Mustajeeb gives Weld 17th Royal Ascot success

"This place has always been very lucky for me," considered Dermot Weld after Mustajeeb’s success in the Jersey Stakes.

Mustajeeb  gives  Weld 17th Royal Ascot success

With 16 Royal Ascot victories now in safe-keeping for the Irish handler, fortune surely tells just a small part of the story.

Weld seldom arrives in Berkshire without a serious horse in a serious race. Mustajeeb was a case in point following his third-placed finish in the Irish 2000 Guineas, form which was emboldened by Kingman’s brilliance in the St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday.

The Nayef colt shared 9-2 favouritism in the Jersey alongside fellow Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned runner Muwaary, trained by John Gosden. Punters’ judgment was on the money as the two horses pulled well clear inside the final furlong and jousted gamely towards the line. But Mustajeeb always looked the more purposeful, and refused to yield under Pat Smullen, with one length a fair yardstick with which to measure his dominance.

Fellow Irish challenger Giovanni Boldini finished third, but another two and a quarter lengths adrift.

Weld said: “Kingman is an outstanding miler and we were beaten fair and square in the Irish Guineas.

“This colt really appreciated the better ground, I thought he’d win and he did it well.

“He’s a very genuine, tough, nice colt. He’s a home-bred horse and it’s lovely for Sheikh Hamdan to have the one-two. He’s a good Group winner over a mile and he’ll probably go back to a mile in the future.

“We might meet (Kingman) again later in the year, I’ll speak with Sheikh Hamdan, but I doubt it will be in the Sussex Stakes.”

It was a reversal of fortunes for the trainers of the front two from Epsom earlier in the month, with Gosden’s Taghrooda fending off the Weld-trained Tarfasha in the Investec Oaks.

Gosden said: ”We’ll let Dermot have this one, I’m glad it was the other way round in the Oaks.“

A good day for Smullen got considerably better when Anthem Alexander claimed the Queen Mary Stakes with some authority.

The young filly was heavily backed into 9-4 favouritism to further showcase the gifts of trainer Eddie Lynam, who won back-to-back renewals of the King’s Stand Stakes with Sole Power on the opening day.

Although Tiggy Wiggy closed to within a neck at the line, Anthem Alexander did not disappoint, with the Group Two essentially won once she zipped ahead of Newsletter, who finished third, with a furlong and a half left to run.

Lynam said: “We don’t normally like bringing two-year-olds to Royal Ascot, but this one is a bit special.

“She’s a very good filly and I think she will improve a lot from that.

“We’ll have to sit down with the owner, but she could go for the Cherry Hinton (Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket).”

Sheikh Hamdan bookended the card as Muteela held off the late thrust of Queen Catrine to keep her unbeaten record intact in a thrilling renewal of the Sandringham Handicap.

The Mark Johnston-trained Muteela was the 9-2 favourite following a hat-trick of victories at Lingfield, Beverley and Newmarket and forced the pace from the outset in the hands of Paul Hanagan.

The challengers were queuing up to have a pop at the market leader entering the final furlong, but she stuck her head down determinedly to fend off all-comers on the run to the line. There was a late worry for her supporters as 14-1 shot Queen Catrine flashed home down the middle of the track and there was little between them as they hit the line, with the judge calling Muteela the winner by a short head.

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