It is fair to say the Sport of Kings probably takes Aidan O'Brien a little bit for granted these days. Modest to a fault, his post-race media debriefs are likely to assign more credit for the victory to the man wielding the leaf blower at Ballydoyle than to himself. He is "just privileged to be a small part of it".
By all logic the Gold Cup should not produce the best finish of the meeting, but Royal Ascot's oldest and most prestigious contest conjured up another thriller yesterday when Stradivarius, the 7/4 joint-favourite, stayed on best of all to beat Vazirabad and Torcedor at the end of a three-way scrap through the last quarter-mile.
How about putting a TV camera inside the Queen's carriage as a way of enhancing coverage of her arrival each day at Royal Ascot? You hadn't thought of that? Well, it was one of several ideas kicked around by imaginative producers at NBC when the American broadcaster got the rights to show last week's action, a broadening of coverage that may have lasting significance for this event.
Aidan O'Brien celebrated winning a seventh Qipco Leading Trainer Award at Royal Ascot after saddling a personal best of seven winners. For the second year in succession the master of Ballydoyle topped the final standings after surpassing the six he had back in 2008.
Aidan O'Brien had endured a relatively quiet first couple of days at Royal Ascot by his standards - until yesterday when, in just 40 minutes, his landmark 50th Royal winner preceded victory in the week's most coveted race, the Ascot Gold Cup, for Order Of St George.
Precisely 40 years has elapsed since the staging of the popularly-dubbed "Race of the Century" in which Grundy famously outgunned Bustino in a thrilling 1975 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. Coincidentally it was the very first year the sponsors De Beers gained special royal dispensation to include the word "diamond" in the race inaugurated back in 1951.
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