Charyn ran out a comfortable winner of the opening race on day one of Royal Ascot, the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over a mile.

It was a first success at the top level for the Roger Varian-trained four-year-old, who started the 100/30 favourite and was ridden by Silvestre de Sousa in the colours of Nurlan Bizakov.

Last year’s Britannia Handicap victor Docklands finished second, beaten two and a quarter lengths, with Maljoom a further two-and-three-quarter lengths back in third. 

French runners Big Rock and Facteur Cheval raced on their own on the far side of the track through the early stages, but they folded tamely when the action began in earnest, while Audience, who kept Charyn back in second in last month’s Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, had to settle for fifth.

Varian said: “It doesn't get any better, a Group 1 at Royal Ascot. I am really delighted for his owner, who has invested so much in the game and has supported me for a number of years. For my team I am delighted, as everyone works so hard at home. It is a great day and we'll enjoy it.

"You have to say Charyn has improved as he's got older. He ran some fine races in defeat last year. He was in the biggest races, on the top table and didn't disgrace himself.

Better form

"He seems to have found another level of form this year. His run in the Lockinge last time was an outstanding run, and he's confirmed that today so I'm thrilled.

"Silvestre is convinced he will stay a mile and a quarter, and I kind of agree with him, but he's not doing much wrong over a mile at the moment, so I wouldn't be in a rush to change things.

“This is a tough week, a really difficult week. It is hard to win here; when you’ve got off the mark on the first day, it makes you breathe a bit easier, but it’s not that the pressure’s off, not at all.


All important

“Every runner is important – a lot of the horses are owned by different people – so every runner brings its own level of pressure. It is obviously nice to get off to a winning start, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”

De Sousa said: “What I did there was very little – I just had to wait for the right moment, and Charyn won quite nicely. At halfway, I thought I don't want to get there too soon. He is such a gentleman and you just have to ask him the questions.”

Winning owner Nurlan Bizakov said: “Now Charyn has booked my box in my stallion yard! I have been dreaming about this, but I never thought it would happen. To have a Group 1 winner at Royal Ascot is not easy.

A big day

“It is a big day. You wouldn't be confident in a Group 1 race, but Charyn would be my shortest-priced runner in Group 1 company and he delivered, so it's amazing.

“Silvestre has been champion jockey three times – he is a great jockey. He is building a good relationship with Charyn, and hopefully with Roger as well.

“Roger is my principal trainer here. I am very happy with Roger and his wife Hanako – we are like a family.”

Super run

Harry Eustace said of Docklands: “He ran super. He just keeps turning up for us. He loves this track and dropping in with plenty of runners is what he really needs. He hasn’t had that yet this year. The plan was to always work back from Australia at the end of the year.”

Hayley Turner said: “I am really happy with Docklands. We thought he had a chance. Annoyingly, I never felt like I was going to get to the winner, but I can’t fault him. I’m so pleased, really happy and the connections are all happy – he has definitely got a Group 1 in him.”

Maljoom’s jockey Tom Marquand said: “He has obviously bounced back to that solid Group One form that we knew he had. It looks like we will get him right back to the force of what he was looking like at one point. He’s not had much racing and I think he has just been a little bit rusty – he looks the best he has done for a long time. He is coming back.”