Russian Emperor finished with a rattle to claim a last-gasp success in a thrilling renewal of the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Runner-up to stablemate Cormorant when hot favourite for the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown last week, Aidan O’Brien’s colt was sent off at 100-30 for what looked a competitive Group Three event.
Berlin Tango – who had beaten Tuesday’s King Edward VII Stakes winner Pyledriver on his latest appearance at Kempton – travelled strongly into the home straight under Oisin Murphy before quickening to grab the lead.
It looked as though Frankie Dettori would carry the colours of the Queen into the winner’s enclosure after his mount First Receiver eventually mastered Berlin Tango inside the final furlong.
However, it was Russian Emperor who came home best down the centre of the track to get up and beat the market leader by half a length – providing jockey Ryan Moore with his 60th Royal Ascot success.
A son of Galileo, Russian Emperor was cut to 8-1 by Coral for the Investec Derby, with Paddy Power and Betway going 12-1 and Betfair 14-1.
Moore said: “He is a lovely horse that is straightforward and has a great attitude. He has got a very good attitude and his dam was exceptional in Australia. I think he will be a nice horse going forward for the rest of the year.
“He is very professional and has had the benefit of a couple of runs this year.
“That will be decided (an outing in the Derby), but he has given himself a chance (to run in it).”
Dettori said of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained First Receiver: “He ran a bit fresh, but he ran a super race.”
Andrew Balding said of Berlin Tango: “He ran very well with a penalty. It was an excellent run from three good horses. He will go to the Dante next. A mile and a quarter is his trip.”