Royal Ascot day one: James Doyle vindicated, Godolphin land Group One double and Lady Aurelia storms home as records tumble

Frank Dalleres
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Royal Ascot 2017 - Racing, Day 1
Doyle enjoyed victory in front of Godolphin boss Sheikh Mohammed (Source: Getty)

Jockey James Doyle savoured a vindicating triumph after he rode Barney Roy to victory over hot favourite Churchill on a record-breaking first day at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

The 5/2 shot won the St James’s Palace Stakes by a length from Lancaster Bomber and Thunder Snow, as Aidan O’Brien’s much-fancied Churchill trailed home in fourth place.

It was a second Group One victory of the day for Sheikh Mohammed, following success with Ribchester in the Queen Anne Stakes, and a riposte to other figures in the Godolphin empire who have questioned Doyle.

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“It has been an up and down season and when I knew I’d got the ride on this fellow I was pretty excited,” he said.

“This is why I joined the team, to ride big winners like this, so to ride one when [Sheikh Mohammed] is here today makes me feel very proud.”

Barney Roy, beaten by Churchill in the 2,000 Guineas last month, was among the winners to finish in a course record time on a scorching day in Berkshire.

Trainer Richard Hannon added: “I was confident he would run his race, not confident he’d win. I just wanted to give him the chance to prove that, as I don’t think he got that chance in the Guineas.”

William Buick steered Richard Fahey-trained 11/10 favourite Ribchester to glory in another record time, more than a length ahead of Mutakayyef and Deauville.

Godolphin finished the day with a third winner after 16/1 chance Sound And Silence led home stablemate Roussel in the Windsor Castle Stakes.

American filly Lady Aurelia tasted Royal Ascot success for a second year in a row as she stormed home in the King’s Stand Stakes under John Velazquez, deputising for the injured Frankie Dettori.

Trainer Wesley Ward said: “She’s a very special filly – a once in a lifetime horse. She’s amazing and she loves it over here. It’s wonderful for American racing.”

Lady Aurelia missed the course record by 0.01 seconds, but Richard Spencer’s Rajasinghe set a new best as the 11/1 shot won the Coventry Stakes by a head from Headway.

Thomas Hobson justified 4/1 favouritism in the Ascot Stakes by winning by six lengths for jockey Ryan Moore and trainer Willie Mullins.

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