Rohaan powers home to win back-to-back Wokinghams
Rohaan (18/1) stormed home from off the pace under Ryan Moore to become the first horse since 1998 to win successive renewals of the Wokingham.
Despite conceding weight all round in the six-furlong cavalry charge, David Evans’ stable star kicked in the turbo boosters along the stands’ rail, powering his way through the gap between Jumby and Popmaster in the final 50 yards to win going away.
Rohaan, the fifth horse in all to win back-to-back editions of this famous sprint, proved three-quarters of a length too strong for runner-up Popmaster (16/1). Jumby (16/1) was third, with recent Epsom winner Mr Wagyu (28/1) in fourth.
Rohaan’s victory seals the Royal Ascot Leading Jockey award for Moore, who has now ridden seven winners this week despite drawing a blank on Tuesday.
Evans said: “Rohaan is a top-class horse, and it is nice to see him back to form. He does like this course and Ryan knew what to do. When the horse is like he is, it is the only way to ride him – you have to instil confidence into him. Two furlongs out, there was never any doubt.
“To win it again is fantastic. It is better feeling for me than last year. It never sunk in last year. It still hasn’t. It is easy training them when you’ve got a good horse.
“He is cut about these on his day and has just had a few problems. He could have run in the race [Platinum Jubilee Stakes] before. He will go back up in class now, but, as Ryan said, this is the right track for him.”
Moore said: “I didn’t have to do a lot. Rohaan obviously really enjoys coming to Ascot. Dave has done a magnificent job with this horse. The horse has tested him over the last couple of months and he has got him going sweetly again now.
“He obviously enjoys Ascot, and the race worked out well for him. He’s been out of form, and I wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but two and a half furlongs out, he started coming and I knew he’d win.
“I think tracks are important to him. He needs to find it smooth and I think Ascot helps because it is a level track.”
Winning part-owner Chris Kiely said: “On a March Saturday morning, a load of us were going out to Dubai and Dave said Rohaan was bleeding everywhere after falling on the gallops and that we should think about retiring him.
“Dave the magician got him right and kept him ready. He said two weeks ago that Rohaan is absolutely flying. I don’t know how he has got him back. I thought we may have been too hard on him.
“I’ve had two kids and got married, but this is the best moment of my life. I can’t believe what has happened and I am so emotional. Dave has somehow got him back to the Wokingham and he has won on the bridle.”
Popmaster’s trainer Ed Walker said: “I have been second in so many big handicaps now. Last year, we were second in the Ayr Gold Cup, we were second in the Kensington Palace here on Wednesday, and we were second in the Stewards’ Cup. It’s so frustrating – they are so hard to win, and when you’re knocking on the door, it’s so frustrating.
“Popmaster was spot-on. I remember saying to Laurence [Bellman, owner], when we were beaten at Chelmsford and were a bit disappointed, this might have just won you a Wokingham. That run got the horse’s confidence back, and we didn’t get the 5lb penalty. Throughout the day the draw looked like being a good one. Tom [Marquand] gave him a peach of a ride, but we got Ryan Moored.”
5.00pm Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
1 Rohaan (Chris Kiely Racing Ltd & James Tomkins) David Evans 4-9-12 Ryan Moore 18/1
2 Popmaster (Laurence Bellman) Ed Walker 4-9-01 Tom Marquand 16/1
3 Jumby (Anthony Pye-Jeary and David Ian) Eve Johnson Houghton 4-9-08 William Buick 12/1
4 Mr Wagyu (The New Century Partnership) John Quinn 7-9-04 Jason Hart 28/1
26 ran 4/1F Fresh (9th)
David Evans – 2nd Royal Ascot winner
Ryan Moore – 73rd Royal Ascot winner