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Mickley gives Bethell and Rodriguez first Royal Ascot winner in Britannia Stakes

Britannia Stakes victor Mickley provided Yorkshire trainer Ed Bethell and jockey Callum Rodriguez with their first Royal Ascot winners on Thursday.

Fresh from riding a double at Ripon yesterday, Rodriguez made his move with more than a furlong to go and, while the Ed Dunlop-trained Skukuza put down a threatening challenge, Mickley (15/2) had three quarters of a length to spare at the line. Native Warrior came up the stands’ rail to finish third, two and a half lengths further back, with Mission To Moon fourth.

Mickley, a 20,000gns yearling purchase at Tattersalls, ran twice as a two-year-old before posting wins this season at Southwell and Doncaster.

Mickley provided Yorkshire trainer Ed Bethell and jockey Callum Rodriguez with a Royal Ascot winner, picture Liesl King

Rodriguez said: “Huge performance, a very classy horse. He only does whatever is asked of him, and I was hopeful that the big-field scenario like this today would really bring out his best and keep him thinking. It did that, and the step up in trip has obviously helped him. It was very smooth, really, from start to finish – he got a nice pitch and a bit of cover, but plenty of room to run into. He came under me from two-and-a-half out and I was really confident then that with a clear run to the line, he’d take some pegging back. 

“I’ve always really liked this horse and he’s so laidback, but always works to a very good level at home and never does any more than is required of him. I’m so pleased he could show how good he is.

“It’s very special to have a winner here. I think this is my 10th year riding now and I’ve been down here a few times, but this week I was really looking forward to it and had two rides with real live chances, and a winner and a second - I’m very pleased.

“Driving home on Tuesday, I had mixed emotions. I was so pleased that the horse [Regional] turned up and he ran his heart out again and showed how good he is, and just to come off second best in a Group One at Royal Ascot, you’re pretty gutted at the same time, but hopeful that he’ll go on and finish his year strongly now. Then coming down to ride this lad today, I was hopeful that with a clear run and a bit of luck, we’d go pretty well. I was really impressed with him.

“It’s never smooth sailing in this game, there are ups and downs every day of the week and you just have to keep a level head all the time and really work hard, and I feel like that’s what I’ve done throughout my career. Since linking up with Ed two years ago, we’ve really had a good relationship and fingers crossed it will keep going.”

Bethell said: “It’s a great feeling, and I’m delighted for everyone at home. Callum has got down to a very low weight which he never normally does - that’s taken a big effort from him. We had confidence in the horse and wanted to keep him together; I was quite surprised how well he did today, and I’m really happy.

“He’s an interesting horse. He does absolutely nothing at home and never tells you where the limit is, but he’s got size and scope… It is like winning the lottery, this race, and you can never be confident at all. It’s a great day for the whole yard. I know I took over from my father, but we’re a young team, really, and hopefully just getting started. It’s a big team effort.”

5.05pm Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
1 Mickley (P K Siu) Ed Bethell 3-8-11 Callum Rodriguez 15/2
2 Sukuza (Cayton Park Stud Limited) Ed Dunlop 3-8-11 William Buick 16/1
3 Native Warrior (Wathnan Racing) Karl Burke 3-8-11 James Doyle 22/1
4 Mission To Moon (King Power Racing) Roger Varian 3-8-13 Oisin Murphy 25/1
29 ran                13/2JF Qirat (6th) and Volterra (11th)

Ed Bethell – 1st Royal Ascot winner
Callum Rodriguez – 1st Royal Ascot winner          

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