A superb double for the Aidan O’Brien stable on Thursday, highlighted by Kyprios’s second triumph in the Gold Cup, saw Ryan Moore overtake Frankie Dettori to become the most successful active rider at Royal Ascot, now second only in the all-time list to the great Lester Piggott, who enjoyed 116 winners at the Royal meeting.

Moore’s success on Port Fairy in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes saw him move past Dettori on 82 winners, later extended to 83 when Kyprios, owned by Moyglare Stud, Michael Tabor, Sue Magnier, Derrick Smith and Westerberg, came out on top after a terrific tussle with Godolphin’s Trawlerman in the Group 1 Gold Cup, a race he was forced to miss in 2023 due to an infection in a fetlock joint.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained Trawlerman, who outpointed Kyprios in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day in October, was given a fine front-running ride by William Buick and held every chance in the straight as Kyprios loomed up on his outside under Moore.

Despite being headed over a furlong from home, Trawlerman tried to fight back only to find the 2022 Gold Cup winner too strong, with a length separating the pair at the line. Trawlerman’s stable companion, Sweet William, was five lengths away in third.

Connections celebrate a second Gold Cup victory with Kyprios | Photo: Bill Selwyn

Moore said: “It was smooth early. That’s where I wanted to be, but then the filly [Caius Chorister] ran off with Benoit [de la Sayette]. I was having to go round her and Kyprios started travelling a bit too well too early.

“I got there going very easy. I said to Aidan that he’s the class horse in the race and he stays the best, so I’ve just got to get it right. I didn’t get it quite right, but he still won. He’s an unbelievable horse. Aidan knows exactly what they need to do, he knows how to get them here better than anyone.

“It is lovely to ride a horse like this.”

The opening Group 2 Norfolk Stakes saw once-raced Shareholder see off Tropical Storm under James Doyle in the now familiar silks of Wathnan Racing.

Trained by Karl Burke, Shareholder, a son of Kentucky-based stallion Not This Time bought for €460,000 at last month’s Arqana Breeze-Up Sale, travelled with purpose and knuckled down well to take the five-furlong prize by a length.

It was a second Royal Ascot juvenile prize for the team of Wathnan, Burke and Doyle following Leovanni’s Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes success on Wednesday.

The Wathnan Racing team captured a second Royal Ascot juvenile contest with Shareholder in the Norfolk Stakes | Photo: Bill Selwyn

Richard Brown, Wathnan Racing’s bloodstock advisor, said: “It is very hard as you are up against breeding operations which have been going for 30 or 40 years. That really is the way to get the Derby-type horses, so we said if we could get some sharp juveniles, it would give us some action coming through. So with Olly Tait we put together a proposal to buy some breeze-up horses, which we did, with a view to maybe having a couple that could get to Ascot.

“What has happened in the past two days, you couldn’t even dream it would go like this. All credit to Karl Burke and his team. It is important to mention Richard Morgan-Evans and his team in Newmarket. Every horse we buy goes to Richard and they have a tailor-made, individual programme which involves immediate turnout in paddocks, and giving them that recovery time. Richard is a very important part of the process.”

Wathnan Racing and James Doyle enjoyed a second winner on the day when the Ed Walker-trained English Oak justified favouritism in the Buckingham Palace Handicap (7f).

Brian Meehan, successful with Manton Thoroughbreds’ Rashabar in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes on the first day of Royal Ascot, was back in the winner’s enclosure when the Sean Levey-ridden Jayarebe proved too good for favourite King’s Gambit in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes (1m2f).

Meehan, who trains the three-year-old son of Zoffany for long-standing supporter Iraj Parvizi, said: “Jayarebe is getting better – he is still lightly raced. The red hood was a good addition today. It’s more about exuberance – when he was saddled, he was calm, his body temperature was good, so we’re going in the right direction.

“He’s a superstar horse and what more does he have to do? He’s on the up. I said to his owner that we wanted to explore the autumn campaign, with some international races, so we’ll stick with the plan, although the Eclipse is a possibility.”

Trainer Ralph Beckett enjoyed his second winner of the week when Going The Distance, owned by Marc Chan, held off Neski Sherelski to take the King George V Handicap (1m4f) under Rossa Ryan, while Yorkshire handler Ed Bethell and Callum Rodriguez enjoyed their Royal Ascot breakthroughs courtesy of P K Siu’s progressive three-year-old Mickley in the Britannia Handicap (1m).