Shepherd breaks Royal Ascot duck, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Shepherd breaks Royal Ascot duck

LONDON - Callum Shepherd put behind him the upset of being taken off eventual Epsom Derby runner-up Ambiente Friendly by winning the Hardwicke Stakes with Isle of Jura on the final day of Royal Ascot on June 22.

The 26-year-old English jockey showed how much it meant to him standing up in the saddle as he passed the line waving his whip and yelling at the stands.

The Bahrain-owned Isle of Jura, a four-year-old gelding by New Approach, was his first-ever winner at the meeting on his 66th attempt.

Unlike Shepherd, Royal Ascot winners have become a habit for his rivals James Doyle, Oisin Murphy and Ryan Moore.

All three of them have enjoyed successful weeks and they had a winner apiece on the fifth and final day – Moore’s was his sixth as it was for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

However, nothing rivalled the emotion after Isle of Jura put more stellar names – including last year’s St Leger winner Continuous and King Charles III’s Desert Hero – to the sword in the Group 2 event over 2,400m.

He had carried all before him in Bahrain, winning four of his five races, but this victory put him up amongst the biggest names in European racing.

Shepherd had been controversially taken off Ambiente Friendly by the horse’s owners prior to the Derby earlier this month and replaced by journeyman Rab Havlin.

“All the emotions have come to the surface,” said a tearful Shepherd. “I cannot compose myself... Six weeks ago, I thought I’d found my diamond (Ambiente Friendly) and that wasn’t to be, but Isle Of Jura has blossomed into one.”

Trainer George Scott also broke his Royal Ascot duck, finally able to enter the hallowed winner’s enclosure after 41 prior losers.

Murphy took the only Group One contest of the day, the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes, guiding home the Charlie Hills-trained Khaadem, an eight-year-old gelding by Dark Angel, for back-to-back successes in the 1,200m race.

He was denied a double astride three-year-old Kingman colt Kikkuli in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes (1,400m) by Doyle, a thrilling finish resulted in the Richard Hannon-trained three-year-old Phoenix Of Spain colt Haatem prevailing by a short head.

Moore and O’Brien’s wonderful week saw them collect a sixth prize with two-year-old Frankel filly Bedtime Story, who blitzed 14 rivals to win the Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) by 9½ lengths. AFP