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Reach For The Moon and Saga close to famous victories for the Queen

The Queen may have missed the festivities on a sweltering Royal Ascot week, but she would doubtless be filled with pride at the way her horses ran on Gold Cup day.

It was a case of so near but yet so far as Saga and Reach For The Moon both finished second in their respective races.

Reach For The Moon was beaten at odds of 2-5 by the gusty Claymore, who simply outstayed his five rivals with a dominating front-running performance in the Hampton Court, while Saga was beaten a head by Thesis in the Britannia Handicap.

There will be other days for Reach For The Moon, a seriously classy son of Sea The Stars, although possibly over a shorter trip in future.

The Queen with Frankie Dettori and Reach For The Moon at last year's Royal Ascot
The Queen with Frankie Dettori and Reach For The Moon at last year’s Royal Ascot (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Following his defeat earlier in the afternoon with Stradivarius, Frankie Dettori did his best to raise the roof in the famous purple and gold silks, yet the throaty roar from the 63,109 in attendance was silenced by the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained Claymore, who kept finding more.

It gave the Newmarket-based Australian handler her second winner in two days following that of Saffron Beach in the Duke of Cambridge, to go along with a runner-up placing with Intellogent in the Hunt Cup.

Even Tactical, Her Majesty’s final runner of the afternoon in the ultra-competitive Buckingham Palace Stakes, finished a highly creditable sixth to Inver Park, picking up an incidental £1,510 for his efforts.

Seeking a 25th winner at the Royal meeting in her Platinum Jubilee year, the Queen watched the action unfold at home, mobility issues keeping the 96-year-old from arguably the one celebration she would most like to have attended.

John Warren, the Queen’s bloodstock adviser, said Her Majesty was enjoying the action on television.

“The horses have run really well,” said Warren. “I was delighted that they could give everyone a good shout. I’m disappointed for Her Majesty, like everyone else, that they haven’t quite pulled it off.

“But you can’t be disappointed when the horses run that well and Her Majesty is so understanding. She gets it. She understands it so well.

“It is her passion, and the Queen would have absorbed everything that was there to be seen. She is so engaged in it that it is nice to know that she is probably seeing more than we do!”

At the start of the season, the two things Dettori said he was most looking forward to this summer was riding Stradivarius in the Gold Cup and riding a winner for the Queen at this meeting.

Neither came off. That is racing. That is life. Sometimes things go wrong.

If anyone understands the ups and downs of both, it is the Queen. There is always another day.

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