Royal Ascot Day 1: Favorites, Aussies Dominate

Favorite Charyn takes Queen Ann; 129-1 Longshot wins Coventry

The five-day Greatest Show on Turf got rolling on a warm Tuesday, and as always, Royal Ascot showcased a bit of everything. The first four races, all graded stakes, went to a 3-1 favorite, a 129-1 shot, an Australian shipper, and to Irish 2,000 Guineas victor Rosallion.

There wasn’t much drama in the meet’s traditional opener as Charyn stalked a hot pace and surged to the lead inside the quarter pole. The 4-year-old Ireland-bred drew off by 2¼ lengths over 10-1 shot Docklands after a mile in 1:38.04 on the straight course. Maljoom was third.


Charyn earned an automatic berth into the 2024 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar

Charyn, trained by Roger Varian, earned a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) in November at Del Mar. Winning rider Silvestre de Souza, a native of Brazil, said: “What I did was very little. I just had to wait for the right moment, and he won quite easily. At halfway I thought I don’t want to get there too soon.”

The son of Dark Angel paid $8.20 for his fifth win in 15 starts. He’s 3-for-4 this year after going 0-for-7 in 2023.

129-1 Rashabar by a nose in Coventry (G2)

Eighteen-year-old Billy Loughnane teamed with trainer Brian Meehan, a two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), on 129-1 shot Rashabar in one of the biggest shockers in Royal Ascot history.

Rashabar broke his maiden in the Coventry in his third career start.

The Irishmen had to sweat out a photo finish that their 2-year-old colt took by a nose over 40-1 Electrolyte. Columnist (50-1) completed a trifecta that paid $122,677.10 for $1. That anyone played those numbers was as shocking as the horses who ran 1-2-3.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Loughnane said. “To be doing it so young is massive.”

Rashabar paid $259.80 after covering 6 furlongs in 1:13.9. No one who cashed on him cared about the slow time.

Aussie shipper Asfoora surges late in King Charles III (G1)

Before the King Charles III Stakes, trainer Henry Dwyer said he’d like to bring Asfoora from Australia to the Breeders’ Cup. Then the 6-year-old mare earned a ticket to the Sprint. She’s the sixth winner from Down Under at the royal meeting.

Oisin Murphy gave her a masterful ride, stalking eventual runner-up Regional on the near side before angling to the middle of the course to take on pacesetter Big Evs, the 11-4 favorite. Asfoora passed last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) hero, who faded to third, and held off 6-1 Regional by a length after 5 furlongs in :58.60.

Asfoora paid $12 for her ninth victory in 19 starts.

“We’ve got so many people here,” Dwyer said. “Not only the owners of Asfoora, but 40 or 50 owners from Australia who would saw the end of their leg off to have a runner at Royal Ascot. I think there will be the mother of all parties tonight.”

Asfoora (8) ridden by Oisin Murphy wins the King Charles III Stakes (Group 1) on Day One of the Royal Ascot Race Meeting at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, United Kingdom on June 18, 2024. Shamela Hanley/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM

Rosallion wins rematch with Notable Speech in St James’s Palace (G1)

Rosallion came running late under Sean Levey to win the St James’s Palace Stakes by a neck over Henry Longfellow. Rosallion’s highly anticipated rematch with 6-4 favorite Notable Speech, who beat him in the English One Thousand Guineas, didn’t materialize. Notable Speech never got involved and ran seventh, his first loss in five career starts.

The win vindicated Richard Hannon, who considers Rosallion the best he’s ever trained. “I couldn’t believe he got beat in the Guineas considering how well he was traveling,” he said.

Levey said he was always confident in Rosallion, who went off at 5-2 and ran a mile in 1:38.38. “He picked up so well,” Levey said. “There was always going to be plenty in the tank.”

The undercard

Pledgeofallegiance (20-1) took the 2 3/16-mile Ascot Stakes … Israr, at 11-4, coasted by 3¼ lengths in the 1 3/16-mile Wolferton Stakes … Belloccio (9-2), trained by Irish steeplechase master Willie Mullins, rallied wide under William Buick to win by a length in the 1¾-mile Copper Horse Handicap.


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