Royal Ascot 2021 Rated: Champions Series performances ranked
23 Jun 2021
We've rated all eight QIPCO British Champions Series winners out of 10 - what was your favourite Royal Ascot performance?
Palace Pier – Queen Anne Stakes (7/10)
It was very much a case of a job well done in the opener of Royal Ascot 2021. Palace Pier came into the race an overwhelming favourite and anything short of a comprehensive win would have been labelled a failure.
However, John Gosden’s star miler was more than up to the task. Sweeping aside his rivals with ease under Frankie Dettori. The 1 ½ length margin very much not telling the whole story.
Palace Pier never looked like being beaten in truth and comfortably held second place Lope Y Fernandez.
Oxted – King’s Stand Stakes (8/10)
What a moment for Roger Teal and his team. Lining up against a King’s Stand Stakes field that included star attraction Battaash. In a fast and furious race, it was Oxted’s extra staying power which proved invaluable. Oxted and his rising star pilot Cieren Fallon cruised into contention, and in a matter of moments had put the race to bed.
Cue wild celebrations from jockey and trainer as they added to their Darley July Cup Group 1 from 2020.
Poetic Flare – St James’s Palace Stakes (9/10)
The QIPCO 2000 Guineas winner proved himself to be a three-year-old of the very highest order on Tuesday at Royal Ascot.
A race that on paper looked wide-open with the likes of Battleground, Chindit, Thunder Moon and Lucky Vega, it proved anything but.
With two furlongs to go, his jockey Kevin Manning decided to press the button having cruised to the front. The response was immediate and in a few strides he had opened up by two lengths.
That was the end of the race as the gap increased, the rest of the field playing for the minor honours. Poetic Flare eventually winning by 4 ½ lengths.
Love – Prince of Wales’s Stakes (8/10)
Wednesday’s feature race field was downgraded with Lord North’s withdrawal on Wednesday morning.
That left Aidan O’Brien’s all-conquering mare from 2020 as hot favourite – despite her having her first outing this season.
She would need all her class and battling qualities to come out on top. Having took the lead at the turn, it looked like Breeder’s Cup winner Audarya loomed up for what looked like a substantial challenge. However, for every question asked Love pulled out an extra effort and she held all rivals at bay to add a sixth Group 1 to her name.
Subjectivist – Gold Cup (10/10)
Most of the ‘pre-match’ build up to the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot 2021 had focused on Stradivarius. The unflappable stayer seeking a record-equalling fourth Gold Cup. Whilst that record wasn’t to be, and the mighty chestnut lost nothing in defeat – the stayers category has a new kid on the block.
Mark Johnston had been bullish on Subjectivist going into the race, he even said “…Subjectivist might be the biggest threat to Stradivarius in the last couple of years.” He was right.
A lot can be said of the smart jockeyship of weighing room veteran Franny Norton, stealing a march on some of his main rivals with tactical positioning. But the same can be said for Subjectivist’s dominance.
Turning for home and taking up the lead, he never looked for passing. His rivals ran in to traffic problems while he leisurely galloped all the way to the line.
A word class performance from a stayer who is sure to be bang there across the staying division this summer.
Campanelle – Commonwealth Cup (7/10)
Wesley Ward has dared to go where many other American trainers haven’t over the last decade by consistently sending a battalion of horses across ‘the pond’ to raid arguably the world’s greatest horseracing festival. Since 2013, Ward has only failed to have a Royal winner in one year (2019) but it had looked as though 2021 would be added to that list, until his last runner.
Campanelle had been very impressive in 2020 when winning the Queen Mary Stakes, but the market was naturally cautious on her Commonwealth Cup chances with consistent rain falling all day at Ascot.
Under a positive ride though from Frankie Dettori, she kept fending off all challengers. Oisin Murphy and Dragon Symbol did get the better of her by a head at the line, but a steward’s enquiry and head-on footage implied Dragon Symbol had taken Campanelle off of her true running line. Enough to have changed the outcome at the line? You decide.
Alcohol Free – Coronation Stakes (9/10)
Oisin Murphy wasn’t kept down for long after losing the Commonwealth Cup in the steward’s room, and the bounce back was emphatic.
There was a sense that connections were disappointed slightly after Alcohol Free’s 5th in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas. Murphy specifically spoke very highly of her and they knew she had big races in her. They were right.
Alcohol Free was always travelling the best in the Coronation Stakes and made that count in the final three furlongs. Whilst the winning margin of a length-and-a quarter wouldn’t seem to merit a 9/10, the class of opposition she beat certainly did. Mother Earth (QIPCO 1000 Guineas), Novemba (German 1000 Guineas), Pretty Gorgeous (bet365 Fillies’ Mile), Empress Josephine (Irish 1000 Guineas) and Shale (Moyglare Stud) were all Group 1 winners in behind her.
It’s hard to see her facing many stiffer tests than that in the Fillies’ and Mares category this season.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Dream of Dreams summed up the phrase this year by securing the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the third time of asking. In the previous two years he had been beaten into second, both times the winning margin was a head. But the third time is always the charm and the Sir Michael Stoute-trained gelding got his just reward this time.
In reality, the result was quite clear cut and a long way clear of his fine margin defeats previously. Glen Shiel, winner of the QIPCO British Champions Sprint over course and distance in October gave a bold showing under Hollie Doyle, but Ryan Moore always looked to be getting the better of that pairing, and so it proved to be the case.
A gutsy performance, amplified by the horses ability to consistently perform to such a high level in this race. On another day, he could have been a triple Diamond Jubilee winner by now at Royal Ascot.