Improving stayer Coltrane makes it a day to remember for Callum Hutchinson
Chester Cup runner-up Coltrane (14/1) provided young jockey Callum Hutchinson with a first Royal Ascot winner as he repelled the challenge of 3/1 favourite Bring On The Night in the Ascot Stakes.
In a hugely competitive edition of the famous two-and-a-half-mile handicap, the Andrew Balding-trained Coltrane scraped paint for much of the journey, tucked away just behind the leading group.
Hutchinson, son of former Jump jockey Wayne, needed the gaps to open early in the straight and, once in the clear, his mount found plenty for pressure to hold on by three-quarters of a length from the Willie Mullins-trained hotpot.
Arcadian Sunrise (9/2) was another three-quarters of a length away in third while Going Gone (50/1) was fourth and last year’s winner Reshoun (16/1) stayed on well from the back to grab fifth.
Hutchinson said: “I can’t put it into words! A big thank you to the boss and to the Mariscottis [Coltrane’s owners] for giving me such a great opportunity. The boss has been a great supporter this year and I’ve ridden six winners from 17 rides for him. He’s been great to me, and I’ve been kicking on throughout the year. Hopefully this winner will give me a real kick and the season will keep on progressing.
“He jumped beautifully; I kicked to go forward and could sit sort of mid-handy. All the horses from the outer draws wanted to get handy as well so they kicked on, but we got a lovely tow. The horse got me out of trouble two out, he got through the gap nicely and quickened away there.
“I saw Ryan [Moore] coming upsides me [on Bring On The Night] and in the back of my mind I thought this could be game over, but he’s a tough horse and he’s galloped strongly all the way to the line.
“He is a big yard legend and I’ve ridden him a fair bit at home. People come in and out and he’s the one they get to sit on – he’s just a brilliant horse to have.
“My mum and my nan are here, so they’ll be delighted to see that. Obviously, my dad was a jump jockey and rode multiple Grade 1 winners, so that was something I wanted to do, although he never rode at Royal Ascot.”
Andrew Balding said: “I was just really happy all the way through. I thought Callum gave him a beautiful ride. He was always in the right spot and made his space like a seasoned pro in the straight. I thought, ‘oh, Ryan [Moore]’s going to come and do us here’, but Callum is strong in a finish as well. I’m very proud of the jockey and very proud of the horse.
“Rob Hornby had ridden Coltrane in his last couple of starts but was claimed by Ralph [Beckett] to ride his horse, so we then had options, and 5lb over this kind of extreme distance makes a bit of a difference.
“Unfortunately, at the end of Coltrane’s three-year-old career he had quite a nasty injury, and he’s still got a plate and some screws. We were a bit worried about the ground today, but he has handled it well. He’s a tough horse and a bit of a yard favourite – the sort of horse anyone can ride, very laid-back and a real favourite.
“An Ebor run might be possible but anything’s possible. He’s in the Queen Alexandra here but, having run in this heat, it would probably be asking a bit much to run him again. We’ll see how he is and make a decision nearer the time.”
Willie Mullins said of the runner-up: “Ryan gave him a fabulous ride. Bring On The Night got to the front and we were just beaten by a better horse on the day. There are no quibbles. He is in on Saturday and we will see how he comes out of this.”
5.00pm Ascot Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
1 Coltrane (Mick & Janice Mariscotti) Andrew Balding 5-9-05 Callum Hutchinson (5) 14/1
2 Bright On The Night (Marie Donnelly) Willie Mullins IRE 5-9-05 Ryan Moore 3/1F
3 Arcadian Sunrise (Miriam Queally) John Queally IRE 8-9-04 Harry Davies (5) 9/2
4 Going Gone (Taylor and O’Dwyer) Jim Boyle 4-9-05 Pat Cosgrave 50/1
Andrew Balding – 11th Royal Ascot winner
Callum Hutchinson – 1st Royal Ascot winners