ROYAL ASCOT HIGHLIGHTS 2013

Article by Nancy Sexton:

It is regarded as the greatest week of Flat racing anywhere in the world. A meeting that comprises 30 races, among them 21 stakes events including seven Group 1s, Royal Ascot is the summer focal point of the Flat season where competing, let alone victory, is an ambition that can only be attained by a minority.

Yet between them DANSILI and OASIS DREAM accounted for five winners - a sixth of the meeting - as well a further seven horses who ran placed. Translated into prize-money, Dansili's runners earned a total of £384,920 while those by Oasis Dream bankrolled £140,298.

For the second year in succession, Royal Ascot became the stage on which DANSILI's reputation as a European leading stallion was confirmed in tremendous style. He had been a dominant influence throughout the 2012 meeting, recording a major Group double through Coronation Stakes heroine Fallen For You and King Edward VII Stakes winner Thomas Chippendale as well as coming close to further Group success through Bated Breath, who defeated all bar Little Bridge in the 22-runner King's Stand Stakes. It was a week where Dansili's stud record was enhanced by a Group 1-winning miler, a Group 2 winner over 1m4f and a Group 1-placed sprinter; in terms of versatility, you can't ask for much more.

But remarkably the standard was raised again this year when DANSILI provided three winners in Riposte and Remote, successful in the Ribblesdale and Tercentenary Stakes, and Thomas Chippendale, whose ill-fated victory over Dandino in the Hardwicke Stakes led home a DANSILI one-two. No stallion sired more winners during the week while none could match DANSILI's record of having seven representatives fill the frame; in addition to Hardwicke runner-up Dandino, he was also responsible for The Fugue and Dank, who were placed in the Prince Of Wales's and Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, as well as the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap second Stencive. His daughter Spree also bred the Buckingham Palace Stakes winner Lightning Cloud. However, this run of success is merely maintaining a trend which began when he sired his first Royal Ascot winner, King Edward VII Stakes scorer Father Time, back in 2009. DANSILI has been represented by a Group performer at each of the four Royal Ascot meetings since then, including Harbinger, who became his first winner of the Hardwicke Stakes in 2010, and 2011 St James's Palace Stakes runner-up Zoffany. Add his four individual winners of the past two years and his current Royal Ascot tally stands at eight individual Royal Ascot winners of nine races.

As notable as that record is, however, it is matched by OASIS DREAM, who sired two winners during the week to boost his number of Royal Ascot winners to eight.

The Jersey Stakes is generally regarded as one of Europe's most competitive 7f races for three-year-olds - yet OASIS DREAM has sired three of the past six winners, namely subsequent Group 1 winner Aqlaam (2008), Rainfall (2010) and this year's hero Gale Force Ten.

The cosy victory of Gale Force Ten, who ran second in last year's Norfolk Stakes and returned this year to be Classic-placed, topped a week for his sire which also included the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap success of Opinion and the placed efforts of two-year-olds Coach House and Joyeuse in the Norfolk and Albany Stakes. With Dream Tune running a brave second in the Buckingham Palace Stakes, OASIS DREAM ended the week with five runners in the frame, a total which places him behind only Dansili and Dubawi.

It was also a week which saw him feature as the damsire of Windsor Castle Stakes winner Extortionist, by Dandy Man out of Dream Date.

As with DANSILI, Royal Ascot has played a prominent role in shaping OASIS DREAM's stud career, in his case since 2007 when his first-crop daughter Starlit Sands ran second in the Queen Mary Stakes. In 2010, Rainfall and Approve provided a momentous double for the stallion when victorious in the Jersey and Norfolk Stakes but that was arguably surpassed the following year when Prohibit and Power won the King's Stand and Coventry Stakes within hours of each other on the opening day.  

With such records behind them and a number of well-connected youngsters in the pipeline for both stallions, Royal Ascot 2014 is already keenly anticipated.

Date: 28 June 2013