Clean sweep for Coolmore & Ballydoyle in leading owner, trainer and jockey awards
Coolmore partnerships consisting of Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Peter Brant and Georg von Opel’s Westerberg operation took the leading owner title at Royal Ascot for a fourth time, following an exceptional week that yielded four winners.
The quartet were all trained by Aidan O’Brien, with River Tiber and Paddington both scoring on the opening day in the Coventry Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes under Ryan Moore. Warm Heart captured the Ribblesdale Stakes for Moore on Thursday, with the Wayne Lordan-ridden Age Of Kings taking Saturday’s Jersey Stakes.
Georg von Opel said: “It has been a fantastic week. We are blessed with a very, very good team and I am proud to be part of it, but there’s a lot of people doing all the work. It’s an incredible team and we’re very lucky.
“Royal Ascot is the greatest event for horses in the world. Particularly from Germany, we have a production of 500-600 foals only, so this is huge for us. Of course, I’ve been living in England for 23 years with the family, who are all English, so I’m getting used to it a little bit, but it’s still fantastic.
“It’s not only the winners, but again it’s a team effort – there have been a lot of seconds, a lot of thirds – so if you look at the whole armada of horses, it’s an amazing effort by everybody who is involved with them. I’m proud of that.”
Aidan O’Brien claimed a 12th leading trainer title at the meeting with four wins – the same total as John & Thady Gosden – and six seconds. The master of Ballydoyle was joined on the winners’ list by both of his sons, with Joseph sending out two victories and Donnacha recording a first Royal Ascot success with Porta Fortuna in Friday’s Albany Stakes.
O’Brien said: “It’s very special for the two lads [Joseph and Donnacha] to have winners as well. We know how difficult it is – we came here a lot of years with a lot of horses and didn’t have any winners. It’s very, very competitive, fiercely competitive. When you come here and have a winner, it’s such a privilege.
“We came with a lot of horses this year and we hoped, but we never expected. We are so delighted to get the winners we got. Ryan [Moore] was brilliant, Wayne [Lordan] rode a winner today and a lot of people have put in a lot of hard work.
“The lads – John & Sue [Magnier], Michael & Doreen [Tabor], Derrick & Gay [Smith], Georg & Emily [von Opel] and Peter & Stephanie [Brant] – are the people that make it happen for us. They supply the horses and everything for everybody at Coolmore and Ballydoyle, who work very hard. So many faces that I won’t mention because I would be here for a long time, but there are so many people that go into making it happen. It comes down to Ryan on the day. It’s a difficult job but he is a superstar and we really appreciate that.
“I would think Paddington would be the highlight. He looks very different – he is progressing with every run and he travels and quickens. I know Ryan was always taken by him and I think he was really blown away.”
Moore ended the week with six wins to secure a 10th leading jockey title at Royal Ascot. In addition to his wins on River Tiber, Paddington and Warm Heart, the rider also enjoyed success on Vauban for Willie Mullins in Tuesday’s Copper Horse Handicap.
His two other wins were provided by Joseph O’Brien, with Okita Soushi taking Friday’s Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap and Dawn Rising scoring in the meeting’s final contest, the Queen Alexandra Stakes.
Moore said: “I had good rides, and I would have liked a few more. Aidan’s horses have been in great form. I’d like to think it has been, and hope it has been, a good week for racing.”