Four-year-old Ad Valorem, winner of the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes as a juvenile, landed another success at the highest level when winning the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, England, on Tuesday to give trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Kieren Fallon their first successes of the 2006 meeting.
But Ad Valorem had to survive a stewards’ enquiry into interference in the final furlong before keeping the race, to the relief of O’Brien.
“I can relax now,” joked the master of Ballydoyle. “Obviously, you worry when there’s an enquiry but he was the clear cut winner and did it on merit. I didn’t get a good look but it seemed as though they were all a bit tight.
“This horse always wanted fast ground but couldn’t get it last year. He was only beaten a couple of lengths by Proclamation in the Sussex Stakes last season on ground that he could barely walk on so we hoped he could turn the form round today. Out of frustration I probably ran him more often than I should last season. Obviously, he was very good as a two-year-old, when he was a Middle Park winner.
“In the last three weeks on fast ground he has been working really well at home. I’d love to go to the Sussex Stakes now and hope that the ground stays firm. I hope he might be a Breeders’ Cup Mile horse as well.”
Ad Valorem is jointly owned by Sue Magnier and the Australian-based Ingham family at whose Woodlands Stud he will eventually spend the southern hemisphere breeding season.
Chris Richardson, managing director of Cheveley Park Stud, was forced to reflect on a race that didn’t work out for filly Peeress.
In an unsatisfactory finish to the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, the five-year-old mare’s jockey Mick Kinane had to snatch up the reins as Ad Valorem hung left across her.
Richardson said: “I think she has been very unlucky. The pace didn’t suit her early on - there wasn’t enough pace.
“She got bumped at the start. Frankie bumped her from behind, initially. She has been racing throughout the race on a pace that wasn’t really quick enough.
“The ground was probably just a bit firm and maybe she wasn’t letting herself down. But she didn’t deserve to be squeezed up like that. It was a messy race.”
Kieren Fallon, the rider of the winner Ad Valorem, was suspended for four days, July 1-4, inclusively for an incident inside the final furlong.
The ban falls over the weekend of the Irish Derby but Fallon can apply to have it held over.
William Nunneley, the senior stewards’ secretary, explained: “He can request that the HRA write to the Turf Club and allow him to ride because we would allow him to ride on a day when there is a Group One race in this country with a suspension of four days and below.”
Ed Dunlop was not happy with the run that Court Masterpiece received when second to Ad Valorem, beaten a length and a half, in the Queen Anne Stakes.
The Newmarket handler said: “Jamie [Spencer] was very angry as he thought he would have won.
“Whatever, he has run a fantastic race.”
Bruce Raymond, Racing Manager to owners Gainsborough Stud, added: “The winner has definitely cost Peeress third place and has intimidated us.
“I thought that the winner would be demoted.”
Simon Crisford, Racing Manager to Godolphin, was pleased in the circumstances with the run of third-placed Proclamation.
He said: “It was nice to get Proclamation back on the track.
“He was a bit rusty and we have been behind schedule with him - he missed a couple of bits in work in his preparation for today.
“Our horses weren’t right earlier this season and he just did not have that razor sharp edge today which you need in these races.
“Although we would obviously have liked to have won, we have to be pleased in the circumstances with his run.”
“We run Electrocutionsist in tomorrow’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes and are very happy with him - we think he has a stronger chance than Proclamation had today.”
QUEEN ANNE STAKES (GROUP ONE)
£250,000 guaranteed, 1600m Straight Course, For 4yo+ 1st £141,950; 2nd £53,800; 3rd £26,925; 4th £13, 425; 5th £6,725; 6th £3,375
1 AD VALOREM (USA) (Sue Magnier & R Ingham) Aidan O'Brien IRE 4-9-00 Kieren Fallon  13/2
2 COURT MASTERPIECE (Gainsborough Stud) Ed Dunlop 6-9-00 Jamie Spencer  11/2
3 PROCLAMATION (IRE) (Godolphin) Saeed bin Suroor 4-9-00 Frankie Dettori  2/1
4 PEERESS (Cheveley Park Stud) Sir Michael Stoute 5-8-11 Michael Kinane  7/4f
5 VORTEX (Coriolis Partnership) Gay Kelleway 7-9-00et Martin Dwyer 
6 KANDIDATE (Tony Richards) Clive Brittain 4-9-00t Ryan Moore 
7 AKIMBO (USA) (Ann Donnelly) James Leavy IRE 5-9-00 Willie Supple 
Non-runners: 3 Belenus; 5 Home Affairs
Distances: 1 1/2, nk, 1 3/4, 7, 4, 4
Time: 1m 40s
Breeder: Calumet Farm
Breeding: b c Danzig (USA) - Classy Women (USA) (Relaunch (USA))