|Tuesday 20th June 2023|
Who are the Most Successful Jockeys and Trainers in Royal Ascot History?
For those with a connection to Flat racing in the UK, Royal Ascot remains the pinnacle of the sport.
Sure, winning the Derby, the Guineas’ or the St Leger comes with considerable prestige and prize money into the bargain, but no single festival on the Flat brings with it the same level of honour as Royal Ascot.
But who are the most successful trainers and jockeys in the meeting’s history?
When the betting tips and analysis for Royal Ascot are published, whether it’s day one or day five of the festival you can rest assured that Aidan O’Brien’s horses will feature prominently.
Heading into the 2023 edition of Royal Ascot, O’Brien needed just two more winners at the meeting to become the most successful trainer in the event’s history.
Sir Michael Stoute is the current record holder with 82 victories, so even if O’Brien is only able to land one winner in 2023 – that seems incredibly pessimistic given his star-studded yard – he would join Stoute as the best in the business at the royal meeting.
Still only 53 years of age, it’s an absolute formality that O’Brien will become the most decorated trainer in Royal Ascot history – as you’d expect from a man who trained his first winner on the famous ground way back in 1997.
The irony is that O’Brien’s tally, whatever that ultimately one day becomes, may be usurped by somebody he knows very well: his own son, Joseph, who at the age of 30 has already trained winners of the Irish Derby, Irish Gold Cup, Melbourne Cup and the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
O’Brien junior has already opened his Royal Ascot account too in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes with State of Rest in 2022, with many more victories at the meeting surely set to follow.
Will anybody ever catch the incomparable Lester Piggott at Royal Ascot?
The legendary jockey rode a staggering 116 winners at the meeting, with eleven triumphs alone in the Ascot Gold Cup – one of the most prestigious races contested at the festival. Not only that but in Piggott’s pomp there were only 24 races held each year at Ascot, compared to the 35 that are available today.
It’s an amazing feat when you consider that one of the most prolific jockeys active in Flat racing today, Frankie Dettori, has ‘only’ ridden 77 winners (prior to the 2023 edition) in front of the royal family.
The 2023 meeting will be the final time that Frankie rides at Royal Ascot prior to his retirement, at which point the baton will be handed to Ryan Moore to try and haul in Piggott.
Moore, although less of a headline-maker than Dettori, has still racked up an impressive 73 winners at Royal Ascot. And at the age of 39, time is on his side as he seeks to add more high-profile wins to his collection.
As the first-choice jockey for Aidan O’Brien, opportunities to do exactly that won’t be in short supply. And they may yet combine to ensure O’Brien becomes the most successful trainer in the long lineage of Royal Ascot in 2023.