By US Racing Team
And the longshots just keep coming through at the Royal Meet at Ascot Racecourse.
On Thursday, the opening Norfolk Stakes (G2) produced one of the biggest shockers in the history of the meet, with Valiant Force pulling away for a 1 ¼-length victory at 150-1 odds – that is correct, 150-1.
The victory earned Valiant Force an automatic, all-fees paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.
As mentioned over the first two days of the weeklong extravaganza in Berkshire, England, bettors willing to take a risk are having a field day.
On Tuesday, 33-1 Triple Shot won the opening Queen Anne Stakes (G1) over strong favorites Modern Games and Inspiral; on Wednesday, 10-1 shot Mostahdaf upset Luxembourg and Adayar in the Prince of Wales Stakes (G1).
Day 3 at Royal Ascot was more of the same, maybe even better for bettors with a keen sense of a week of stunning results. The only favorite to win on Thursday was Docklands in the Britannia Stakes at 6-1 odds.
Also, retiring Frankie Dettori came through with his ninth winner in the prestigious 2 ½-mile Gold Cup (G1) aboard Courage Bon Ami at 15-2.
Here’s a look at the top races of the day:
Norfolk Stakes … 150-1 winner!
Winless in his first two starts, Valiant Force took charge over the final 2 furlongs and easily defeated 13 rivals in this 5-furlong dash for 2-year-olds. Malc, a 66-1 shot finished second, with 7-4 favorite Elite Status third.
The exacta was worth £3,478.24 ($4,430.58). There was one other 150-1 winner in Royal Ascot history – Nando Parrado in the 2020 Coventry Stakes.
Ridden by Rossa Ryan, Valiant Force was the first Royal Ascot winner for Kia Joorabchian’s Amo Racing. Valiant Force is trained by Adrian Murray.
Ryan told ITV Racing: “He’s bred well, he’s bred to be a sprinter, and he’s something else to look at. He jumped well, did everything right. When I took the lead inside the two, I was always in a rhythm, and I probably could have won further if someone had come at me with a run. But he got the job done.”
Murray said: “We knew he was a nice horse, and I couldn’t believe the price – he was only beaten less than a length by His Majesty first time out and he was 150-1 today. It didn’t make sense – I knew he was much better than that.”
American entries No Nay Mets was ninth for trainer George Weaver (who saddled Crimson Advocate to win the Queen Anne on Wednesday) and American Rascal 13th for trainer Wesley Ward.
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes had this reaction to result: “Although an excellent result for the bookies, there were numerous very lucky retail and online punters in the UK and Ireland who had the winner with the biggest being £50 ($63.72) each-way.”
Frankie wins another Gold Cup – No. 9
Make that two winners for Frankie Dettori this week, and nine career Gold Cup wins as he guided Courage Mon Ami to a three-quarter length victory over Coltrane in the 2 ½ mile marathon distance.
Sent off at 15-2, Courage Mon Ami made it four in a row for trainers John and Thady Gosden.
“It’s unbelievable,” Dettori said. “I thought it was a bridge too far from handicaps to a Group 1, but it was the perfect race. This is what it’s all about.
“I thought he (Coltrane) was going to come back and in fairness my horse is still a baby but when the other horse did come back, he picked up again.”
John Gosden praised Dettori, who plans to retire at the end of the year: “It’s a great ride for Frankie and it crowns his week.”
In other results:
— Desert Hero (18-1) won the King George V Stakes in a field of 19 3-year-olds.
— Warm Heart (13-2) won the Ribblesdale Stakes
— Waipiro (7-1) topped 15 rivals in the Hampton Court Stakes (G3)
— Witch Hunter (50-1) capped the day with another big upset in the Buckingham Palace Stakes, which drew a field of 29
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.
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