The crowds flocked to a packed Town Moor on Saturday to see if King Charles and Queen Camilla’s 6-1 third favourite could end a 46-year wait for a Royal victory in Britain’s oldest and final Classic of the Flat season.
Failing that, all the late money came for the soon to retire Dettori and his partner Arrest (11-4 fav), after the Italian deserted intended mount Gregory for a horse better suited to the soft going.
But in the end it was O’Brien – who else? – and Ryan Moore with Continuous (3-1), the morning favourite until that late money for Arrest, who prevailed with a convincing
Winner of the Great Voltiger Stakes at York last month, stablemate Denmark set the pace from Gregory, while Moore was at pains to bide his time aboard Continuous alongside Desert Hero towards the rear of midfield.
But on turning for home Continuous showed his class up the long, stamina-sapping straight, working his way to the front two furlongs from home and surging clear to register a two-and-three-quarter-length success over Arrest.
Desert Hero and jockey Tom Marquand – who had a double on the card with Iberian (3-1) and La Yakel (13-8 fav), horses he highlighted in Saturday’s The Yorkshire Post – came home in third in front of the watching King and Queen, who got a raucous reception from the enthusiastic South Yorkshire crowd.
O'Brien said: “He got the distance very well in York and we were not sure about the distance but he has got it well again.
“There are a lot of possibilities and it will be down to the lads, the Arc is in two weeks and is a possibility, but we'll talk to Ryan and see what they want to do.”
Skipton-born William Haggas, trainer of the Royal runner said: “It's been a brilliant day and brilliant the King and the Queen have come, the crowd have embraced them, they seemed to have enjoyed it and they've been very enthusiastic.”
There was no fairytale farewell for Dettori who thought for a brief moment victory might be his.
He said: “I was actually getting excited between the three and the two and I thought I was going to win when I went by Gregory and then I looked over and saw Ryan and thought 'ah, I'm not going to'.”
Tom Scudamore steered I Still Have Faith to victory in the Vickers.Bet Leger Legends Classified Stakes on the final day of the four-day Leger meeting yesterday.
Scudamore, who retired earlier this year, was having his first ride in the mile race was sent off the 100-30 favourite. Recently-retired Paul Hanagan was second on Biplane (20-1), with Robbie Power third on Lion's Pride (12-1).
Karl Burke’s Poet Master (9-2) won the seven furlong Betfred City of Doncaster Handicap, while Swift Salian (7-2) took the one mile I Love Julie Parkes Nursery for Thirsk’s David and Nicola Barron.