Thursday , July 25 2024

Royal Ascot: Illinois leads home Aidan O’Brien one-two in Queen’s Vase as Ryan Moore closes on landmark | Racing News

Aidan O’Brien completed a one-two in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot as Illinois fended off stablemate Highbury in a battling finish.

The 7/4 favourite was also providing Ryan Moore with his 80th Royal Ascot winner and he is now just one behind Frankie Dettori, who holds the record for current jockeys (81) and is second on the all-time list behind Lester Piggott’s 116 landmark.

Illinois, second to subsequent Derby runner-up Ambiente Friendly in the Lingfield Derby Trial, disputed the lead with Mr Hampstead for much of the 1m 6f Group Two contest before going for home early in the straight.

Highbury, ridden by Wayne Lordan, mounted a strong late challenge but Illinois held on to score by a length and a quarter despite drifting left in the closing stages.

Birdman completed a clean sweep for Ireland as he claimed third place, three-quarters of a length further back, ahead of Meydaan.

O’Brien, also responsible for fifth-placed The Equator – said: “We felt any three of them could win, but Ryan made the decision on this one. When Diego (Velazquez) got rerouted to the King Edward VII Stakes, this horse got rerouted to here.

“Ryan felt he would stay. He felt when he got beat at Leopardstown it was the ground and he felt he was very green when he went to Lingfield.

Illinois wins the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot under Ryan Moore
Illinois crosses the line at Ascot under Moore

“Obviously, all those types of horses had a much easier time than they would normally have because they would be steered into the Derby, but when City (Of Troy) was there, it gave all these horses a chance to develop slowly.

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“He’s obviously a Leger-type horse and is going to improve from three to four.”

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