Platinum Jubilee Stakes (Group 1)

A FEATURE of the first few days of the royal meeting was the reluctance of jockeys to race near the stands rail, despite clerk of the course Chris Stickells advising that the turf there was quicker than in the centre.

The final day saw the jockeys belatedly embracing the rail, and the high numbers on the straight track had a much better time of it as a result.

Charlie Appleby’s Naval Crown made the most of a high draw to win the Group 1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes at odds of 33/1 under a bold and inspired ride by James Doyle.

Doyle bounced his mount out of stall 20 and had the nerve to edge left towards the rail, rather than tracking 5/2 favourite Home Affairs and James McDonald who led early and raced to his draw in 17.

That decision was justified as Home Affairs proceeded to over-race and faded tamely out of contention in the latter stages.

Big question

At the quarter-mile marker, Doyle eased Naval Crown closer to the rail, and asked the big question of his mount, who responded willingly.

Meanwhile, on the opposite site of the course, stablemate Creative Force (Will Buick) was producing a strong run nearest the far rail to win the race on his side of the track. The horses were hard to separate until they hit the line, which saw Naval Crown just a neck to the good, leading home another one-two at the top level for the dominant Newmarket handler, who must have had a flashback to the 2000 Guineas watching his stars dominate despite divergent paths. The pair had, coincidentally, also filled the top two spots in the 2021 Jersey Stakes, albeit in the reverse order.

The Wes Ward-trained Campanelle (Irad Ortiz) dead-heated for third with Anthony and Sam Freedman’s representative Artorius (Jamie Spencer), beaten just three-quarters of a length by the winner in a finish which delighted the Ascot crowd, with no more than half a length between individual finishers down to 11th place.