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Down Royal: Jessica chasing Ulster Derby hat-trick


Banksters Bonus, ridden by Shane Foley,  races home to win the  Magners Ulster Derby

Banksters Bonus, ridden by Shane Foley, races home to win the Magners Ulster Derby

Banksters Bonus, ridden by Shane Foley, races home to win the Magners Ulster Derby

 Jessica Harrington can go for the hat-trick in next year’s Magner’s Ulster Derby at Down Royal.

Banksters Bonus, a 9-2 shot, won the big race at a packed venue on Saturday — the concluding day of the summer festival — making it two victories in four years for the Kildare trainer after Fantoche’s triumph in 2008.

“Fantoche only just got home that day. This win was a lot easier and didn’t have me biting my nails for I knew as soon as Banksters Bonus hit the front he wasn’t going to stop.

“I was delighted with the way Shane Foley rode. I told him to settle the horse in the rear of the field and then come late.

“That’s exactly what he did and I had no sweat as soon as he drew alongside the leaders,” she explained.

John Oxx, another Kildare trainer, won the EBF Coolmore Stud Ulster Oaks for the third successive year thanks to Celendine’s victory.

The bridesmaid finally became the bride on the final day of Royal Ascot as Society Rock took top Saturday honours in the Golden Jubilee Stakes.

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James Fanshawe's charge was just under two lengths behind Starspangledbanner in the six-furlong heat last year but had subsequently lost his way.

However, the 25-1 shot made sure of his place in the record books as he handled the saturated ground in admirable style in the hands of Pat Cosgrave.

Fanshawe's versatility has seen him win Champion Hurdles, staying races, a July Cup and seven previous Royal Ascot races, but he was the first to admit it had been a while since the yard had bagged a prize of this size.

“We've had plenty of good days, but they haven't been for a while,” said Fanshawe.

“It's fantastic for Pat, and for owner Simon Gibson, who is recovering after a fall at home,” he added.

Society Rock was only seventh in last year's Darley July Cup, for which he is now 7-1, and Fanshawe said: “It depends on how the horse is, as he is best fresh.”

Fanshawe quickly made it a true red-letter day as he saddled Deacon Blues to land the follow

ing Wokingham Handicap under Johnny Murtagh.

“A double at Royal Ascot — it's been a brilliant day,” he added.

Aidan O'Brien was in double form, a factor which also helped him to be crowned leading trainer at the meeting.

O'Brien now has valid aspirations of claiming a first Breeders' Cup Classic after Await The Dawn stole the show in the Hardwicke Stakes.

The Ballydoyle trainer said: “We were always dreaming of the Breeders' Cup Classic — the dream is still alive.”

O'Brien and Ryan Moore, who was top jockey, also scored with Maybe in the Chesham Stakes.

Benburb trainer Jim Lambe had a double at Hexham yesterday courtesy of City Of Doral and Storm Breaker, while jockey Ruby Walsh had a double at Gowran Park with Fort George and Uncle Taffy.

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