Royal Ascot: Roller-coaster day for Oisin Murphy

Alcohol Free ridden by Oisin Murphy win the Coronation Stakes
Alcohol Free ridden by Oisin Murphy win the Coronation Stakes Image Credit: Reuters

Frankie Dettori and Oisin Murphy, two of the best jockeys in the business today, provided the drama on Day 4 at Royal Ascot on Friday, not least in the stewards’ room on another thrilling day’s fare.

Dettori, who is inextricably linked with Ascot Racecourse, having made history when riding all seven winners on the card in 1996, stole victory from Murphy in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup with the help American-trained galloper Campanelle — and the stewards.

However, Murphy wasted no time in gaining redemption when he swept to victory aboard Alcohol Free in the feature race of the afternoon, the Group 1 Coronation Cup.

It was a day of twists and turns as the skies opened up to dramatically change ground conditions to heavy but it did little to alter the quality or sheer entertainment that the century-old racing festival serves up year after year.

Campanelle was awarded the Commonwealth Cup in the stewards’ room, when it was ruled that Murphy and Dragon Symbol, who were first past the post, had caused significant interference to Campenelle.

Dettori told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s never nice winning a race in the stewards’ room. I feel sorry for the winner’s connections that I took it off them.

“But in these kind of conditions, when you’re taken across about eight lanes, nudged three times, I lost my momentum, got beaten a head. the stewards kind of felt they’d give me the benefit of the doubt.”

Alcohol Free was completing a double on the card for trainer Andrew Balding after he took the opening Albany Stakes with Sandrine and David Probert.

Reflecting on what was a roller-coaster day, Murphy, the reigning British champion jockey, said of the Commonwealth Cup verdict: “Just looking back on the race, I was on the best horse — even Frankie said that to me. But the stewards gave it to her. I’m sorry to the Japanese fans.

“I said to my valet, when he put his hand around me: ‘There’s no place for tears in here — there’s far worse things going on in the world.’

“We’re in the entertainment industry, and I’m steering these marvellous animals — and I keep looking forward to the next one.”

Earlier in the day, Alenqeur, who had beaten Epsom Derby winner Adayar in the Sandown Classic Trial, won the King Edward VII Stakes.

Tomorrow is the final day at the festival where the feature race is the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes where Derby-winning Dubai businessman Saeed Suail looks to have big chances with Dream Of Dreams.