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Home first: Adam Kirby and Golden Horde win the Commonwealth Cup during day four of Royal Ascot

Home first: Adam Kirby and Golden Horde win the Commonwealth Cup during day four of Royal Ascot

PA

Hollie Doyle

Hollie Doyle

PA

Home first: Adam Kirby and Golden Horde win the Commonwealth Cup during day four of Royal Ascot

It only takes one horse to make Royal Ascot a special occasion and Golden Horde ensured Adam Kirby will treasure this year's meeting after storming to glory in the Commonwealth Cup.

While several of his weighing-room colleagues can expect to ride multiple winners at the big fixture year on year, finding just a single horse good enough to be a live contender is a challenge for most, given the level of competition.

But in trainer Clive Cox, the 31-year-old has an ally that has helped supply him with a number of horses for the big occasion and the pair teamed up to great effect once again as the son of Lethal Force gained a deserved first Group One triumph in the six-furlong feature.

Kirby said: "I'm very fortunate and I'm very lucky that I have been on a lot of very good sprinters, and I'm lucky to have Clive around me as he is a top man and we get on very well.

"These big winners need to come because the show needs to go on. It's just a great feeling when you can get a decent horse.

"You owe them the world, as it is very hard to get a special one. When you get a good one it makes it all worthwhile.

"Fitness would not be a problem for one of Clive's as he is no fool. He had him right. All credit goes to Clive, all I have to do is steer them."

Though Golden Horde was not winning out of turn having twice been placed in Group One company last year, Kirby hopes he can continue improving with age like his sire, a horse who provided the pair with victory in the 2013 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal meeting.

Kirby said: "He did deserve it. He was unfortunate to get beat in the Middle Park. We got beat by an exceptional horse on the day in Earthlight. When he won at Goodwood it was an exceptional performance. You can't take anything away from the horse, he is rock solid.

"It is a very hard question to say which of the different sprinters was best of them all, each one of them was very good.

"This fellow is exactly the same as his father. He has got a high cruising speed and he lengthens. He will improve again next year, like his father did."

Celebrations this week have been very low key for obvious reasons, but Kirby hopes to find a way of commemorating his latest Group One victory when the time is right.

He said: "When you get in a finish and you start knuckling down you don't really think about the crowd and the roar. It is just about you and the horse for the last furlong and a half, and you wouldn't think of anything else apart from getting across the line.

"When you pull up and they are not there it does feel different. I'm not sure how I celebrate this, we will cross that bridge when we get to it as they say."

Meanwhile, Hollie Doyle claimed her first Royal Ascot win on 33/1 shot Scarlet Dragon.

Doyle rode Scarlet Dragon to victory in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes to join Gay Kellaway and Hayley Turner on the Ascot roll of honour.

"This means a huge amount and it gets a monkey off my back," she said.

"You arrive every year with high hopes, but it's very hard to get winners. This is the icing on the cake."

Doyle already holds the record for number of winners ridden in a calendar year by a woman after her 116 victories in 2019.

And it was a happy reunion with the Alan King-trained Scarlet Dragon, who she rode to victory as an apprentice for her first big handicap win at Newmarket in 2016.

"I can't really put it into words and there are so many people to thank," added the 23-year-old.

"Hayley has been there and done it and ridden Group One winners.

"I can hardly imagine doing that myself, but I know it's possible one day.

"My aim is to improve year on year ability-wise so I've been lucky to get the opportunities, but I've still got a long way to go."

Belfast Telegraph