Highland Chief gives Paul and Oliver Cole a winner to remember

Father and son seal new partnership with Royal Ascot success.

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Highland Chief came from way off the pace to give Paul and Oliver Cole a landmark success in the Golden Gates Handicap at Royal Ascot.

The Coles were the first to register a victory with a dual licence when racing resumed – and are now the first to be jointly credited with a winner at the Royal meeting.

Carrying top-weight, Highland Chief (20-1) only had two behind him turning into the straight, but fairly took off down the centre of the track.

Grand Rock, under Cieren Fallon, made a bold bid from the front, but was running on empty entering the final furlong as Tritonic took over and briefly looked the winner.

Highland Chief though, who finished third to Pinatubo in the Chesham 12 months ago, defied a drift to the left to provide Rossa Ryan with his first Royal winner, too.

Oliver Cole said: “Dad couldn’t be here as he’s gone to his best friend’s funeral. We had a very good friend called Ben Leigh and he died, unfortunately I couldn’t go. He has gone, but I did say to him today I think we will get an Ascot winner.

“The horse has always been very good. He didn’t show anything at Newmarket and we were all scratching our heads.

“Rossa has been coming in to ride him twice a week and has ridden him in all his work. The last two weeks the horse has been switched on and come to himself. He’s a bit of a tricky character, but he’s a happy horse.

“He won on soft ground at Newbury and it could be an advantage to him.”

He added: “It is fantastic. It is history. It is brilliant. The horse is a very good horse. He won at Newbury on soft ground. He was only beaten a few lengths by Pinatubo in the Chesham here last year.

“He has got ability and we always thought he would like the ground today.

“Potentially he is still a bit unexposed. He has come all the way off the rail, a lot deeper than anything else. He is probably still a bit babyish and is probably still not the full racehorse yet.

“At the moment we would keep at this (10-furlong) trip, but the further he was going the better he was going. He is an exciting horse.”

Galway-born Ryan, 19, is in his third season based at Richard Hannon’s stable.

He said: “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I can’t thank everyone enough who has supported me and got me here today. To ride a winner for the Coles and Fitri Hay is great.

“The plan was to get him to relax, travel and ride him for home. It was his first run of the year so he was going to be a bit fresh and was unknown at this trip.

“I travelled lovely – when we got to the two-pole I thought the bird might have flown, but it’s a long two furlongs at Ascot and that helped today.

“My horse was the only one to come off the pace and quicken off that ground.”

Highland Chief gives Paul and Oliver Cole a winner to remember
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