Dermot Weld was back in the Royal Ascot winner’s enclosure for the first time in eight years when Tahiyra, owned by the Aga Khan, showcased her superb turn of foot to take the Group 1 Coronation Stakes (1m), the headline race on Friday’s Royal Ascot card.
Winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas after chasing home Mawj in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, the daughter of Siyouni, who is a half-sister to her owner’s outstanding performer Tarnawa, was settled at the rear of the six-runner field by Chris Hayes as Meditate and Ryan Moore set the space.
As the field turned into the home straight, Hayes eased Tahiyra to the outside and she swept past her rivals, albeit hanging slightly right, in the process hampering Remarquee and Rob Hornby.
Remarquee rallied but could only close to within a length of Tahiyra at the line and while a stewards’ enquiry was held to look into interference between the first two, the places remained unaltered. Sounds Of Heaven claimed third under Ronan Whelan, a neck further back.
Weld, who previously captured the Coronation Stakes with Sutton Place in 1978, said: “I have been very fortunate. I’ve won many Group 1s around the world, I think this is my 18th Group race to win here at Royal Ascot. I have been very fortunate in life.
“I was a little bit concerned in the early part of the race, but Chris did the right thing to take her back. Plan B came into action, which was to take your time – it’s a long straight at Ascot and she has brilliant speed, and that’s what he did.
“I suppose she’s learning more about racing, she’s getting more professional. I thought she won fair and square. She and her sister are different. Her sister was unbelievably tough, stayed really well, won the Breeders’ Cup Turf and those two very good Group 1s in France for me. And she was beaten a neck in the Arc in ground that was just too dead for her on the day.
“Her sister was a brilliant racemare and this one is equally good. They are different sorts, this one has more pace. I enjoy so much training these fillies, I know the families and do my best to train them.”
North Yorkshire trainer Julie Camacho celebrated a first Royal Ascot winner and Group 1 success when Shaquille recovered from an awful start to lift the Commonwealth Cup (6f) under Oisin Murphy.
Despite rearing as the stalls opened, which put the son of Charm Spirit literally on the back foot, he made relentless headway on the far side to hit the front with half a furlong to run and see off favourite Little Big Bear by a length and a quarter.
Camacho said: “I thought, ‘well that’s it, he’s blown his chance’. I’ve just watched it live and would like to go back and watch it properly – he was good, wasn’t he?
“It’s massive. We never thought we would train a Group 1 winner, not at Royal Ascot anyway, and for Martin [Hughes, owner] it’s massive. He bred him. We’ve got his mother at home, his siblings, and dad looks after the stud, so I’m sure he was screaming at home.”
Amo Racing’s King Of Steel backed up his superb second place in the Derby at Epsom with a most taking success in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes (1m4f).
Kevin Stott bided his time on the sizable son of Wootton Bassett as Dubai Mile and Artistic Star kept each other company up front but once produced with his effort two furlongs out the result was seriously impressive, powering clear of toiling rivals to see off Continuous by three and half lengths.
It was a second success of the week for Kia Joorabchian’s Amo Racing having struck with 150-1 chance Valiant Force in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes on Thursday.
Trainer Roger Varian said: “It is a relief! When they run so big in the Derby, you want them to back it up. We were confident King Of Steel would, but this is horseracing!
“We went on the signs that the horse was giving us. Raul Da Silva has done a wonderful job riding this horse most mornings, as has the whole team at home.
“I am delighted for Kia [Joorabchian], and was delighted that Kia got his winner yesterday, it took a bit of the pressure off us!
“I am delighted for the horse – he is a beautiful horse and, for a big horse, he is so agile. He confirmed today what he did in the Derby, which is very satisfying.”
Frankie Dettori’s excellent week continued with a double on Porta Fortuna (Group 3 Albany Stakes) and Coppice (Sandringham Stakes) while Hollie Doyle notched her second win of Royal Ascot 2023 aboard the Archie Watson-trained Rhythm N Hooves in the closing Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap for the Cool Silk Partnership.
While Donnacha O’Brien was tasting a first Royal Ascot success with Porta Fortuna, his brother Joseph also hit the bullseye when Okita Soushi claimed the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes under Ryan Moore.