andrew Balding|
|10.||Ansgar||Rory Cleary||Sabrina J Harty|
The first day of the Royal Ascot meeting is always a special occasion on the flat racing calendar, with the great and the good out in force to watch an afternoon of wonderful racing. The course was looking superb, as noted here by the Royal Ascot Twitter account:
Her majesty the Queen was in attendance to watch the first day of the festival, along with Prince Philip and Prince Harry. The traditional royal precession was observed to kick-start the day, as the Queen was escorted around the track in a horse and carriage.
Racing enthusiast and former England footballer Michael Owen was also in attendance, although he arrived in much more extravagant fashion:
The race got underway at a blistering pace, with a couple of horses setting off at a rapid pace. Toronado could have easily gotten dragged along by that quick start given his recent lack of racing action, so it was vital both horse and jockey kept a steady head.
But Hughes kept Toronado composed throughout the early stages of the race before easing him through the field. The favourite stayed on superbly in the latter stages of the race and ran away from Verrazano to take the win.
Hughes—who claimed his third Queen Anne Stakes with this win—told Channel 4 Racing afterwards that Toronado probably could have triumphed by further:
Winning rider Richard Hughes: "I'm very pleased. Toronado was so relaxed and lazy in the race. I felt him blow up a furlong out" #RoyalAscot— Channel 4 Racing (@Channel4Racing) June 17, 2014
The Queen Anne Stakes has so often been a race to cement the legacy of a host of iconic horses. Hughes actually won this race on Canford Cliffs back in 2011, while the legendary Frankel famously triumphed in the Ascot opener by 11 lengths back in 2012 in what was arguably the greatest performance ever seen by a thoroughbred horse.
For Toronado to win here is indisputably brilliant, but after a stuttering career, it's about time this horse realised his full potential. He is a horse that has been out of the loop for a sustained period in the build-up to this race, but with his return complete, and with the excellent Hughes in the saddle, hopefully this performance can galvanise him onto bigger and better things in the future.