Royal Ascot 2023

Age Of Kings causes Jersey Stakes shock for O’Brien

Age Of Kings looked the Aidan O’Brien second string on jockey bookings but the 22/1 shot proved himself to be much more than that in the G3 Jersey Stakes.

Having only beaten one home on his return in the Irish 2,000 Guineas last month, the son of Kingman was a different proposition under Wayne Lordan as he stayed on bravely to score by a length. Zoology and Streets Of Gold filled the places in a bunch for the minor honours.

It was a fourth winner of the week for O’Brien, who moved ahead of John & Thady Gosden in the race for the Royal Ascot Leading Trainer award by virtue of more seconds.

O’Brien said: “Age Of Kings tries hard. Wayne kept it uncomplicated and said he’d get a mile if we wanted. The Guineas was only his first run of the year, it was a very good run, and he came forward from that.

“We’ve had lots of placed horses [this week] and it is hard to have winners. I am so delighted for the lads. We came here for many years without having winners so we know what it is like.”

Lordan said: “Age Of Kings had good runs last year, then had a bit of a setback and his first run back this year was in the Irish Guineas. He finished eight lengths behind Paddington and obviously improved for it. He’s a very straightforward horse who gets a mile well, so I just kept it simple. It is a track that you can jump [from the stalls] and go forward and keep going forward, and that’s exactly what he did.

“At two he had a few runs and maybe got a bit weak, but he’s come back and he’s stepped forward nicely, even in his work. Aidan likes to throw plenty at it [O’Brien also ran The Antarctic, finished 13th] and I’m glad I was on this fella. I’ll take a Royal Ascot winner any day.”

James Ferguson said of Zoology: “It was a super run. They went very hard and, in the mid-stage of the race, you just think he’s struggling to keep up, but they’ve all come back and he’s stayed on very well. It’s a tough race this, and the fast ground certainly suited him.

“He is a horse that was massively overpriced. He has done absolutely nothing wrong and ran a super race in the Greenham when he obviously didn’t like the ground. Back on a sounder surface, he’s run an absolute belter of a race and I’ve got very high hopes for this horse. I think he could be a superstar.”

On where the horse may go now, he added: “I think I’ll get home and work that out a bit later, because now it looks like we are going to be stepping up to a mile, which I probably didn’t think about before the race. It’s a nice problem to have.”

Oisin Murphy added: “Zoology got away well, travelled super behind Covey and the winner, and he stayed on very well to the line. It is likely we will go up to a mile now. That was a career-best by a long way, so I am very pleased.”

Streets Of Gold’s trainer Eve Johnson Houghton said: “He ran a blinder, I am absolutely thrilled with him. That’s probably the hardest race he has run in and, on Timeform figures, that’s probably the highest he’s ever run to. He is in the Bunbury Cup, we might go there or we might try to find an easy race to win – we will see.”

3.05pm Jersey Stakes (Group 3)
1 Age Of Kings (Westerberg, Magnier, Tabor, Smith, Brant) Aidan O’Brien IRE 3-9-03 Wayne Lordan 22/1

2 Zoology (Qatar Racing Limited) James Ferguson 3-9-03 Oisin Murphy 28/1

3 Streets Of Gold (J Allison & G Stevens) Eve Johnson Houghton 3-9-03 Charles Bishop 28/1

15 ran              11/4F Covey (9th)

Aidan O’Brien – 85th Royal Ascot winner

Wayne Lordan – 5th Royal Ascot winner