The 2018 Royal Ascot meet kicked off Tuesday with a stunner in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, as Accidental Agent came out on top at 33-1 in the affair over a straight mile.
Yoshida, the U.S.-based 4-year-old colt trained by Bill Mott, finished fifth in the 15-horse field. The Queen Anne is an automatic qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Mile through the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series. The Queen Anne was the first of four international Breeders' Cup Challenge races to be held at the Royal Ascot meeting.
Accidental Agent provided quite the story in victory. The 4-year-old son of Delegator was bred by the trainer's mother.
“We've got the mare in the field. Nobody wanted to buy him. We bought him back for eight-grand,” said tearful trainer Eve Johnson Houghton after the race. “I thought I was tilting at wildmills (racing here). I dreamt about being third. It's just ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.”
The win was the first Group 1 victory for the trainer and first Group-race win for jockey Charlie Bishop. Accidental Agent was the biggest price ever to win the Queen Anne. He finished a half-length ahead of Lord Glitters (20-1), followed by Lightning Spear in third at 10-1.
The time for the mile was 1:38.85.
The Breeders' Cup Challenge is an international series of 82 stakes races, whose winners receive automatic starting positons and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, Nov. 2-3.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge series, the Breeders' Cup will pay the entry fees for Accidental Agent to start in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Breeders' Cup will also provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters base outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. If not Breeders' Cup eligible, the Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders' Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of October 22 to receive the rewards.
The Queen Anne Stakes was the sixth Breeders' Cup Mile qualifier thus far in 2018. The five other qualifiers are: Legal Eagle (SAF), winner of the L'Oramins Queen's Plate (G1) at Kenilworth in South Africa; Happy Clapper (AUS), who captured the Star Doncaster Mile (G1) at Royal Randwick in Australia; Nuevo Maestro (CHI), who won the Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella (G1) at Club Hipico in Santiago, Chile ; Hunt (IRE), winner of the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park in California and Mozu Ascot, who won the Yasuda Kinen (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse earlier this month.
This is the first year that there will be Breeders' Cup Challenge series races at Royal Ascot. In addition to the Queen Anne, three others races will be automatic qualifiers: The Prince of Wales's Stakes (G1) on Wednesday, June 20 for an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1); the Norfolk Stakes (G2) on Thursday, June 21, for an automatic berth into the new Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1) on Saturday, June 23 for an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
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