Royal Ascot 2023

Burdett Road carries Callan to Golden Gates glory

Neil Callan began his Royal Ascot in style and ended it in similar fashion after guiding Burdett Road to a swooping victory in the 10-furlong Golden Gates Handicap.

Callan partnered Triple Time to a 33/1 success in the opening Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday and, having ridden at Newmarket yesterday, returned to strike on 20/1 chance Burdett Road in the meeting’s penultimate contest.

The winner, who provided trainer Michael Bell with a ninth Royal Ascot success, crossed the line three quarters of a length ahead of Lion Of War, with top-weight Local Dynasty almost three lengths further back in third.

There was no fairytale ending at Royal Ascot for Frankie Dettori, whose mount Knockbrex dropped away having led early. Dettori ends the week on four wins and 81 Royal Ascot winners in total.

Callan said: “This horse was very impressive last time out when he bossed a small field around Newbury over a mile and a quarter. He’d shown his best form over a mile, but he loved the fast ground that day and he got his own way in front. The only two times he’s won was when he got his own way in front.

“We weren’t sure whether he would suit being in behind, but Michael said ‘I’ll leave it to you – sit where you want to be’. The pace was good, but I had him so relaxed, so I took a lead off the front bunch and he just travelled so well and accelerated. He surprised me and probably accelerated too well too soon, but you can’t really change your mind once you’re committed.

“I’ve been to Hong Kong and back, a story that’s been told 100 times. I think as you get older you’re a bit more relaxed, you appreciate it a bit more, and I certainly appreciated coming back from Hong Kong. I’m pleased to have done as well as I’ve done. Look at this, it’s Royal Ascot, the greatest show on earth.”

Bell said: “It was a good performance. Burdett Road loved that fast ground when he won at Newbury so we were hopeful he’d be effective today. It was a much deeper race and he had not done much since Newbury.

“He is a very good looking horse, bred by the Gredleys, who we have been lucky for, so I am delighted. The colours have been lucky, and the Gredleys have been great breeders for many years. Bill is not here today but he will be thrilled, watching at home. He was on the gallops this morning and was here on Thursday.

“The most difficult thing about training, when you have been doing it for as long as me, and when you can clearly do the job, is getting the well-bred horse to walk through the door. We are lucky we have the Gredleys and many other nice horses. It is a tough old business, but we are lucky to have what we have and very grateful for another winner here.”

Lion Of War’s jockey Oisin Murphy said: “Another second for Sheikh Fahad [of Qatar Racing]. Everything we have run, bar one, has been in the first three and we’ve had no winner. Lion Of War ran a brilliant race from an awkward draw. He had a nice inside trip and stayed on in the straight. I thought the winner was very tough and got a great ride.”

Charlie Johnston added: “Lion Of War is a horse we’ve always thought a huge amount of. After his first two runs this year, Sheikh Fahad and David [Redvers] were probably thinking I was mad the way I always talked about this horse, but thankfully he is starting to put it together. He was quite far back from that draw, and the winner has just got first run on us at the top of the straight. A little bit maybe one that got away, but that’s the nature of the beast here – you need everything to go in your favour and we just weren’t quite good enough on the day.”

5.35pm Golden Gates Handicap

1 Burdett Road (The Gredley Family) Michael Bell 3-8-13 Neil Callan 20/1

2 Lion Of War (Qatar Racing Limited) Charlie Johnston 3-8-13 Oisin Murphy 9/2CF

3 Local Dynasty (Godolphin) Charlie Appleby 3-9-09 William Buick 9/2CF

15 ran              9/2CF (Canute PU)

Michael Bell – 9th Royal Ascot winner

Neil Callan – 7th Royal Ascot winner

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