It was a day of contrasting fortunes for racing’s two great powerhouses as temperatures reached 30 degrees plus on the opening day of Royal Ascot yesterday.
The Aidan O’Brien trained, Coolmore-owned Churchill was expected to cement his reputation as one of the best of his generation but he disappointed in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and victory went instead to the Godolphin-owned Barney Roy, ironically sired by the Coolmore stallion Excelebration.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin has recently been in some turmoil following the resignation of John Ferguson, but the organisation had three of the six winners yesterday, 40 years after the Sheikh’s first British winner as an owner.
Irishman Joe Osborne is the interim chief executive and he told The Irish Field editor Leo Powell that the day was “a great boost for the team.”
Royal Ascot is one of the world’s most important flat race meetings but it was the brilliant National Hunt trainer Willie Mullins who rescued the Irish yesterday when Thomas Hobson gave the trainer his fifth winner at the meeting, landing the Ascot Stakes. It was the third time in six years that Mullins teamed up with Ryan Moore to win this race.