KEVIN Stott claimed his first Royal Ascot winner, and his inaugural Group 1 success, as Hello Youmzain got the best of a thrilling finish to the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Riding for Kevin Ryan, Stott had his mount smartly away in the six-furlong heat, opting to stick down the middle of the track as the 10-strong field split into three groups in the early stages.
Sands Of Mali was prominent as he ploughed a lone furrow on the far side, with Hello Youmzain heading the group in the middle before tacking over to the stands rail after around three furlongs.
The race duly unfolded on that side, with Frankie Dettori, seeking a fourth win on the day, launching his challenge on 2/1 favourite Sceptical and briefly taking the lead with around a furlong to run.
However, Hello Youmzain dug deep and edged back in front, repelling the challenge of the fast-finishing Dream Of Dreams in the process.
Just a head separated the pair at the line, with a further neck back to Sceptical, with the trio pulling a length and a quarter clear of the rest.
Stott, 25, who as a youngster harboured dreams of being a professional footballer, said: “It’s amazing, I can’t quite put it into words.
“Having been jocked off the horse last year for a higher-profile jockey, to then get the ride back and win a Group 1 and for him to go and do that for me is unbelievable. I can’t describe how thankful I am to get back on him. I’m blessed.
“It was a real thrill, he dug very deep when I needed him so fair play to the horse. All credit to him more than me.
“Kevin gave me a lot of confidence and I’ve ridden him before. He told me to ride him like the best horse in the race. He was going into this without a run and he’s a very big horse so it’s a great training performance.
“I’m pretty sure my parents will be delighted, it’s a dream come true and I’m very happy. I’m glad Tottenham turned me down (for being too small) now!”
Adam Ryan, assistant to his father, said: “He’s done it the hard way. He jumped well and Kevin did the right thing, letting him find his stride where he was happy.
“When it came to the business end he battled on hard. He’s a very game and very tough horse. Especially for his first run of the season, he was very impressive.
“He did well over the winter. He strengthened up and matured again. We had him as well as we could have done at home. His work had been very good. We always thought this year he’d be more of the finished article. He looked fantastic today and credit to the team.
“To win on the biggest stage of all is fantastic. Kevin Stott did his apprenticeship with us. He gave the horse a brilliant ride and I’m delighted he’s had his first Group 1 winner for us.
“We’ll get today out of the way and see how he comes back, but he’s a Group 1 sprinter so he’ll be tackling all those races. The July Cup is an obvious choice for his next run. He’s hot a lot of natural speed as well, so I don’t think we’ll rule out dropping him down to five. He’ll probably get an entry in the Nunthorpe at some point.”