Waiting patiently for success has never been an issue for Sir Michael Stoute and he was in reflective mood after Poet’s Word delivered him one of his greatest victories with a record-breaking 76th Royal Ascot winner.
After drawing a blank at the meeting 12 months ago, the Newmarket handler moved ahead of his great friend and rival, the late Sir Henry Cecil, following the victory of the five-year-old in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Since sending out Etienne Gerard to win the Jersey Stakes as an unfancied 25-1 shot back in 1977, the Freemason Lodge handler has claimed almost every race at the prestigious meeting – including the Gold Cup for the Queen in 2013, which came a year on from landing the Queen’s Vase.
Stoute, 72, said: “I thought we would have two or three winners last year and we didn’t, so I’ve not been thinking about it this time.
“I’m grateful for anything. Last year we had about 16 runners and five losing favourites!
“I repeatedly say I’ve had more cracks at it than he (Cecil) did as the five-day meeting has not been going for that long.
“It means a lot and to the whole stable as well. Henry created those numbers when there were four days of Royal Ascot for most of his career. We’re very glad it’s happened and it’s a great reflection on the staff.
“We were looking for one just to get off the mark. I love the game, we’ve got great staff and very supportive owners. I hope we can keep going for a bit longer.”
While delivering Her Majesty glory in the Gold Cup is a treasured moment for Stoute, there are two others in particular that stand out in his eyes.
He said: “Obviously the first one, the Jersey Stakes with Etienne Gerard, and I got particular satisfaction from a horse called Shareef Dancer.
“He was a very expensive 1981 yearling that was the first Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum sent to me.
“He won the King Edward VII here having had a blip on his first run of the season, as he came back with a lung infection.
“Then he went on and beat Caerleon and Teenoso in the Irish Derby. He was a very decent horse.
“Estimate’s victory has been well documented, so I thought we would change the bowling a bit.”
Stoute later moved on to winner number 77 in the final race of the day after Classic disappointment Expert Eye appropriately ran out a four-and-a-half-length winner in the Jersey.
He said: “It is very pleasing, a lot of work has gone into this horse. James Savage in particular. A lot of stalls work in particular. Ted Durcan has ridden him in a lot of his work.
“It looks that way (not liking Newmarket) and I don’t think he will be going back to Rowley Mile. I’ve asked him why but he won’t reply!
“We are very fond of this horse and we thought he was going to be good. It is nice to see him winning in that fashion.”