Trainer Aidan O’Brien has kicked off Royal Ascot in style with two winners on the opening day.
O’Brien’s first victory came in the second race as he added to his impressive record in the Coventry Stakes. The 46-year-old is the most successful trainer in the history of the Coventry Stakes and Arizona took his overall tally to nine victories.
Arizona, who won at the Curragh last month, made a slow start but kicked on to beat Threat by half-a-length, while Guildsman was a neck further back in third.
The two-year-old son of No Nay Never has subsequently been talked up as a contender for next year’s Qipco 2000 Guineas.
O’Brien said: “I was delighted with him. Today, he’s learned. He was slow away and a bit lost in the race, but came home well. He has loads of speed, but we always thought he’d have no problems getting seven furlongs; he’s a fine, big horse for next year.”
And quick on the back of his 66th winner at Royal Ascot, O’Brien watched on as Circus Maximus claimed victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
All the talk surrounded Irish 2000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain and rival Too Darn Hot prior to the race, but O’Brien’s charge stole the headlines.
Indeed, Too Darn Hot had to settle for third as Phoenix Of Spain came home a hugely disappointing sixth.
Circus Maximus hit the front inside the final two furlongs and managed to deny King Of Comedy by a neck.
The Ballymore trainer is likely to be in contention for further winners on Wednesday, with Norway (7/2) in the Queen’s Vase, Magical (2/1) set for the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and I Can Fly (9/2) going in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, with all attracting interest.
Betfred spokesman Matt Hulmes said: “The layers just edged day one by the smallest of margins but with wins for the fancied pair of Arizona and Blue Point, alongside the gambled-on The Grand Visir landing the Ascot Stakes, punters have some ammunition and will return drier and determined to level the scores on day two.”
Odds subject to change.