Idaho the Hardwicke hero

Idaho and jockey Seamie Heffernan in full flight

The Queen's Dartmouth finished a fading fourth as Idaho claimed top honours in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dartmouth carried Her Majesty's silks to a memorable victory in the Group Two contest 12 months ago and was the 9-4 favourite to repeat the feat in the hands of Ryan Moore.

For much of the mile-and-a-half journey everything seemed to be going according to plan, with Dartmouth getting a nice lead from the front-running Dal Harraild.

The crowd cheered as Dartmouth travelled powerfully into the home straight, but his effort was relatively short lived and he was ultimately well-beaten in fourth.

Aidan O'Brien's Idaho, a full-brother to Wednesday's Prince of Wales's Stakes winner Highland Reel, was sent off at 9-2 under Seamie Heffernan.

The four-year-old followed Dartmouth to the two-furlong marker before being asked to go about his business and he galloped all the way to the line to score by half a length.

Barsanti finished strongly on the outside of the field to finish second ahead of Chemical Charge in third.

The win secured top trainer honours for the week for O'Brien.

Idaho slipped up when odds-on favourite in the St Leger in September and was last seen finishing sixth behind Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

O'Brien said: "We're delighted. He's a full-brother to Highland Reel and we always loved him.

"It was his first run of the year in the Coronation Cup. He only arrived at the track an hour before and he was very upset.

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"He was very unlucky in the St Leger last year when he unseated Seamus, you couldn't believe it, he was coming down the straight on the bridle.

"He's by Galileo and they don't know when to stop improving or stop trying. It's very possible he'll progress, there's plenty of races for him. I think he gets a mile and a half well, he galloped out very well and those races are open to him.

"It (King George) is a possibility for him, the lads will decide what they want to do in a week or 10 days, but it's a very strong possibility.

"Seamus gave him a peach of a ride, he's a world-class rider. He timed his run to perfection."

On being crowned leading trainer, O'Brien added: "We're obviously in a very privileged position to be working with such people and horses.

"It's a lot of hard work by a lot of people day in and day out.

"I'm very lucky to be able to go home every night (from Ascot). We're at home at 8.30pm every night and it's great to be able to do it.

"We look forward to going home, seeing the horses in the morning and then come racing. It's marvellous really."

Barsanti's trainer Roger Varian said: "We are delighted with the horse and are very proud of him. It's a career-best.

"It is a bit disappointing that he ran so well and didn't win. I think the draw beat him. When he got into the straight he got kicked out even wider by Western Hymn.

"Well done to the winner, but I think our horse has run a mighty race. We will get him home and see how he is but he has got lots of options. We will try and get him back on the winning trail.

"I always thought last year he could be an Australian horse – as in a Cup horse. I think he has got that profile

"He is a gelding that goes on fast ground and has got a touch of class. He is not slow either."

The third home, Chemical Charge, is trained by Ralph Beckett.

He said: "It's a career-best. We thought the fast ground and the straight here would suit him. We will probably go travelling with him and I can see him running in America.

"Probably long term something like the Canadian International might be for him."

Stoute made no excuses for Dartmouth, saying: "I thought it was going well until they got serious. He was just not good enough today."


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