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Five of the biggest shocks in Royal Ascot history

Rewilding gets the better of So You Think.

Royal Ascot is renowned for many memorable moments over the years but also for the variety of shocks that occur on the famous Berkshire course. Whether it is Group One upsets or controversial finishes, the Royal meeting has encountered it all throughout its rich history.

TREVE – Prince Of Wales Stakes (2014)

After winning the World’s most prestigious flat turf race at Longchamp in 2013, the Prix de L’Arc De Triomphe winner Treve was sent to the Royal meeting in 2014 in search of further Group One domination. 

She was billed as being flat racings new unstoppable force, one in which will go on to become the sports main flag bearer. However, her pre-race antics at Ascot proved to be a real concern as the star mare produced a bitterly disappointing display to finish third behind The Fugue. 

Jockey Frankie Dettori stated his discomfort aboard the four-year old throughout the preliminaries but the lacklustre performance was far from expected.

BLACK CAVIAR – Diamond Jubilee Stakes (2012) 

Black Caviar will be remembered as one of the greatest sprinters to ever grace a British racecourse. Her success in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2012 produced both brilliance and apprehension for the millions watching around the world. 

By arriving at Ascot boasting an unbeaten record of twenty-one consecutive victories, expectations were notably high. The world’s media were closely attached to the week’s events and anticipated racing brilliance over the tracks stiff six-furlongs. 



After travelling through the race with ease, Luke Nolen asked the sprinting star to lengthen inside the final two-furlongs, to which there was an immediate response. Black Caviar established a cosy lead until her jockey started to ease the mare well before the winning line. 

What transpired was one of Royal Ascots most thrilling finishes as the Australian rider was forced to desperately reach for his mount to confirm her lead in the final strides. It went to a photo finish to confirm Black Caviar’s victory though many were shocked at the way it unfolded.

SO YOU THINK – Prince Of Wales Stakes (2011) 

So You Think arrived at Ballydoyle in 2011 with a hefty Australian reputation after winning two Cox Plates as well as three further Group One prizes. 

He immediately made his presence felt at the famous Tipperary stables and produced a clear-cut European debut to win a Group Three at the Curragh by twelve-lengths. 

The five-year old then travelled to Royal Ascot three weeks later to contest the Prince Of Wales Stakes for which he was a red-hot favourite. Described by Aidan O’Brien prior to the race as “a different creature to what we’ve ever seen before”, many were expecting a demolition job. 

However, So You Think was gunned down by Godolphin’s Rewilding in the closing stages to give the bookmakers one of their biggest results of the year. 



FLASHMANS PAPERS – Windsor Castle Stakes (2008)

Trainer John Best shaped one of Royal Ascot’s biggest shocks when his two-year old colt, Flashmans Papers, ran out a surprise winner of the Windsor Castle Stakes in 2008. 

Ridden by jockey Steve Drowne, the son of Exceed And Excel showcased a nice turn-of-foot to quicken inside the final furlong and lead close home. 

It was the biggest Royal Ascot winner since 1990 and one that left the packed grandstands silent.

CHOISIR – King’s Stand Stakes (2003)

Choisir was the first Australian horse to compete at Royal Ascot in 2003 and was given little chance by British punters to succeed in the prestigious five-furlong sprint.

Yet the three-year old never saw a rival in annihilating a classy field under Johnny Murtagh to come home a 25/1 winner. Carrying a Group One, this son of Danehill Dancer led from post-to-post and was described by Murtagh as a “monster” following their success.

The victory will go down as one of Royal Ascot greatest upsets. 


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Five of the biggest shocks in Royal Ascot history

Royal Ascot is renowned for many memorable moments over the years but also for the variety of shocks that occur on the famous Berkshire course. Whether it is Group One upsets or controversial finishes, the Royal meeting has encountered it all throughout its rich history.

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