Prince of Wales’ Stakes, 2000 – Dubai Millennium (Saeed bin Suroor, Jerry Bailey)
There wasn’t much in the market between French raider and favourite Sendawar and Dubai Millennium, but anyone who backed the ‘jolly’ got their fingers badly burnt that day as he came up against a real champion.
Dubai Millennium made all and in a top-class race at probably the most prestigious meeting in the world enjoyed little more than an exercise gallop, quickening from half a mile out and going clear a furlong later, eventually coming home eight lengths ahead of 66-1 poke Sumitas.
The winner is probably the best horse Godolphin have ever had through their hands, only being beaten once in 10 outings and that was in the Derby on an extremely quirky course which catches some horses, who just don’t act on it, out.
Queen Anne Stakes, 2012 – Frankel (Sir Henry Cecil, Tom Queally)
In 2011 I went to the Royal extravaganza wondering if the great Frankel’s unchallenged success in the 2,000 Guineas was some kind of a freak result as I’d never seen a Classic won like that, but his all out three-quarter of a length success in the St James’s Palace Stakes left me completely underwhelmed.
It was a different story in 2012 as chasing his 11th straight victory, regular pilot Tom Queally gave him a shake of the reins about a furlong from home and he quickened like a cheetah to score by an extremely impressive 11 lengths.
Some pundits have criticised this horse as he never traveled abroad, but I have no doubt having witnessed this that he was the real deal. You just don’t win a Queen Anne by 11 lengths and his last win in the Champion Stakes highlighted his class when prevailing on unsuitable soft ground.
King’s Stand Stakes, 2003 – Choisir (Paul Perry, Johnny Murtagh)
Nobody had heard of Choisir when he lined up for that year’s King’s Stand as an unconsidered 25-1 poke, but he was the name on everyone’s lips by the end of a truly memorable week for Australian sprinters.
Choisir was a trailblazer for other Aussie speedsters such as former taxi driver Joe Janiak’s Takeover Target and Black Caviar (see below) as popular Murtagh and his mount drew clear by three lengths inside the final furlong and held on by a length from Acclamation.
For good measure the pair returned to the Jelly Bean’s racecourse four days’ later to complete the magnificent King’s Stand/Golden Jubilee Stakes double by half a length from Airwave.
Quite why sprinters from Down Under have done well here is a matter of conjecture, but it could be that horses in Australia are bred more for speed than longer distances here.
Diamond Jubilee Stakes, 2012 – Black Caviar (Peter Moody, Luke Nolen)
Ascot hasn’t always been able to attract international superstars, but they hit the jackpot when sprinting sensation Black Caviar traveled from Down Under in a bid to win her 22nd race in succession.
There was a tangible sense of excitement about her being here and while at 1-6 favourite her odds were too prohibitive for most punters, she very nearly got beaten.
Her fan club back home in Australia who stayed up until the early hours to watch her prevail must have had heart palpitations when pilot Luke Nolen stopped riding towards the finish with French challenger Moonlight Cloud breathing down her neck, but her class just got her home by a head.
Three more unbeaten starts saw her finish her career 25 from 25 and no-one present to witness the Aussie speedball will ever forget the moment or the race.
Jersey Stakes, 2018 – Expert Eye (Sir Michael Stoute, James McDonald)
Expert Eye was last of nine when an odds-on poke for the Dewhurst Stakes and could only muster 10th of 14 in the 2,000 Guineas, but I kept the faith and was rewarded with a nice-priced winner of the Jersey.
Neither of those previous performances could fill you with that much confidence, but Sir Michael is one of those trainers who you have to read and his body language and comments after his charge was runner-up in Newbury’s Greenham Stakes meant I still thought he was probably very good.
A drop in class and back to seven furlongs, the same trip as the Greenham when he hadn’t run for 189 days, was just what the doctor ordered and under a canny James McDonald ride, he prevailed by an authoritative four and a half lengths.
I put him up as my best bet of Royal Ascot on the Racing Postcast which meant that unbelievably I was offered one more appearance on that revered channel!