LETHAL FORCE was the toast of Royal Ascot as he claimed the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, but the final day of the fixture was marred by the death of Hardwicke Stakes hero Thomas Chippendale.
In a week which saw Jane Cecil land an emotional inaugural Royal meeting winner following the death of legendary trainer Henry, Thomas Chippendale looked to have brought yet more joy in a time of grief.
However, the four-year-old colt collapsed and died of a suspected heart attack after passing the line in a dramatic, and deeply sombre, renewal of the Group Two over a mile and a half.
Of Thomas Chippendale, Lady Cecil said: "I'm heartbroken, it was devastating, but at least it was quick and he wouldn't have felt anything."
Asked about her decision to come racing this week following her husband's death, Cecil said: "I've had to keep going for Team Cecil and for Henry."
Lethal Force's victory was perhaps somewhat overshadowed by the tragic events in the previous race, but his impressive victory will surely have brightened the afternoon a little for those on course.
Giving Adam Kirby his first win at Group One level, Lethal Force charged two lengths away from 2011 winner and 4/1 favourite Society Rock, leaving trainer Clive Cox to dream further success.
Lambourn-based Cox, a former jumps jockey, made his Group One breakthrough with Gilt Edge Girl in the 2010 Prix de l'Abbaye and such is his skill with these horses that he has another viable candidate in the same category, the King's Stand fifth Reckless Abandon.
"He's special, we always hoped he was, and Adam is such a brilliant rider. When he sent him he was explosive," Cox said.
Owned by Robin and Alan Craddock, Lethal Force (11/1) will be one of many in the field to be considered for the next month's July Cup at Newmarket.
Paul Cole's Berkshire had earlier ran out a convincing winner of the Chesham Stakes.
Sent off at 16/1 after finishing third on his debut at Newbury, the Jim Crowley-ridden youngster came from last to first within a matter of strides.
Oliver Cole, the trainer's son and assistant, said Berkshire may now be preserved until the Dewhurst at Newmarket on October 12.
Jamie Spencer was also on the scoresheet when he partnered York Glory to a clear-cut victory in the Wokingham Stakes, with trainer Kevin Ryan now eyeing a step up the scale.
Ryan Moore was always in the right place on Opinion as he made his substitute ride in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap a winning one.
Michael Stoute's inmate is now in the frame for the Ebor at York and, possibly, the Melbourne Cup.
Frankie Dettori ended the meeting empty-handed after Chiberta King narrowly held off his mount Shahwardi in a tight finish to the Queen Alexandra Stakes in the final race of the Royal meeting.