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Choir Boy heralded 63 years of regal success.

THE Queen gained the first of her 23 victories at Royal Ascot only 15 days after her Coronation, when Choir Boy landed the Royal Hunt Cup in 1953. That son of Hyperion made steady progress under Doug Smith to lead inside the final furlong and score by two lengths. He was trained by Cecil Boyd-Rochfort.

Three of the Queen's victories at the meeting have been in the Hardwicke Stakes, the previous two coming via Aureole (1954) and Hopeful Venture (1968).

Aureole was the best of the 22 individual horses who have provided her Royal Ascot wins. He beat Janitor only a short head in the Hardwicke, but he was giving that high-class French rival 7lb.

The Queen's only dual winner at the meeting has been Estimate, who ran away with the Queen's Vase in her Diamond Jubilee year, 2012, and scored a supremely popular triumph in the Gold Cup the following year. But in ratings terms she was a stone inferior to Aureole.

The Hardwicke now joins the Royal Hunt Cup and Ribblesdale Stakes as the Royal Ascot races the owner has won most often.

Estimate's Gold Cup remains the Queen's only Group 1 victory at the meeting. She won the St James's Palace Stakes with Above Suspicion (1959) and the Coronation Stakes with Aiming High (1961), but neither race had Group 1 status until 1988.

The Queen's Royal Ascot doubles in 1954 and 1957 helped her become champion owner in both years.

John Randall

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Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 19, 2016
Words:245
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