Okita Soushi conquers in Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap
Okita Soushi (9/1) gave trainer Joseph O’Brien a second Royal Ascot winner with a swooping victory in the 12-furlong Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap.
The Coolmore-bred winner, who was third in last year’s Copper Horse Handicap, was given the perfect hold-up ride by Ryan Moore, who didn’t want anything to do with the strong early gallop.
Okita Soushi was produced wide in the straight and the son of Galileo powered home to score by a neck, cementing Moore’s position as the week’s leading rider so far with five wins.
The consistent HMS President (15/2) finished second for the sixth time in his last eight starts, while Live Your Dream (11/1) filled third for Godolphin.
O’Brien said: “Okita Soushi ran a great race here last year, and it is special to get a winner this week. He needs the right set-up but I thought it was a wonderful ride by Ryan. I am delighted for everyone, all the owners and the team at home.
“He is always slow early. Ryan was happy to take his time and come with one run late. And if we got the right set-up, we knew we’d have a chance to win, but we were a little hostage to how it set-up.
“We have had a frustrating week. We have hit the crossbar a few times but it is great to get a winner now.”
Of Ryan Moore, he added: “He is the best jockey in the world, so when we are lucky enough to get him the odd time, it is very special. He has been riding at the top of his game for a number of years now, and he has had a wonderful week. He is a special jockey. It is great to have him, I am not sure he has ridden a winner for me before? So delighted.”
And of his brother’s winner earlier today, O’Brien said: “I am super proud. Donnacha is doing a fantastic job. His two-year-olds have been on fire and he deserved an Ascot winner. I am delighted for the owners and mum bred the filly – it is a special day.”
Moore said: “Okita Soushi has stamina and he’s brave – these Galileos have a will to win, which this one has.
“The O’Briens are an amazing family and I am lucky enough to have ridden for all three of them [Aidan, Joseph and Donnacha]. Aidan’s achievements will probably never be matched, but the two boys are doing really well.
“Joseph told me exactly what to do with this fellow and he had it to a tee. Luckily, Aidan didn’t have a runner in the race and I was able to ride this one.”
Alan King said of HMS President: “Huge run! What can I say, I am delighted. I thought at the furlong pole that Joseph’s horse had got him, and just for a second, that we might come back. Bar winning, I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Rossa Ryan added: “HMS President ran his heart out. He is a six-year-old against some of these younger horses and Alan had him in great stead. He’s already won a £50,000 to the winner handicap and he hasn’t been out of the first two this year. Fair dues to Alan and the team, they’ve really got inside this lad’s head and transformed him. He has the ability whether it’s 12 furlongs or 14 furlongs. He’s got it all and for a great bunch of owners as well.”
3.40pm Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap
1 Okita Soushi (Toshihiro Matsumoto) Joseph O’Brien IRE 5-9-09 Ryan Moore 9/1
2 HMS President (HP Racing HMS President) Alan King 6-9-03 Rossa Ryan 15/2
3 Live Your Dream (Godolphin) Saeed bin Suroor 6-9-09 Daniel Tudhope 11/1
4 Ajero (Julie & David Martin and Dan Hall) Kim Bailey 8-9-03 Jim Crowley 20/1
18 ran 9/2f Teumessias Fox (15th)
Joseph O’Brien – 2nd Royal Ascot winner
Ryan Moore – 78th Royal Ascot winner
Sectional times: https://royalascot2023.racenewslive.co.uk/sectional-times/