Royal Ascot Day Four: Golden Horde Fends Off U.S.-Based Kimari In Commonwealth Cup

Friday’s G1 highlight at Royal Ascot, the Commonwealth Cup over six furlongs, saw a decisive victory for Golden Horde. It was an eighth Royal Ascot victory for both trainer Clive Cox and jockey Adam Kirby.

Always traveling well, the son of Lethal Force held a clear advantage a furlong from home and was never threatened as he scored by a length and a half from American challenger Kimari (Wesley Ward/Frankie Dettori).

“Clive [Cox] is like a second father to me,” Kirby said. “We have always had a good relationship, and long may it last. We have been together a long time; he knows me and I know him, and we are very honest with each other. That’s why we get on so well together. It is straightforward.

“I kept it uncomplicated, although the race went a bit back to front. I thought the Wesley Ward horse would give me a lead to half-way but he didn’t jump. Golden Horde has a great natural cruising speed, and it was all very easy. Full credit to Clive, he has done a great job.”

Clive Cox added: “I am very proud of him. We have got a great team at home and to win a G1 first time out with any horse is difficult, but given the way things are this year, it’s the same for a lot of people, but I am really proud. He is a horse to go forward with – I really hope and pray he has got a longer journey to go ahead of him.”

The G1 July Cup is expected to be next for Golden Horde.

The feature race of the day goes to Adam Kirby and Clive Cox 🏆

Golden Horde sprints home to land the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup!#RoyalAscot pic.twitter.com/OhcVhyxpjJ

— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) June 19, 2020

The five-furlong Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap got proceedings underway on day four of Royal Ascot. Despite being a 21-runner handicap for 3-year-olds, the contest was turned into something of a procession as red-hot favorite Art Power came home three and a half lengths clear. It was a sixth Royal Ascot winner for trainer Tim Easterby and a seventh for jockey Silvestre de Sousa.

“This is very important, especially for my team King Power Racing and Top [Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha),” said de Sousa. “Obviously his Dad is not here but whatever way he is he will be looking down for his horse, I am so glad to be involved with King Power Racing it is a big operation and getting bigger. This is the place we like to have winners, big winners like this.”

In the day’s second race, Dandalla made it two wins from as many starts when powering to an impressive victory in the G3 Albany over six furlongs, handing jockey Ben Curtis his first Royal Ascot win.

“”It is on every jockey’s to-do list. I have been coming down to Royal Ascot for a good while now and not really getting involved, so finally to get a winner is unbelievable,” Curtis said. “It is funny, it was a surreal feeling. I came there are the two [furlong pole] traveling very well, and I just popped her between a couple just inside the two, and she came alive. I knew when we accelerated that nothing else would be able to pick up the way I did, because she picked up very well. In the last furlong I said, ‘We’re out on our own’, and it was a brilliant feeling and a great performance by the filly.”

Owned by Nick Bradley Racing & Elaine Burke, the daughter of Dandy Man took up the running well over a furlong from home and never looked in any danger after that point. It was a second Royal Ascot victory for trainer Karl Burke, who is now considering the 1,000 Guineas for the filly.

“Dandalla has got a great turn of foot and then she keeps on galloping,” Burke said. “A few times at the top of the Middleham gallop where we do most of our work, jockeys have been struggling to pull her up. My daughter Lucy earmarked her since before Christmas. She actually came in one day and said ‘I hate to say it, but this filly reminds me of Laurens.’ That will tell you how high she thought of her. She is probably more precious than Laurens – Laurens had not even run at this time during her two-year-old career. She is also speedier than Laurens. The question now is how far we stay, and we have got plenty of time to think about.”

American-based trainer Wesley Ward nearly got his first Royal Ascot win of 2020 in Friday’s third race, the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes, with 2-year-old Golden Pal. However, The Lir Jet made a strong run in the late stages of the five-furlong contest and got up to score by a neck for trainer Michael Bell and jockey Oisin Murphy.

The winner is now unbeaten in two starts, having won on debut at Yarmouth on June 3, when he was owned by the trainer’s son Nick. Following that win, the two-year-old Prince Of Lir colt was purchased by Qatar Racing. Now, The Lir Jet has earned an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint this fall at Keeneland.

“At Yarmouth he broke the track record, but he did not learn a lot because he went so easy, so today he really had to dig in and learn how to race,” Bell said. “My son Nick found him from Robson Aguira, who bought him very cheaply and was going to breeze him up. When the breeze-ups were cancelled Robson and Nick came to an arrangement and the horse came to us. Then Sheikh Fahad was watching Yarmouth on telly and sent me a text asking if he was for sale, and the rest is history. A good bit of business for all involved, and very nice for us to have a good winner for a very important owner – it is high profile for us. Any trainer needs good horses and good winners, especially for big operations like Qatar.”

Frankie Dettori was in the winner’s enclosure for the 70th time at Royal Ascot after four-year-old filly Fanny Logan landed the G2 Hardwicke Stakes over a mile and a half. Dettori delivered the daughter of Sea The Stars with a perfectly timed challenge entering the final furlong and went on to score by a comfortable two and a half lengths from Alounak.

Trainer John Gosden, saddling his fifth winner of the week, said: “Frankie’s belying his years and it is a pleasure to be around him. His knowledge and his feel when riding work in the morning – he is one of the few who is extremely accurate when talking about horses in the mornings – what they need and what they don’t need – and he is a great race-reader and a fabulous jockey. We are lucky to have him about.”

Santiago was the comfortable winner of the G2 Queen’s Vase over a mile and six furlongs in Friday’s sixth race, giving both trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore a fourth success of the meeting. After delivering his challenge entering the final quarter mile, the son of Authorized quickened impressively for a decisive two and three-quarter length victory.

“Santiago could be a Gold Cup horse next year, so we will keep that in our minds,” O’Brien said. “He is a strong traveller and will get better from three to four. We have plenty of horses in the Derbys – the Irish Derby will come too soon and we will think about Epsom. But I think we will take our time with him this year.”

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