Goldikova started the 2010 Royal Ascot meet off with a performance befitting a queen, tenaciously holding off a charging Paco Boy to capture the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) by a neck June 15.
The two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner has now won nine group I/grade I races in her career, including two more this season.
A field of 10 went to the post for the Queen Anne, highlighted by not only Goldikova, but also by Paco Boy and Rip Van Winkle. Paco Boy, a 5-year-old horse by Desert Style, captured this race last year and entered the contest off an impressive victory in the Totesport.com Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) last month.
Rip Van Winkle was making his seasonal debut, but had been training very well in Ireland for Aidan O’Brien. The 4-year-old colt locked horns several times with Sea The Stars last year, but still captured two group I races before finishing a disappointing 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).
Goldikova broke alertly under Olivier Peslier and sat just off the quick pace set by Calming Influence. Rip Van Winkle was a bit keen under Johnny Murtagh, and soon joined Calming Influence on the lead.
As the field entered the final two furlongs, Goldikova rocketed to the front, and quickly opened up a three-length lead. At the same time, Paco Boy was making his move from the rear of the field, and was under a strong drive by Richard Hughes.
Paco Boy encountered some traffic trouble as he weaved his way through the field, but once he was in the clear put in a sustained drive and looked as though he would catch Goldikova. The wire arrived too soon for Paco Boy though, and Goldikova held on for the neck victory.
Longshot Dream Eater got up for third, another 3 1/4 lengths further back. Rip Van Winkle tired from his earlier exertions and finished sixth. The final time for the mile was 1:37.74 over a course rated good.
Goldikova became trainer Freddie Head’s first winner at Royal Ascot. After the race he told reporters, “When she goes to the front she’s never beaten, she always finds more; she is extraordinary.”
“I thought she showed her best today,” Head continued. “She was relaxed in the race and I was never worried.”
Paco Boy’s trainer Richard Hannon said: “He didn’t get the greatest passage in the world. The winner took a bit out of us when she kicked. In a few more strides he’d have got there.”
Head indicated that Goldikova’s next race would be at Deauville, either in the Prix Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) at a mile, or the seven furlong Prix de la Foret (Fr-I).
Goldikova was bred in Ireland by her owners, Alain and Gerard Wertheimer. She is by the deceased French stallion Anabaa, out of Born Gold, by Blushing Groom. She hails from the immediate female family of French champion Gold River.