- POSTED: 21 Jun 2014 02:43
He may be 80 years old but Clive Brittain danced a jig of unbridled delight after he saddled Rizeena to win the Coronation Stakes, the fourth-day feature race at Royal Ascot on Friday.
ASCOT: He may be 80 years old but Clive Brittain danced a jig of unbridled delight after he saddled Rizeena to win the Coronation Stakes, the fourth-day feature race at Royal Ascot on Friday.
Rizeena rebounded from a disappointing seventh place in the 1,000 Guineas to floor some of Europe's best fillies under Ryan Moore.
It was Moore's third winner at the meeting, and it took him to the top of the riding charts.
But the honours belonged to Britain, an evergreen character who has been rising before dawn ever since he started work as a stable lad, aged 15, back in 1949.
Rizeena was his eighteenth winner at this fixture and few will have been as sweet.
Clearly emotional after Rizeena held off Lesstalk In Paris and Euro Charlene, Brittain said he had complete confidence in a horse he trains for Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al-Maktoum.
"I knew she was much better than she showed in the 1,000 Guineas," he said.
"The one thing in the back of my mind before that race was that she had run at Newmarket three times and had been beaten each time."
Conversely, Rizeena had made two previous visits to Ascot and had won both times - including her victory here last year, when she landed the Queen Mary Stakes.
A pedestrian early pace reduced this 12-runner race to the sort of tactical puzzle at which Moore excels. And he was on his mettle, keeping Rizeena close to the front before striking on turning for home.
"Rizeena was the best two-year-old filly last year and I'm delighted for Mr Brittain," Moore said.
"It is a great day for him."
Brittain was determined to celebrate it, having acquired a reputation for victory dances in a training career spanning five decades.
"You've got to have the vibe to continue getting up every morning at 3.30am," he said.
Brittain's joy contrasted sharply with Kieren Fallon's pained expression after he was thrown from the US challenger, Rosalind, on leaving the starting stalls.
Rosalind stumbled, leaving Fallon with no chance of maintaining the partnership. The 49-year-old former champion jockey, who injured his neck in the incident, was stood down from riding for the rest of the day by the racecourse doctor.
In contrast to the first three days at Royal Ascot, every favourite was routed on the penultimate day. It was a bookmakers' benefit, with a succession of heavy-bet horses biting the dust.
Among the long-odds winners was Eagle Top, who scythed through from last place under William Buick to win the King Edward VII Stakes with consummate ease.
Trained by John Gosden, Eagle Top was having only his third career start but Buick harboured no doubts about the colt's ability.
"We have so much belief in him," the jockey said of Eagle Top. "You'll be hearing a lot more from him."
After victories for Kingman on Tuesday and The Fugue the following day, Eagle Top's triumph hoisted Gosden to the top of this year's trainers' charts.
Overall, his 36 winners at the royal meeting moves him into joint-third place among active trainers.
On another sun-kissed afternoon, there were maiden Royal Ascot triumphs for a pair of popular jockeys.
George Baker brought Contributor from far back to overhaul Queen Elizabeth II's horse, Bold Sniper, in the Wolferton Handicap.
"I've had so many second places here I thought it was never going to happen," a delighted Baker said.
And Andrea Atzeni's delight at winning the Albany Stakes aboard Cursory Glance was embellished when he was immediately congratulated by a fellow-countryman.
Atzeni, who hails from Sardinia, was warmly embraced by Frankie Dettori, who was also born on the Mediterranean island.
Dettori himself endured a day of drought, which left him one winner short of registering his Royal Ascot half-century. He has one day left to hit the magic number.