Tom Marquand living the dream as he revels in royal reunion at Ascot after winning the Coronation Stakes with Porta Fortuna - and he could meet the King again this weekend!

  • The Coronation Stakes delivered after being billed the meeting's standout race 
  • Donnacha O'Brien's filly mowed down Opera Singer, trained by his father Aidan
  • Jockey Tom Marquand received a compliment from the King and another trophy 

Tom Marquand had been in this position before but still he could not quite believe it was happening: a compliment from the King, another trophy for the collection.

With impeccable timing in the final furlong, Marquand had delivered Porta Fortuna to win the Coronation Stakes. It had been billed as a standout race of the meeting and it did not disappoint, as Donnacha O'Brien's filly mowed down Opera Singer, trained by his father Aidan.

Tradition dictates the monarch presents this prize and, as such, there were some butterflies when Marquand made his way to meet the King and Queen.

They remember him fondly for the ride he gave to Desert Hero 12 months ago, delivering the King's first Royal Ascot triumph as an owner. Once the formalities were over, Marquand made his way to a quiet corner and shook his head, thinking back to when he and his wife, jockey Hollie Doyle, were teenagers with stars in their eyes.

The dream was to ride at Royal Ascot and becoming major players still doesn't seem real.

tom marquand living the dream as he revels in royal reunion at ascot after winning the coronation stakes with porta fortuna - and he could meet the king again this weekend!

Tom Marquand won the Coronation Stakes with Porta Fortuna at Royal Ascot

tom marquand living the dream as he revels in royal reunion at ascot after winning the coronation stakes with porta fortuna - and he could meet the king again this weekend!

Marquand received a compliment from the King and another trophy for his collection

'It's so special to meet him,' said Marquand. 'I've got fantastic memories of what happened last year. Look, we all come to Royal Ascot primarily because of their presence. It flashed up on my Facebook the other day that Hollie and I were here 11 years ago, before we'd ridden in a race.

'We both looked a bit fresher and a bit more baby-faced then! But to be here doing this was the dream. We've both been fortunate to have a few winners down the years but to go up there and meet the King? It doesn't get much better.'

Who knows? He may meet him again on Saturday. Desert Hero, trained by William Haggas, contests the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes and, while he has his work cut out to beat hot favourite Continuous after a laboured effort at Epsom three weeks ago, stranger things have happened.

'It will be hard,' Marquand acknowledged. 'But my lad showed what he can do here last year, albeit in a handicap.

'He then stepped up in grade and handled it well. He wasn't in prime condition last time, as his first run of the season at Sandown took a bit out of him, but it's all to play for.'

tom marquand living the dream as he revels in royal reunion at ascot after winning the coronation stakes with porta fortuna - and he could meet the king again this weekend!

Donnacha O'Brien's filly mowed down Opera Singer, trained by his father Aidan, in style

And that's how it has been all week. Aidan O'Brien may be the leading trainer but not to the point of monopolising things and Friday was a case in point, as the winners were shared around - the standout being the majestic Inisherin in the Commonwealth Cup.

Sheik Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum had tasted success on the opening day with the fabulous Rosallion, but the ebullient owner said immediately afterwards that Inisherin had comparable talent and he was not wrong. Kevin Ryan's colt justified 9-4 favouritism in commanding style.

'He is a machine,' said jockey Tom Eaves, riding his first winner at this meeting since 2008.

'He's a unit of a horse. You saw how long it took me to pull up. He has a lot of class. He's quick and, when I got off him after the Guineas, before I had even opened my mouth Kevin said he was a sprinter.

'It has been a while between drinks here, since Big Timer won the Wokingham (16 years ago). It just shows how hard they are to come by.'

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