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Ascot glory for Spencer

ALL SMILES: Richard Spencer had a first ever winner at Royal Ascot
ALL SMILES: Richard Spencer had a first ever winner at Royal Ascot

Newmarket trainer Richard Spencer, in just his second-season with a licence, saddled his first Royal Ascot runner — and winner — when Rajasinghe landed the Group 2 Coventry Stakes in course-record time this afternoon.

In a tense finish, Spencer’s two-year-old got to the line a head in front of Headway, with Murillo a neck further adrift in third.

Speaking to ITV Sport, the Albert House Stables trainer said: “Words can’t describe how I feel, but he’s a top horse and we’ve liked him from day one.

“We sent him to Newcastle (for his only previous run) and thought he would take a lot of beating, and he wasn’t cooked for that run.

“He’s going to stay further. My assistant Johnny Bailey has been asking that they extend Warren Hill and Long Hill because every day he rides him the horse just tanks. He’s great natured, and tough.”

As well as Spencer, the victory was also a first for experienced jockey Stevie Donohoe, who piloted Rajasinghe home in 1:12.39 — an Ascot best for a two-year-old.

Donohoe said: “He’s been impressing at home and he won with some authority on his only start at Newcastle, and it rode a good race. He’d done everything right.

“All the statistics about me as jockey and Richard having his first runner at Royal Ascot probably hindered his chances on price.

“This is one of the highlights of my career — just having a ride on the big days is hard enough, let alone a winner.”

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