Champion jockey Oisin Murphy endures rollercoaster day at Royal Ascot


Oisin Murphy endures rollercoaster day at Royal Ascot as champion jockey wins twice, falls during celebration, loses enquiry to Frankie Dettori and picks up four-day ban

  • Murphy rode Alcohol Free to Coronation Stakes victory at a sodden Ascot
  • Jockey also landed the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes on 7-2 favourite Quickthorn
  • But he was denied victory aboard Dragon Symbol in the Commonwealth Cup











A dramatic fourth afternoon at a sodden Royal Ascot saw champion jockey Oisin Murphy win a Group One prize with Alcohol Free in the Coronation Stakes but lose another in the stewards’ room as his mount Dragon Symbol was demoted after passing the post first in the Commonwealth Cup.

Murphy also landed the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes on 7-2 favourite Quickthorn and will go into the final day of the meeting leading the race to be top jockey with four wins.

But what happened in the Commonwealth Cup will be the lasting memory. That prize was handed to Frankie Dettori-ridden Campanelle and as far as stewards’ decisions go, this one could be filed in the relatively straightforward folder.

Oisin Murphy rode Alcohol Free to Coronation Stakes victory at a sodden Ascot on Friday

Oisin Murphy rode Alcohol Free to Coronation Stakes victory at a sodden Ascot on Friday

Archie Watson-trained Dragon Symbol ran a cracker but as he hit the front he drifted gradually right, bumping Campanelle and carrying her across the track. It was a shift which the stewards reckoned had cost the 11-2 shot more ground than the head she was beaten and they also handed Murphy a four-day careless riding ban. There were five lengths back to third Measure of Magic.

Dettori was always favourite to get the stewards’ decision as the outcome of a Group One race at the royal meeting was decided by racing’s referees for the first time since Royal Gait lost the 1988 Ascot Gold Cup.

Dettori, who was riding his third winner of the meeting and his 76th in all, said: ‘It’s never nice winning a race in the stewards’ room. I feel sorry for Dragon Symbol’s connections but I was taken across (the course) by about eight lengths.

‘I got nudged three times, lost my momentum and got beaten a head.’

Murphy jumps off his horse after winning the Coronation Stakes on Alcohol Free

Murphy jumps off his horse after winning the Coronation Stakes on Alcohol Free

Murphy suffered more pain when he was demoted to second place after a stewards' inquiry

Murphy suffered more pain when he was demoted to second place after a stewards’ inquiry

Campanelle’s win got American trainer Wesley Ward on the scoreboard after a some frustrating results this week.

Ward reckoned he and Campanelle’s owners would have been drinking celebratory champagne much earlier rather than waiting for the stewards’ decision if the incident had occurred in the US.

Campanelle, who was running for the first time since finishing fourth at the Breeders’ Cup in Keeneland November, now has two Royal Ascot races victories, having won the Queen Mary Stakes at last year’s meeting.

She went on to win the Prix Morny at Deauville and looks likely to head to France again with Ward nominating the Prix Maurice De Gheest as a potential target. Ward added: ‘Winning at Ascot, no matter how you get there is special. Both horses ran fantastic, they dug down deep and they were only inches apart. I think it was a validated result.’

Murphy served up his diplomatic version of the Commonwealth Cup events when he said: ‘It doesn’t really matter what I feel, the stewards felt Campanelle deserved the race.’

Campanelle, ridden by Frankie Dettori, was declared the winner of the Commonwealth Cup

Campanelle, ridden by Frankie Dettori, was declared the winner of the Commonwealth Cup

But he had cleared his head sufficiently to deliver Alcohol Free with perfect timing.

The 11-2 shot, who beat Sky Lantern a length and a half, was running for the first time since finishing fifth to yesterday’s third-placed horse Mother Earth.

Alcohol Free gave trainer Andrew Balding his third winner of the meeting after he had earlier won the Albany Stakes with David Probert-ridden Sandrine.

Murphy added: ‘I said to my valet when he put his hand around me, “There’s no place for tears in here’’. There’s far worse things going on in the world. We’re in the entertainment industry,

‘I’m steering these marvellous animals and keep looking forward to the next one.’

Balding added: ‘Credit to Oisin, it’s the measure of the man to have the disappointment he had to deal with five minutes before they go in the stalls, to give her such a good ride.’

The six-furlong July Cup and one-mile Sussex Stakes are among the races Balding will consider for a filly he rates in the top drawer.



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