Royal Ascot 2023

Hendrix hits right notes in one-two for Chelsea Thoroughbreds in Royal Hunt Cup

Jimi Hendrix (22/1) led home a memorable one-two for owner Chelsea Thoroughbreds and trainer Ralph Beckett in the 30-runner Royal Hunt Cup.

The Rossa Ryan-ridden winner streaked clear of the far side group and stayed on well to see off stablemate Sonny Liston (25/1) and Ryan Moore, who burst out of the stands’ side pack approaching the final furlong, with two lengths separating the duo at the line.

Awaal (15/2) justified his place towards the head of the market as he finished two lengths further back in third, a neck in front of Aerion Power (40/1).

Beckett said: “I gave Ryan Moore the choice – he could have ridden it! It’s great to get Sonny Liston back and he has to be ridden patiently like that, we think. He’ll probably go for the John Smith’s now. I’m thrilled to bits with him.

“Jimi, I always felt he had a day like this in him. He won the Spring Cup well, but he didn’t go so well back on the Rowley Mile. We’ll probably leave the Rowley Mile out for now – I thought I’d win a Cambridgeshire with him last year – but it doesn’t matter, he’s won today and it’s wonderful. You couldn’t make it up, really. I thought we might win the Lincoln with him, as well. He has always threatened to do something like this.

“Things haven’t been going great this week so far but to win a Hunt Cup takes a bit of doing. To finish first and second – I am so pleased. Rossa is a guy on the up; it’s great for him and he gave him a peach.”

Ryan said: “Ralph is a genius. We fancied this horse in the Lincoln and it didn’t go right, but he was impressive in the Spring Cup at Newbury. We figured out a lot last time at Newmarket when he didn’t run up to scratch.

“Ralph has freshened him up lovely and credit to him and everyone at Kimpton – I get the easy job of riding him, but the lads behind the scenes do all the work. This one is for them.

“We didn’t have much pace our side on paper, but the majority of the fancied runners were our side. I wanted to be handy, but he missed the break and didn’t carry me into it until about three furlongs out.

“When I was rolling like that I had to keep rolling, and one thing about this lad is that he needs all the space. That’s why I was adamant to come out wide and go round everyone and not try to be a hero.

“He’s blessed with ability and it’s only now I’m figuring him out.”

Awaal’s co-trainer Ed Crisford said: “He ran a super race, very pleasing. He travelled super well and picked up. William said that he probably prefers slightly softer conditions, but I’m delighted with his run. He’s a good horse, second in the Lincoln, third in the Hunt Cup, and we’ve got a horse with a big future hopefully.”

Asked whether he has an idea of where the horse might run next, he added: “Not yet. Maybe into Stakes company, with a bit of cut in the ground, and hopefully he can keep climbing up the ladder.”

5.00pm Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap)

1 Jimi Hendrix (Chelsea Thoroughbreds – Purple Haze) Ralph Beckett 4-9-05 Rossa Ryan 22/1

2 Sonny Liston (Chelsea Thoroughbreds – The Big Bear) Ralph Beckett 4-9-02 Ryan Moore 25/1

3 Awaal (Shaikh Duaij Khalifa & KHK Racing) Simon & Ed Crisford 4-9-07 William Buick 15/2

4 Aerion Power (King Power Racing) Sir Michael Stoute 5-8-11 Harry Davies (3) 40/1

30 ran             7/1 fav Perotto (10th)

Ralph Beckett – 4th Royal Ascot winner

Rossa Ryan – 2nd Royal Ascot winner

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