AFP/Ascot, United Kingdom
Michael Stoute became the most successful trainer in Royal Ascot history as Poet’s Word pulled off a shock in the feature Prince of Wales’s Stakes yesterday.
The 72-year-old Barbados-born trainer moved to 76 career wins at probably the most famous racing carnival in the world having jointly held it with his former great rival and friend the late Henry Cecil.
Stoute – most famous for training the great Shergar who later was kidnapped from his stud in Ireland – had played down the prospect of breaking his and Cecil’s record.
Stoute, who has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, said the thought of the record hadn’t been playing on his mind.
“I came here last year needing one winner and none of my runners won, so I haven’t been thinking about it,” said Stoute.
Stoute as has been his wont said that Cecil’s record was more impressive. “Sure I have had more cracks at it than he did in terms of five day weeks,” he said.
“These five day meetings haven’t been around so long and there we are.
“To be honest I spent more time looking to get off the mark at Royal Ascot and have my first winner!”
Stoute, who has accrued five Epsom Derbies amongst many other major wins, used an analogy of his beloved cricket when he reflected on his favourite moments at the meeting.
“My first win was in the Jersey Stakes which is a favourite of mine and particular satisfaction for me is Shareef Dancer.
“He was a very expensive yearling and the first horse Sheikh Maktoum al-Maktoum sent me.
“He won the King Edward VII Stakes here having had a blip in his first run and then beat Caerleon and (Epsom Derby winner) Teenoso in the Irish Derby.
“Of course there was my win for Queen Elizabeth II in the Ascot Gold Cup with Estimate but that has been well documented so I thought I would change the bowling a bit,” he added chuckling. Stoute, who accepted the trophy from Prince Charles and his wife Camilla and engaged in a long chat with the heir to the throne, said he would not be retiring anytime soon.
“I love the game, I have a great staff and supportive owners so I hope to keep going for a while,” he said.
Poet’s Word was given a sublime ride by James Doyle tracking Frankie Dettori on the odds-on favourite Cracksman throughout the race.
Dettori hit the front halfway down the finishing straight but Doyle came upsides him and then made light of the seven lengths that Cracksman had beaten Poet’s Word by last October in the Champion Stakes easing away to victory.
Stoute said it was due reward for his horse after some near misses in elevated company.
“He is a very honourable horse but has just met some good ones before I am glad he did this today and got one,” said Stoute.
“We came here with hope which is often a good thing to come with.”
As for his winner’s future plans Stoute said they would have a sit down and think about it.
“We’ll stop and think, it could be the Eclipse or could be King George.
“Anyone would love training him as he is sound and honest.”
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