• Royal Ascot, Day One

War powers to Queen Anne win as Kingdom blows out

ESPN staff
June 18, 2013
Declaration Of War showed his true colours in the Queen Anne Stakes © PA Photos

Declaration Of War bounced back from his Lockinge flop to run out a ready winner of the Queen Anne Stakes, as US raider Animal Kingdon flopped badly in the opening race of Royal Ascot.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien was mystified by Declaration Of War's defeat when a well-backed favourite for the Lockinge, but he showed the form to be all wrong as he came from an unpromising position to win with a deal in hand.

There was a moment of alarm as jockey Joseph O'Brien found himself behind a wall of horses heading towards the final furlong, but he had a willing partner who went through a narrow gap and powered clear once seeing daylight.

Aljamaaheer and Gregorian filled the places behind the 15/2 winner.

While the performance of Declaration Of War should not be understated, the story of the race was the flop of Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom. The US raider was given the chance to stake his claim for Royal Ascot honours, but he was in trouble a long way out after pulling extremely hard.

Jockey John Velazquez brought his mount under pressure some way from home, but the response was disappointing and he folded tamely. It was Animal Kingdom's first start on a straight course and that could have been a contributory factor.

Dawn Approach proved his running in the Derby to be all wrong as he showed supreme battling skills to edge out Toronado in the St James's Palace Stakes. Just 17 days after bombing out on the Derby when he ran as if something was seriously amiss, trainer Jim Bolger gave him the green light to run.

It proved an astute move as Dawn Approach showed he has steel in his armour by answering Kevin Manning's every call to win. As in the Derby, Dawn Approach did pull hard but on this occasion it did not hinder him at the finish.

Manning brought Dawn Approach under pressure over two furlongs from home, while Richard Hughes was sat motionless aboard Toronado. The complexion of the race changed over a furlong out as Glory Awaits veered sharply to his left and he interfered with Dawn Approach and Toronado.

Toronado was arguably the greater sufferer as he was knocked off his stride and Hughes had to get serious a little earlier than he would have liked. Toronado did strike the front deep inside the final furlong but Dawn Approach battled back for a narrow success.

Sole Power came with his customary late rattle to cut down Shea Shea in the shadow of the post in the King's Stand Stakes.

Shea Shea was sent off favourite to hand South Africa a first Royal Ascot win and he did everything right, as he tracked the pace and hit the front inside the final furlong for jockey Christophe Soumillion. But he was wide apart from Sole Power, who made up lengths under the stands' side rail and took the race for rider Johnny Murtagh and trainer Eddie Lynam.

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