Watch a full replay of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, Tom Queally's interview with Rishi Persad and Tom Peacock's piece from Royal Ascot.
“There’s no man better in the big races than Tom,” said James Fanshawe after his jockey’s ride on The Tin Man in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
It is nearly five years since the halcyon days of Frankel, whose own offspring are now running in the Classics. The 32-year-old Tom Queally had become a largely forgotten man until coming in from the cold at this course last October, steering The Tin Man to victory in the British Champions Sprint.
Queally spoke that day of how he “probably got more of a kick out of this winner than any of the big winners I've had - when you go through a bit of a drought it means a bit more.”
Once back home tonight, one imagines he will feel similarly. Queally has not completely disappeared - he managed to pick up seven Royal Ascot rides this week - but the Champions Day performance was not exactly the jolt his career needed. This was still only the 12th winner he has managed all year.
"I'm riding as good now as I was then (when Frankel was racing) and I will be for a few more years,” he said.
"The Tin Man is a pretty great horse and exceptional in this division. He stamped his authority on them there.
“You’re only as good as the horse you’re on and it’s nice to have a horse of this calibre to come to the big meetings with. This is what it’s all about.”
Queally did have to suffer a stewards’ inquiry of around 15 minutes as officials looked into the interference between The Tin Man and third-placed Limato, and consequently the runner-up Tasleet. The rider was given a two-day ban for careless riding in failing to take corrective action when his horse started to drift away from the whip.
However, it was notable that there were no sour grapes from the beaten connections and Queally had still given The Tin Man a fine ride. He got the sprinter settled, made a move to the rail a furlong out and galvanised an irresistible surge from his mount.
Queally has been aboard for every one of the horse’s 13 starts aside from his debut and no-one seems to understand him better, as seven wins attest.
Queally’s last Royal Ascot winner was Riposte in the 2013 Ribblesdale Stakes, a particularly poignant one in the colours of Frankel’s owner Prince Khalid Abdullah and trained by Lady Jane Cecil, having taken over the running of Warren Place stables a few days after the death of Sir Henry Cecil.
He did not particularly want to go back down memory lane when pressed, and spoke instead about the present.
“James is an exceptional trainer, he’s had less than a handful of runners this week and that’s not by choice, it’s because he wants to run horses that can win them. He’s a talented trainer and if he had 20 horses that were capable of being here, they’d be here.
“I’m delighted for all the team, Jacko (Fanshawe’s wife) - and all the team. The Fred Archer Syndicate (owners) is her initiative - the people in the office, on the yard, day in, day out.
“It’s hard to get rides, it’s hard to get runners and it’s even harder to have winners, so it’s fantastic.”
In another interview with an overseas television station, Queally eased a little.
“I’ve always been very lucky,” he said philosophically. “And I’d rather be lucky than good.”
On Saturday, he was both.
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