Waipiro runs out impressive winner of the Hampton Court Stakes

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Ed Walker had a simple message for his friend, fellow trainer Tom Morley, as he prepared to run his horse in Tuesday’s Queen Mary – enjoy yourself because winning at Ascot is impossible.

Walker was speaking from experience. Having landed his first Royal Ascot winner with Agrotera in the 2018 Sandringham Stakes, Walker has since endured a barren run where even those runners he felt were strong chances managed to find at least one opponent too good.

The trainer knew coming into this year’s Hampton Court Stakes he had a horse who had the talent to win. Waipiro had been second in the Lingfield Derby Trial and an unlucky sixth in the Derby.

However, experience told him to be cautious, especially with the Hampton Court coming a mere 19 days after Epsom. Walker need not have worried, as Waipiro displayed all his class to take victory for Tom Marquand and owner Pak-kwan Siu.

“It’s without doubt the hardest place in the world to win races at, so we’re pleased to have been able to do so today,” Walker said. “My good friend, Tom Morley, came over with a runner in the Queen Mary this year. I told him to make sure he enjoyed himself, enjoyed the ride, because his horse was not going to win – nobody wins at Ascot.

“We had quite a lot of seconds last year, we had a second in the Duke of Cambridge yesterday, so it’s been frustrating. You don’t realise how hard it is to win here and you come to learn it.”

He added: “We were a bit worried about the closeness to the Derby; we had a lot of discussions about it. There was a lack of options for him but we were worried it could come too soon. Not many horses run in the Derby and are able to perform 19 days later.”

For Marquand, Waipiro completed a memorable 151-1 double after he had provided the King and Queen with their first Royal Ascot success on Desert Hero in the King George V Stakes.

“This is magical, it couldn’t get any better,” Marquand said. “In the Derby I got too far back and with how the race panned out he just didn’t stay. But he is a good horse; it was as simple as that.

“Ed retained the faith in him and fair play to him. It’s lovely to ride a winner at Royal Ascot for him. As a trainer he’s been great to me and I can always go for a coffee and a chat with him. I’m delighted to repay that faith on such an important occasion.”

Courtesy of Racing Post