Accidental Agent ready for Queen Anne repeat mission
11 Jun 2019
Eve Johnson Houghton says her stable star is in great form ahead of his attempt to win first race of Royal Ascot for a second time.
Accidental Agent takes the spoils last year. Picture: Racingfotos.com
Eve Johnson Houghton is hoping Accidental Agent can silence the many detractors by becoming the first dual winner of the Queen Anne Stakes in 112 years.
Johnson Houghton’s 2018 Royal Ascot Group 1 hero delivered an emotional as well as surprise success, at odds of 33-1, when he beat Lord Glitters by half a length.
The Oxfordshire trainer’s breakthrough victory at the top level came 12 years after she took over the licence following her father Fulke’s retirement. It was also her first triumph in a race that falls under the QIPCO British Champions Series umbrella.
For good measure, Accidental Agent – owned by her mother Gaie – is named after the autobiography of her maternal grandfather, war hero and former trainer John Goldsmith.
Johnson Houghton admits even 12 months on, much of her experience at Ascot last year remains “a blur”.
She cannot help feeling either that she would love Accidental Agent to help “stick two fingers up” at those she has heard decrying the form of a race which dates back to 1840.
As her charge’s preparations are completed for next week’s renewal of Royal Ascot’s opening event, she said: “I would just like to stick two fingers up to a few people. Everyone keeps saying ‘that was terrible, that older mile – terrible, terrible’.”
It is a response which understandably frustrates her.
“Everyone always says that…you try getting one then,” she added. “I don’t really care if he beat a terrible field – we won.”
After two lesser efforts in August and September last year, followed by surgery on an ankle problem, Accidental Agent has raised his trainer’s hopes with an encouraging return as he outran big odds once more at Newbury.
“I think he’s in great form this time – I’m really pleased with him,” she said. “He looks fantastic, and he’s very happy in himself – so I just hope we get there and have the chance to give it a shot.
“He’s had problems. We thought we’d sorted them all out, but I knew he’d need the run in the Lockinge, so I was really pleased with the way he ran – considering he’d need it.”
Hever the five-year-old fares in defence of his title, he has already etched unforgettable memories for all at his yard on the Downs.
“It all went by in a blur,” said Johnson Houghton. “Everyone was really overjoyed – it was just so nice for the whole family being there.
“My mum bred him, and that was the most exciting thing really. It was fantastic, so many different reasons for it to just feel brilliant.”