sport

Atzeni breaks Royal Ascot duck

Andrea Atzeni claimed his first Royal Ascot victory when 14/1 chance Cursory Glance took the Albany Stakes.

The talented jockey has made great waves in the sport in the last couple of seasons and achieved a notable landmark as he brought the Roger Varian-trained winner through with a strong run to collar American filly Sunset Glow and Patience Alexander insider the final furlong.

She quickened clear to win impressively by a couple of lengths and earn a 16/1 quote from bookmakers Sky Bet for next year's 1000 Guineas.

There was strong money all day for David Wachman's Sexy Legs and she was sent off 9/2 joint-favourite with Patience Alexander, but she never looked like taking a hand in the finish.

Atzeni beamed: "It's great. I had some good rides through the week and I was hoping to get a winner.

"She wasn't the quickest out of the stalls but she travelled really good and from two (furlongs) down I got on the quarters of the American horse. She quickened away from me, but my filly has outstayed them. She's a very nice filly and we've always liked her."

Varian described the winner's performance as "good, very good".

"We thought she'd win and win well at Kempton," he said."She was very babyish, naughty at the gates and just ran green, but she's improved since then. She's always worked well.

"Fast ground was what she wanted it today. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I was saying earlier in the week Friday and Saturday were our bigger days. Friday has come along and we've had to start walking the walk, but we've always thought a lot of this filly.

"We think she'll get further. Andrea said he thought he might not get to the American filly (Sunset Glow), but he's outstayed her.

"I'm not sure where we'll go from here. We'll just digest this and take it from there."

Varian, recording the second Royal Ascot winner of his career, said: "It's terrific. To have winners here means everything and I think she's a very nice filly. I'm very excited for the owners.

"Her homework has been exceptional. She was very green when she won at Kempton and she's come on a lot."

Sunset Glow's trainer Wesley Ward was delighted, despite being unable to add to his tally for the week.

He said: "It was a gallant run. She's probably the most talented of the group I brought here this year.

"She likes fast ground - I walked it this morning and I was sinking in, it probably hadn't had enough time to dry out. I understand why they water for safe ground, but it's a killer.

"She'll stay a mile, and six furlongs at Ascot this early on is like running a mile."

Of Patience Alexander, trainer Dave Evans said: "She just got outstayed. A furlong out she looked the winner but she's a good filly. We could go to the Molecomb [at Goodwood back over five furlongs]."

Interestingly, both Ward and Evans were of the opinion that they might have beaten the winner had the race been staged on Wednesday before watering took place at the track.