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Favourite Charyn surges home under Silvestre de Sousa to land Queen Anne at Royal Ascot

If Royal Ascot is the pinnacle, then Charyn is definitely a winner who has fought his way to the Group 1 summit after a string of good performances at a lower level and a career punctuated by excellent efforts in some of the biggest mile races. 

Yet there was an air of inevitability about the way he stamped his authority over his rivals as Silvestre de Sousa swept to the front at the furlong marker and always looked likely to end a royal meeting drought dating back to 2020. 

Docklands ran a mighty race to be second under Hayley Turner, while Maljoom and Tom Marquand overcame a tardy start to run on for third but, blazing a separate trail up the far side, the two leading French fancies, Big Rock and Facteur Cheval, were both soundly beaten before race tactics or track bias could come into play. 

Carrying the blue and yellow silks of Nurlan Bizakov, De Sousa has been an increasingly important part of the Roger Varian operation since returning from a suspension which ended his time in Hong Kong, and was adding a Queen Anne to Elmalka's narrow triumph in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas.

De Sousa said: "Wow, it's amazing. Roger had a lot of belief in this horse and so did I. What I did there was very little. I just sat there and waited for the right moment but he won quite nicely. He's such a gentleman and you just have to ask him the question."

De Sousa added: "Sometimes I have to pinch myself but I keep working hard and try to achieve new things."

Charyn has been a flagbearer in the first half of the season for Bizakov, who splits his racing interests between Britain and France, and is now likely to be eyeing a box in his Sumbe stallion yard in Normandy for the son of Dark Angel at the end of his racing career.

"It's not easy to win a Group 1 at Royal Ascot and I never, never thought I would get it,2 said Bizakov. "Roger Varian is my principal trainer here in England. Roger and [his wife] Hanako, we're like a family."

For Varian there was immense satisfaction that a horse who was third in last season's St James's Palace Stakes was able to finally fulfil his Group 1 potential, albeit he kicked off this campaign in a Listed race on the undercard to the Lincoln Handicap.

"He's owned by Nurlan Bizakov, who is a very ambitious man, and we campaigned him ambitiously last year, believing he was a good horse," said Varian. "He kept bumping into a horse called Paddington."

Varian added: "He ran a fine race in the Lockinge when he came right away from all the horses he raced with. I need to watch it again but he looked pretty good today. 

"He wintered well and trained lovely in the spring, and we were always going to drop him a level to get him winning again. He was great at Newbury and it was very satisfying today for him to confirm what he did in the Lockinge. 

"You could argue that at Doncaster and Sandown he only had to run to the level he did in his good performances last year to win those races. Even in defeat his run in the Lockinge told us he was a Group 1 horse and today he confirmed it, so it's very satisfying."

Betfair went 4-1 (from 10) about Charyn in the Sussex Stakes, although Varian cautioned that he would need to get a break into the colt at some stage during the summer. 

"He's well entered up and we have to decide where to go with him. He started early in March, so I don't think we can go bang, bang, bang through the summer. We'd love to be back here in October for Champions Day, with one or two races along the way in the summer."

Racing Post 2024/06/18


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