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Royal Ascot 2021: A look back at last year’s big winners

ByDave Stopher

Nov 23, 2021

The 2020 renewal of Royal Ascot was like no other. The racecourse is usually packed to the rafters with punters donning their glad rags. However, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, there wasn’t a racegoer in sight and the usual roars of the crowd were replaced by an eerie silence.

Still, away from the concourses, there was plenty to talk about and we’re sure those watching from afar were still bursting with excitement as those they backed from the best horse racing tips prevailed.

So, with Royal Ascot 2021 on the horizon, and excitement starting to build ahead of the five-day meeting due to the fact that 12,000 racegoers a day will be welcomed through the gates of the Berkshire-based course, now seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect back on last year’s meeting and zone in on the big winners.

Top Trainer – John Gosden

Few trainers have had as much success at Royal Ascot in recent years than John Gosden. His dominance at the meeting was clear last year as the four-time Flat Racing Champion Trainer’s six winners landed him the Top Trainer award, beating Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien and Roger Varian, who claimed four winners each, by two. Gosden’s victories came from Frankly Darling (Ribblesdale Stakes), Nazeef (Duke of Cambridge Stakes), Lord North (Prince Of Wales’s Stakes), Stradivarius (Gold Cup), Fanny Logan (Hardwicke Stakes) and Palace Pier (St. James’s Palace Stakes).

Top Jockey – Frankie Dettori

Of course, victory for Gosden is very rare without the involvement of Italian jockey Frankie Dettori, who was in the saddle of Frankly Darling, Stradivarius and Palace Pier. With further victories aboard Campanelle in the Queen Mary and Jessica Harrington-trained Alpine Star in the Coronation Stakes, Dettori bagged the Top Jockey accolade — beating Jim Crowley, who had led him by three heading into the final day, to the award on the basis of more placings. Those victories meant that Dettori had equaled Pat Eddery’s record of 73, a feat he said gave him ‘great satisfaction.’

“I’ve really conquered Royal Ascot completely now,” the Italian said. “It’s a big tick in one of my boxes, so I’m delighted. I sat next to Pat for 15 years, he was one of my heroes. We used to nickname him God and now I’ve equalled him, great satisfaction. God bless him.”

Standout horse – Stradivarius

It goes without saying that Stradivarius stole the headlines at last year’s meeting. The Gosden-trained horse headed to Royal Ascot with its sights firmly set on a third successive victory in the Gold Cup, the meeting’s showpiece race, and he duly delivered. Stradivarius set off as the 4/5 favourite to win the two-mile, four-furlong race and no other horse even got within touching distance of the now seven-year-old, as he and Dettori romped over the line 10 lengths clear of Nayef Road in second.

Stradivarius is now as short as 5/4 to win a fourth Gold Cup on the spin this year, which would see him equal the record of the Aidan O’Brien-trained Yeats, who won on four successive occasions between 2006 and 2009.