ACCIDENTAL Agent was a shock winner of the Queen Anne Stakes, the first race of Royal Ascot 2018.
Trained by Eve Johnson Houghton, the four-year-old was a largely unconsidered 33/1 shot for the Group 1 contest over the straight mile, having finished sixth behind the reopposing Rhododendron in last month’s Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
With Deauville setting the fractions in front, Charles Bishop took his time aboard Accidental Agent, settling him at the very rear of the field before making his move inside the final three furlongs.
As Rhododendron weakened out of contention, Lockinge runner-up Lightning Spear looked to have every chance of going one better as the post loomed, but he was caught late on by both 20/1 shot Lord Glitters and Accidental Agent.
Like Rhododendron, the well-backed 11/4 favourite Benbatl was disappointing.
An emotional Johnson Houghton – bagging her first ever Group 1 success – admitted she had been hoping for a place at best. She said: "I thought I was tilting at windmills and I dreamt about being third.
"I thought ‘my god, I’m going to be placed’ - there was an awful lot of screaming going on. It’s just ridiculous. I have all my cousins and brothers and my mum here - I don’t think she’s ever going to get over it."
The four-year-old, who was bred by Johnson Houghton's mother Gaie. He was a first Royal Ascot winner and a first Group 1 winner for jockey Charlie Bishop.
Johnson Houghton, whose father Fulke trained 10 Royal Ascot winners between 1965 and 1988, continued: "Unbelievable! I still can't believe it. I haven't slept for two nights. I dreamt that he would be third. My mum bred Accidental Agent - we have got the mare in the field - but nobody wanted to buy him and we bought him back for eight grand.
"The poor people sitting in front of me and my Mum - I apologise to them - they will definitely be deaf because there was an awful lot of screaming going on. It is just ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.
"You might need to man the lifeboats as there are a lot of tears! Group 1 winner... I've never trained a Royal Ascot winner, let alone a Group 1 winner at Royal Ascot!
Jockey Charlie Bishop, who was born and raised in Herefordshire near the town of Ledbury, said: "I'm glad I'm getting the opportunities and am good enough to deliver - to get a Group 1 winner, let alone a Royal Ascot winner, is incredible.
"I've been riding out at Eve's for quite a few years, and when I first went there she said she couldn't promise me rides, but thought I should stick my head down and see what happens. From there she got some better horses and things took off. Hopefully, there are a lot more to come. I never dreamt I could come this far.
"Along the way I've had a bit of belief in myself, but you have to just keep grafting and hoping for the best. It was great to ride my first winner, then to lose my claim, and while it went a bit quiet for a while I kept working away and hoping for the best. Luckily things have taken off again."
The David Simcock-trained Lightning Spear (10/1) ran another fine race in defeat in Group 1 company, finishing a neck behind Lord Glitters in third under Oisin Murphy.
Newmarket handler Simcock commented: "Lightning Spear has run really well again, but he does seem to sometimes flatten up the hill here as he hasn't sustained his run.
"He hit the front, but found it a long way home. I'm very proud of him and he's run very well.