A homebred daughter of Sea The Stars and outstanding racemare Treve, Doha (10/1) nosed ahead near the line to deny the 13/2 favourite Hopeful in a thrilling finish. There was a head between the first two, and another four and a quarter lengths back to third-placed Victoria Falls. Rowayeh finished fourth.

Doha’s jockey Hector Crouch was partnering his second Royal Ascot winner, the first having come three years ago on the Beckett-trained Surefire in the King George V Handicap.

Crouch said: “The race couldn’t have gone any smoother for me. I wanted to follow Mickael [Barzalona on Hopeful] into it; I thought he had a fantastic chance and I thought he was the one to aim at. I got a lovely clean run at them on the outside and she stayed the trip well.

“Doha has improvement to come; it is only her third time trying a mile and it’s her first time on Good to Firm ground. They pulled a long way clear of the third and she should be one to keep onside. She’s opened up plenty of options with her performance today, and we’re due an exciting season.

“This is the biggest week in British racing. And Sheikh Joaan, to ride a winner for him, he has been a massive supporter of the sport in years gone by and it’s great that he’s having a resurgence in England. It is a massive honour and privilege to ride for these people, and to ride them a winner on the biggest stage is what we want to be doing.



“Ralph has been fantastic to me for the last four seasons now. I'm very lucky to be in a position to ride such lovely horses, and he is very loyal."

Beckett said: “Royal Ascot is a big deal for Sheikh Joaan and Al Shaqab. It just occurred to me that dropping back to a mile in a race like this, where they go a good gallop, might just play to Doha’s strengths.

"Obviously she's bred to get a mile and a half well, and more, so it was a roll of the dice but it was worth doing and it worked out. It's been a bit of a circuitous route because we only dropped her back to a mile [at Windsor] because we thought it was a winnable maiden.”

Hopeful’s jockey Mickael Barzalona said: “She ran a great race. For a while we thought we were going to have it, and then she just got nicked on the line.”