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Asfoora powers to victory for Australia in King Charles III

Asfoora powers to victory for Australia in King Charles III
Asfoora powers to victory for Australia in King Charles III

Australian sprinting star Asfoora justified the long journey across the globe to power to King Charles III Stakes glory.

Henry Dwyer’s charge had finished fourth on her British debut in the Temple Stakes at Haydock last month, but she clearly enjoyed the faster ground at Royal Ascot to become Australia’s sixth winner of this race by a length.

Market leader Big Evs (Tom Marquand) quickly took control of the five-furlong contest, but there was no stopping Asfoora once she made her move towards the closing stages.

At the furlong marker the daughter of Australian star Flying Artie sat alongside the early leader before clicking into top gear for Oisin Murphy to bolt ahead and score at 5-1, with Ed Bethell’s Regional (Callum Rodriguez) claiming second ahead of the Mick Appleby-trained 11-4 favourite Big Evs.

Asfoora joins Choisir (2003), Takeover Target (2006), Miss Andretti (2007), Scenic Blast (2009) and Nature Strip (2022) on the Australian roll of honour in what was formerly the King’s Stand Stakes.

Asfoora and Oisin Murphy after winning the King Charles III Stakes
Asfoora and Oisin Murphy after winning the King Charles III Stakes (David Davies/PA)

A jubilant Dwyer said: “We’ve got so many people here – not only the owners of Asfoora, but 40 or 50 of my owners from home who would saw the end of their leg off to have a runner at Royal Ascot. It’s amazing. I think there will be the mother of all parties tonight!

“We needed a lead-up run at Haydock, so she came over early, but just with the changing of seasons, we wanted to be here before it was too cold in Australia and too warm over here. We came over in the nice interchange period, and we need not have worried because she settled in brilliantly, and the proof was in the pudding today.

“That was my third Group One winner. To do it here, at Royal Ascot, is just amazing.”

Dwyer continued: “We’ve got a good stable but it is very hard to find these horses when you only have 40 or 50 in work. We don’t expect to have these owners and it’s an absolute luxury to have them and for the owner to trust me.

“It’s such a gamble bringing her over and it is such an expensive trip. We’re getting a bit of help from Ascot, but it is still expensive and the owner is funding it. Hopefully we’ve paid our way today.

“It is sublime and some great names from Australia who have won here have trained over 150 Group One winners and that’s only my third. To do it in Europe, and at Royal Ascot, is brilliant.

“I’ve never been here with a runner before but it’s a bit more fun winning than watching. This meeting brings the best of the best from around the world together and who would have thought I would get to meet King Charles – it’s amazing.”

Winning trainer Henry Dwyer at Ascot
Winning trainer Henry Dwyer at Ascot (John Walton/PA)

Murphy was impressed with the mare’s attitude in victory and delighted to have had the opportunity to ride.

He said: “When push came to shove she was very gutsy because I wasn’t sure and the other group with Big Evs was a long way in front of me. I have to admire her tenacity to go and run them down.

“It’s special to be a part of and it’s a very difficult feat to bring her over here at this time of year when it is approaching the Australian winter and prepare her – Henry has done a top job.

The King and Oisin Murphy chat during the trophy presentation
The King and Oisin Murphy during the trophy presentation (David Davies/PA)

“It was great that they thought of me and to win for them was really great. When I sat on her, they publicised the times and we didn’t go very fast at all, so it was very hard for me to say I would win the King Charles III Stakes beforehand off the back of that.

“I was unsure at halfway when I said go, but she really picked up and ran on well.

“To be presented with the trophy by the King was a privilege and it was great to get the opportunity.”

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