O'Brien junior edges out father for crowning moment at Royal Ascot

For once, Aidan O'Brien had to settle for second best in the feature race at Royal Ascot with his son Donnacha training the winner Porta Fortuna (Ben Stansall)
For once, Aidan O'Brien had to settle for second best in the feature race at Royal Ascot with his son Donnacha training the winner Porta Fortuna (Ben Stansall)

A pair of Irish fathers and sons dominated the penultimate day of Royal Ascot on Friday, trainer Donnacha O'Brien stealing his father Aidan O'Brien's thunder and Colin Keane riding a winner for his father Gerard.

Porta Fortuna had provided Donnacha, 25, with his only other Royal Ascot winner last year and she showed how much she likes the track in passing Aidan's Opera Singer to take the Group One Coronation Stakes.

It prevented Aidan from a hat-trick of feature race successes, having won the Prince of Wales's Stakes (with Auguste Rodin) and then the Ascot Gold Cup (Kyprios) on Wednesday and Thursday.

Porta Fortuna had finished second in the English 1000 Guineas but she surged to the top of the filly miler rankings after this.

She left her major rivals trailing in her wake including French favourite Ramatuelle -- owned by former NBA All-Star Tony Parker -- who was third and the English and French 1000 Guineas winners Elmalka (fourth) and Rouhiya (ninth and last).

It was jockey Tom Marquand's sixth Royal Ascot victory and few had tasted sweeter -- his wife and fellow jockey Hollie Doyle raised her thumb to him as she eased up on sixth-placed Folgaria.

"These rides are hard enough to come by, let alone to keep them, and I'm very fortunate to be on board her today," said Marquand.

"Donnacha and the team's family are woven into racing history but they are a young team, in reality, so to be on one for them is fantastic."

Aidan was ecstatic about his son's success.

"I am so delighted for Donnacha," said the 54-year-old, who is going to aim Opera Singer at Europe's most prestigious prize, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in October.

"He has done an incredible job with the filly."

- 'Out of a hole' -

Keane guided home Crystal Black to win the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap for the quartet of Irish owners who make up the Wear A Pink Ribbon Syndicate, named in honour of a cancer victim.

One of the quartet launched into a song in the winners' enclosure -- a rare event in the staid setting -- as Crystal Black was led away and the Keanes had hugged each other.

"It's a dream for us," said Colin, who recommended the horse to the syndicate.

"It is a very special day to ride a Royal Ascot winner for my father," said Colin.

Gerard joked he thought it would be more likely he would have a Cheltenham Festival horse than a Royal Ascot winner.

"He's (Crystal Black) pretty good and he's not too bad either," he said, referring to his son.

The other Group One race the Commonwealth Cup went to Inisherin, giving jockey Tom Eaves his first win at the meeting since he won the Wokingham Stakes in 2008.

Inisherin did not let his connections down after they backed by paying £46,000 ($58,000) to supplement him for the race, the £411,000 providing a rich return on the investment.

Moore and O'Brien did not leave Ascot empty-handed as they teamed up to win their fifth race of the week, the Group Three Albany Stakes.

Fairy Godmother produced a stunning burst of acceleration to get up in the dying strides and win.

The race favourite had drifted to 25/1 during the race as she was behind a whole host of horses and Moore had to come round them, but once she saw daylight she was unstoppable.

O'Brien's relief was palpable as he blew out his cheeks in the parade ring.

"She got me out of a hole, after I set her an impossible task," said Moore.

France have found the meeting fallow ground in recent years but Francis-Henri Graffard gave his country their first since 2019, Calandagan producing an exhilarating performance in the 'Ascot Derby', the King Edward VII Stakes.

"Training a racehorse is a rollercoaster," said Graffard.

"I was so down after Rouhiya finished last in the Coronation and now I finish on a high."