O'Brien equals record at Ascot, Cracksman storms to Champions Stake victory
Hydrangea gave Aidan O'Brien a world record-equalling Group or Grade One winner before Cracksman blew the field away to win the Champion Stakes as Frankie Dettori claimed a British Champions Day double at Ascot on Saturday.
O'Brien needed one victory in the final meeting of the flat racing season in Europe to match Bobby Frankel's tally of 25 in a calendar year and Hydrangea delivered at 4-1 in the Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes.
The three-year-old filly, stepping up to a mile and a half for the first time, hit the front under Ryan Moore and saw off the challenge of favourite Bateel in testing conditions to stay on and take O'Brien to the magical quarter-century mark.
"It's incredible for everyone, everyone puts in a lot of hard work day in, day out," said Irishman O'Brien.
"We're a small link in a big chain and we're so proud and delighted for everybody. It's a special day."
A moment to savour for Aidan O'Brien-- Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) October 21, 2017
Dettori was able to celebrate a first Champions Stake triumph when 13-8 favourite Cracksman, son of the legendary Frankel, put on a show in the richest race day on the British racing calendar
Just a few weeks after Dettori won a record fifth Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe aboard Enable, the Italian and John Gosden were celebrating another huge victory after Cracksman stormed clear to win by seven lengths.
Highland Reel was unable to break new ground and claim victory number 26 for O'Brien when it was third under Moore behind Poet's Word.
Dettori and Gosden also teamed up for a victory up in the previous race, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, as Persuasive claimed a first Group One win in her final attempt.
Order Of St George started the day with a Group Two British Champions Long Distance Cup success for O'Brien and Moore, while Librisa Breeze took the British Champions Sprint Stakes.