PAT HEALY: Our regular blogger PAT HEALY picks out his personal highlights from the first four days of Royal Ascot 2022.
Where to start with Royal Ascot. It’s one of the highlights of my year. I love Royal Ascot, it’s high-quality racing, a great atmosphere, and this year great weather. There is nothing like it anywhere, it’s uniquely British, and as a media person you are very well looked after. We had no Irish winners on Tuesday, so it was great to get a couple of Irish winners on Wednesday.
Best of the best
On the opening day of Royal Ascot, we saw the best miler in the world in Baaeed and the best sprinter in Nature Strip, which really set us off on the right foot. It’s hard to put into words how good Nature Strip’s performance was, and while many were expecting fireworks from Baaeed he just seems to do enough and take it all in his stride. Hollie Doyle then had another winner, and the punters just seem to love her because she delivers on the big stage.
State Of Rest
I was thrilled for Shane Crosse winning his fourth Group One on State Of Rest in the Prince Of Wales. Shane himself is a product of the pony racing game back home, which at the moment is in a spot of bother because the association can’t get insurance, so I think it’s in the balance whether the pony race season will even go head in the summer, but that’s a story for another day. He kept things simple in the race though, jumped out and just made all of the running. It was a great story with State Of Rest being bred by Dermot Cantillon and his wife Meta who are over here too. He has been bought as a stallion and will carry out his stud duties in County Cork and Australia so it will be an exciting time ahead for all involved with him when he retires.
Kyprios winning the Gold Cup on Thursday was fantastic, and again, great for Irish racing. An eighth Gold Cup for Aidan O’Brien, and to do it with a four-year-old on only its eighth start is some achievement. After two days there had been 14 races won by 14 different trainers, and everyone was getting a slice of the pie, which makes for a fantastic meeting. Although Jane Chapple-Hyam coming through with a double was great to see and her horses look to be in fine order.
It was also great to see Jessica Harrington’s filly Magical Lagoon get up in the Ribblesdale. Jessie is some woman, and everybody knows she’s a force to be reckoned with.