Subjectivist won the Gold Cup by five lengths (Image: Getty)
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Subjectivist produced a brilliant display for Joe Fanning and Mark Johnston in the Gold Cup, the feature race of Royal Ascot.
Run over the marathon trip of two and a half miles, many expected three-time winner and 5-6 favourite Stradivarius to strike again, but it was the four-year-old Subjectivist who took the honours.
Fanning set sail for home entering the straight and never looked like being caught.
Princess Zoe outran her odds of 28-1 to take second place for Irish trainer Tony Mullins, five lengths behind the impressive winner. Spanish Mission (7/1) was a further half-length back in third.
Stradivarius briefly met trouble in running on the home bend and could never land a blow under Frankie Dettori, finishing fourth in the end.
Mark Johnston celebrated a fourth Gold Cup success following Royal Rebel (2001 , 2002) and Double Trigger (1995).
Jockey Joe Fanning with the Gold Cup
He said: "I was really happy throughout the race. We never tell the jockey to lead, we just say to go the pace that suits our horse and Joe is the master at it. When he is sitting second like that, settled and relaxed with a horse giving him a beautiful lead in front, I thought it was perfect.
“With half a mile to go, I knew we were going into new territory, but he hadn't asked for any effort yet. He had a beautiful ride round and we knew how he could finish from Dubai, and he did that again.
“I thought he was the best horse we've taken Stradivarius on with, but we had a scare just after the Dubai race, so he's missed quite a bit of work after that. The preparations have not been smooth in that 45 minutes after his run in Dubai, he was filling in one leg and we thought that would be serious. When he came home from Dubai, he had scans at Newmarket, so he had lots of time off. Then in Middleham last week, he skinned both knees and one hock. The only positive was that Attraction did a similar thing before winning the Queen Mary and that didn't stop her either."
Fanning said: "It was a steady pace, but he was relaxed, which was the main thing. In Dubai the race collapsed in front and I took it up, and I thought six down he was starting to push a bit in front, but I was never going to take him back. It was always the plan that if he wanted to roll on, let him roll on. Five out and before the home bend, I was able to get breathers into him to fill him up, and I thought it would take a very good one to get by him.
“Mark is a great man to ride for. Charlie is there now and the staff have been there for years – it’s a great team. I went to Mark after my apprenticeship, I think my first winner was for him in about 1991, and I went full-time in 1995. A few years ago! It’s great for the yard and Dr Jim [Walker], who has been a brilliant owner with us for years.
Subjectivist ridden by jockey Joe Fanning wins the 2021 Gold Cup
“It was nice to get such a reception from the other jockeys when I came in – they are a great bunch of lads. It’s great to be here in a big race with the crowd back.”
Dettori said he struggled to get a clear run aboard Stradivarius.
“I ran into a pocket turning for home," he explained.
"When you get stopped in a two-and-half-mile race, you never get going again. The winner’s a good winner, but I’d love to have had another shot at it.”
Apart from Mohaafeth in the Hampton Court Stakes (11-8f), it was another tricky day for punters.
There were three 18-1 winners, with Highfield Princess impressing racegoers in the finale, the Buckingham Palace Stakes.
Full results of day three of Royal Ascot 2021
1. Perfect Power 14-1
2. Go Bears Go 6-1
3. Project Dante 6-1
1. Mohaafeth 11-8f
2. Roman Empire 14-1
3. Secret Protector 11-1
1. Loving Dream 18-1
2. Eshaada 17-2
3. Nicest 28-1
1. Subjectivist 13-2
2. Princess Zoe 28-1
3. Spanish Mission 7-1
1. Perotto 18-1
2. Liffey River 20-1
3. Quintillus 28-1
4. Dubai Honour 28-1
1. Surefire 5-1
2. Sir Lamorak 4-1f
3. Parachute 16-1
4. Siskany 15-2
1. Highfield Princess 18-1
2. Danyah 10-1
3. Riot 18-1
4. Lord Rapscallion 25-1