Rising star Guyon guides Byword to Ascot triumph
A FRENCH horse took the feature race at Royal Ascot for the second day running yesterday when Byword, trained by Andre Fabre, continued Khalid Abdulla's fantastic season by leading home a one-two for the owner in the Prince of Wales's Stakes.
Abdulla's modest Juddmonte Farm operation has put racing's more established super-powers of Coolmore and Godolphin in the shade this season, winning the Derby with Workforce and the British and French 1,000 Guineas with Special Duty.
Manifest could ice the cake by giving him a first Gold Cup today.
Byword, a four-year-old still on the up after a three-year-old season interrupted by a virus, was given the perfect ride by Maxim Guyon, the rising star of French racing.
Placed in fourth, one off the rail throughout, Guyon was poised on straightening up, while Twice Over, hemmed in at the wrong time, had to come wide and from behind. Still three lengths down a furlong out, Twice Over reduced the deficit to half a length at the line without ever threatening to overhaul the 5-2 favourite.
"That was very satisfactory, because his sire, Peintre Celebre (his 1997 Arc winner), was a horse I loved. I may drop him back to a mile, but he has to improve and he could go for the Arc, but I doubt he'd stay," Fabre said.
The most likely target is the Juddmonte International at York in August, sponsored by the owner.
Fabre was effusive in his praise -- not something he dishes out lightly -- for Guyon (21), who has come up through the apprentice ranks with him and less than a fortnight ago won the French Derby on Lupe de Vega for the yard.
"I am very pleased for him. Not only is he a good jockey, he is a nice chap," said Fabre. "There are always worries before a race and his inexperience was one of them, but he is very laid back."
Godolphin and Frankie Dettori got on the score-sheet yesterday -- albeit in a handicap, the Royal Hunt Cup.
Invisible Man, a 28/1 shot, was clearly that, as far as punters were concerned, and his victory in the 10th race of the meeting gave the bookmakers their first breather as, in contrast to the Cheltenham Festival, a succession of well-backed horses and heavily punted forecasts have come in.
The riding honours went to Ryan Moore, who won the first two races and he is odds-on to be top jockey by Saturday evening. Only his mount Rainfall and the runner-up Red Jazz got into the Jersey Stakes, while his mount Strawberry-daiquiri and Spacious fought out the finish of the meeting so far in the Windsor Forest.
The pair were nip and tuck from two furlongs out with Michael Stoute's grey filly prevailing by a short-head. (© Daily Telegraph, London)