Estimate, No Nay Never Win at Royal Ascot

Estimate, No Nay Never Win at Royal Ascot
Photo: Mathea Kelley
Estimate (left) takes the Gold Cup for The Queen.
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Estimate led in the final furlong of the Gold Cup (Eng-I) June 20 at Royal Ascot and gamely turned back a strong challenge to narrowly prevail in the 2 1/2-mile marathon for owner Queen Elizabeth II.

The Ladies Day card also included a rare win by a U.S.-trained horse when No Nay Never blazed to a course-record time for a 2-year-old in the Norfolk Stakes (Eng-II) for trainer Wesley Ward. 

Winner of half her six previous starts, Estimate faced the most demanding challenge of her career in the Gold Cup but capably handled her group I debut when repelling a strong bid from runner-up Simenon for a game neck victory.

Estimate covered the distance in 4:20.51 under Ryan Moore to deliver a first win in Ascot's oldest surviving race, inaugurated in 1807, to a reigning monarch. Queen Elizabeth enjoyed her 22nd Royal Ascot victory; her first win there was with Choir Boy in the 1953 Royal Hunt Cup.

Moore, a former champion jockey, earned his first Royal Ascot victory.

Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Estimate won the 2012 Queen's Vase (Eng-III) going two miles last June at Royal Ascot. She entered the Gold Cup off a victory May 1 at Ascot in the two-mile Longines Sagaro Stakes (Eng-III) in which she tracked the early leaders, took control over a furlong out, and stayed on well to win by 1 3/4 lengths, suggesting the Gold Cup's extra half-mile would be not problem. And it was not.

The 7-2 favorite, the 4-year-old Monsun filly raced in mid-field as German raider Earl of Tinsdal set the pace, tracked by Saddler's Rock and 2012 Gold Cup winner Colour Vision. Advancing into contention in the final quarter, Estimate bid for the lead in the straight and seized command from Colour Vision with an eighth of a mile to run. Simenon threatened under Johnny Murtagh, but Estimate had more stamina to prevail.

Recent QIPCO Yorkshire Cup (Eng-II) runner-up Top Trip was third, a length behind Simenon. Colour Vision weakened in the final 100 yards to finish fourth in the 16-horse field.

"It's a great thrill, but I certainly wasn't confident," Stoute said. "Her preparation has gone well and she is bred to get the trip, but she had to up her game to beat the boys.

"I was trying to be realistic. I kept very calm in the final furlong because I was very worried. I felt she would beat the gray horse of Godolphin's (Colour Vision), but then she had another battle with Simenon, and I really thought he might beat her. It was a tense and very long final furlong."

Stoute won the Gold Cup in 1978 with Shangamuzo. Estimate is his 66th winner at the Royal meeting.

Estimate was bred in Ireland by the Aga Khan and was presented to Queen Elizabeth as a present on her 80th birthday. The bay filly is out of the stakes-winning Darshaan mare Ebaziya, a half sister to five stakes winners, including 1999 Gold Cup winner Enzeli, 1997 Irish Oaks (Ire-I) winner Ebadiyla, and 1998 Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I) winner Edabiya.

In the day's first race No Nay Never overcame a troubled start and flew down the center of the track in the final furlong to win the Norfolk by a length from Irish stakes winner and 9-4 favorite Coach House.

No Nay Never's winning time of :58.80 is the fastest at the five-furlong distance for a juvenile. The previous 2-year-old record was :59.17. Miss Andretti holds the five-furlong course record of :57.40, set in the 2007 King's Stand Stakes (Eng-I).

No Way Never was making his second career start after taking a maiden special weight race April 26 at Keeneland. He led most of the way in his career debut and opened a clear advantage en route to a two-length triumph.

In the Norfolk, he banged the gate breaking from post 8 and pulled jockey Joel Rosario to the lead before the rider settled him just behind front-runners. He responded eagerly on the rider's cue a furlong out and easily sprinted past leader Ambiance to lead inside the final eighth for the convincing victory.

Ward has previously been successful with 2-year-olds at Royal Ascot. The Scat Daddy   colt is his third winner there. He became the first U.S.-based trainer to win at Royal Ascot when Strike the Tiger won the Windsor Castle Stakes at odds of 33-1 on June 16, 2009. Ward also landed 2009 Queen Mary Stakes (Eng-II) with Jealous Again.

No Nay Never ran in the colors of co-owner Linda Shanahan, the wife of Coolmore adviser Paul Shanahan. Sire Scat Daddy stands at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Central Kentucky.

Bred in Kentucky by Jayne Doi Johnson and David Sparrow, No Nay Never is one of two winners from as many starters out of the winning Elusive Quality   mare Cat's Eye Witness, a half sister to U.S. grade III winner Cat's Career and stakes winner Al's River Cat

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