Royal Ascot 2018: Michael Stoute sets record as Poet's Word beats Cracksman

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Sir Michael Stoute
Sir Michael Stoute's Royal Ascot win with Poet's Word was his first of the 2018 meeting

Sir Michael Stoute became the all-time leading Royal Ascot trainer as Poet's Word shocked strong favourite Cracksman in the Prince of Wales' Stakes.

The 11-2 chance, ridden by James Doyle, was a clear victor from last year's Champion Stakes winner (2-5).

It gave Stoute a record 76th Royal Ascot triumph, beating the late Sir Henry Cecil's 75.

"It's a relief because we were stuck on it last year," said the 72-year-old Newmarket trainer.

Stoute did not have to wait long for his 77th winner when Expert Eye won the Jersey Stakes to give the trainer a double on the day and his sixth win in the race.

The 8-1 chance under James McDonald powered through the final two furlongs to chase down leader Jamie Spencer aboard Society Power.

Stoute, who drew a blank at the five-day meeting in 2017, said: "Henry did most of his training when it was a four-day meeting, so I've had an advantage.

"No-one respected him greater than I did as a trainer."

Frankie Dettori on Cracksman, a son of the legendary Frankel, was beaten by two-and-a-quarter lengths as he attempted to add to his opening-day treble.

"He's not the same animal I've been riding in the spring. He was very lethargic," said Dettori.

Poet's Word won for Stoute 41 years after the trainer's first Royal Ascot victory.

Poet's Word, James Doyle
Poet's Word under James Doyle gave Stoute his landmark victory

'Special moments for Stoute' - analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

Michael Stoute is a legend of modern-day Royal Ascots and of flat racing as a whole. This record, and the subsequent double, felt like special moments.

Not least because as others, younger, have thrived some have dared to suggest putting the trainer of Shergar, the Queen's horse Estimate and many, many more in the drawer marked has-beens.

OK, numbers are down and things are not perhaps what they used to be. But the innings being played by this most enthusiastic of amateur cricketers still has a few runs in it.

Cracksman, who was never really going, may be given some kind of 'head-gear' in future to aid concentration.

Kew Gardens wins at Royal Ascot
Kew Gardens won by four-and-a-half lengths

Kew Gardens triumphs in O'Brien 1-2-3

Kew Gardens (10-3) won the Queen's Vase under Ryan Moore in a 1-2-3 for Aidan O'Brien as the leading Irish trainer got on the board for the 2018 meeting.

O'Brien may aim Kew Gardens, who beat stablemates Southern France and Nelson, at the St Leger at Doncaster in September.

Trainer Marco Botti claimed his first Royal Ascot winner thanks to Aljazzi, ridden by William Buick.

Aljazzi was a 40-1 chance when finishing second in this race last year, but triumphed at odds of 9-2 this time.

There was a big-priced winner in the opening race for the second day running, with 25-1 chance Signora Cabello - trained by John Quinn - prevailing by a nose in a three-way photo finish.

Jockey Oisin Murphy punched the air as he got the verdict ahead of Gossamer Wings and Shades Of Blue, but favourite Chelsea Cloisters was never a threat for Dettori having drifted in the betting beforehand.

Settle for Bay, trained by David Marnane, won the Royal Hunt Cup under Billy Lee with the 16-1 chance pulling clear in the final furlong of a 32-strong field.

Looking ahead to day three

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

With his record of success and a narrowly defeated second place, Order Of St George is obviously a key player in the Gold Cup (16:20 BST), and comes to Ascot in good order after two wins at home in Ireland, though this is harder.

Opponents like Stradivarius and Desert Skyline, first and second in the Yorkshire Cup, catch the eye in particular, especially the latter, who will relish the three-quarter mile step up in distance.

Wild Illusion should advertise the quality of the Oaks form in the Ribblesdale Stakes (15:40), while a decent run at rewarding odds can be expected from Kinks (16:30) for whom not a lot went right when it mattered the last time he raced.

Order Of St George was second to Big Orange
Order Of St George was just beaten last year by Big Orange, who misses out this time through injury

Thursday's schedule

14:30: Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) 5f

15:05: Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3) 1m 2f

15:40: Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) 1m 4f

16:20: Gold Cup (Group 1) 2m 4f

17:00: Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap) 1m

17:35: King George V Stakes (Handicap) 1m 4f