Tuesday 12 December 2017

Riposte land emotional success for the Cecil team at Royal Ascot

Riposte ridden by Tom Queally wins the Ribblesdale Stakes
Riposte ridden by Tom Queally wins the Ribblesdale Stakes

Keith Hamer

Riposte provided the Royal Ascot crowd with the win they were all craving for Lady Cecil in the Ribblesdale Stakes.

Lady Cecil's husband Sir Henry Cecil died only last week but laid out all his plans for the meeting, at which he recorded a record 75 winners, beforehand.

After missing the break, Tom Queally had to make ground up quickly but Riposte did that effortlessly and quickened in the style of a very smart filly to beat Just Pretending by two and a quarter lengths.

Plenty were in with chances turning into the straight after a slow gallop had been set, and the likes of Elik, Just Pretending and Winsili were waiting to pounce.

However, as soon as Queally pressed the button, Riposte, related to the great Frankel, put the race to bed.

Cecil trained more winners than anyone else at this meeting and five of those wins came in this race.

Now his widow is off the mark and none of the beaten connections will begrudge her such a poignant success.

Just Pretending made up plenty of ground from the rear to claim second with Elik third and Winsili fourth.

Queally said: "It means an awful lot to everybody. So many people have worked so hard. It's been a tough, tough week. I know a lot of people are struggling, emotionally as well everything else.

"She did it very well and I'm sure Henry is looking down.

"She showed a turn of foot, I thought stamina would be her forte but she quickened into it very well."

An emotional Lady Cecil said: "First of all that was for Henry, the Prince (Khalid Abdullah, owner) and everyone at Warren Place.

"I don't really have the words to say what I'm feeling right now, but I think everyone has a pretty good idea.

"He (Henry) was just adored by so many people. People who never met him loved him.

"We hardly dared dream that we would have a winner (at Royal Ascot). At the start of the week I thought this is one of the best teams we've had going into Ascot for a while and I just thought 'god, he would be relishing this'.

"Everyone knows how he loved Ascot. Not only the fashion, but the racing and everything.

"Keeping busy is what's keeping us all going. If we had nothing to do, I think we'd all fall to bits."

Abdullah said: "We lost him (Henry) and I'm just sad. I don't know what to say.

"She (Lady Jane) is doing very well and I hope that continues."

Reflecting on the race, Queally said of the 9-2 winner: "I looked at it and wondered where the pace angles might come from and I wanted to pop her out and be handy, but she was slowly away due to her inexperience.

"I had to set her a bit of a task to get up there but the tempo was OK. I tried to track Ryan (Moore on Elik) and my filly started to travel well and she did it really nicely.

"She has a lot of growing up to do but she is going the right way. Henry always held her in high regard.

"It's not been easy without him. It was really important to have a winner this week. It has been a tough week for Lady Jane, Mike Marshall (assistant) and all the staff.

"It is always special to ride a winner at Royal Ascot and extra special to ride one for Warren Place.

"The mood is happy but sombre."

Press Association

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