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Charyn runs out clear-cut Queen Anne winner

Charyn arrives at the winning postCharyn arrives at the winning post
© Photo Healy Racing

Charyn ran out a decisive winner of the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, the opening race of the 2024 meeting.

Trained by Roger Varian and ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, the four-year-old has progressed at a rate of knots this season and went one better than last time out in the Lockinge at Newbury to win as the 100-30 favourite.

The race was something of a strange spectacle as two of the French raiders, Big Rock and Facteur Cheval, raced on their own on the far side, while the rest of the field followed Robert Havlin on Lockinge winner Audience.

De Sousa was not as far behind Audience as he had been at Newbury and looked to be holding all the aces with two furlongs to run when he kicked on. Hayley Turner and Docklands gave admirable chase to claim a clear second, beaten two and a quarter lengths, while Maljoom ran on for third, as Charyn claimed the first Group One victory of his career.

Varian said: “It doesn’t get any better, a Group One at Royal Ascot. I’m so delighted. I’m really so delighted for his owner (Nurlan Bizakov), who has invested so much in the game, he’s supported me for a number of years.

“I’m delighted for my team, everyone works so hard at home. It’s a great day and we’ll enjoy it.

“You have to say he’s improved as he’s got older. He ran some fine races in defeat last year, he was in the biggest races, on the top table and he didn’t disgrace himself.

“He seems to have found another level of form this year. His run in the Lockinge last time was an outstanding run, and he’s confirmed that today, so I’m thrilled.

“Silvestre is convinced he will stay a mile and a quarter, and I kind of agree with him, but he’s not doing much wrong over a mile at the moment, so I wouldn’t be in a rush to change things.”

He went on: “He’s obviously improved with age, but he was a good two-year-old – he was a Group Two-winning two-year-old, he has done it through the ages. You only have to look at him in the paddock physically to see how mature he is, he’s a bull of a horse, and that is fantastic.

“He has been good all year, at Doncaster and then Sandown, and he ran a great race in the Lockinge where he came right away from all the horses he raced with. I need to watch it again, but he looked pretty good today, and it’s exciting.

“At Doncaster and Sandown he maybe had to run to the level he showed last year to win them, but I think even with defeat in the Lockinge, his run told us he was a Group One horse and today confirmed it.

“It’s a good start to the week and he deserved that, he’s been great all year. He’s a fine horse, very consistent and seems to be thriving.

On future plans, he added: “He’s well entered up and we need to decide what we do with him.

“He started early and his first race was at Doncaster in March, so I don’t think we can go bang, bang, bang all summer. We would love to be back here for Champions Day later in the season, with a couple of races along the way during the summer.”

Of his relationship with De Sousa, Varian said: “We have an arrangement with James (Doyle), but every owner is independent and James will ride a lot of horses this year who won’t be in our stable.

“Nurlan was keen to keep Silvestre on Charyn after his winning start at Doncaster and it was Nurlan’s decision to keep him on right the way through.

“We are very fond of Silvestre as a person and he is riding at the top of his game. He delivered a Guineas (on Elmalka) for us when James was out of the country so he has taken his chances, but we are in a spoilt position this year of being able to use James and Silvestre and not to mention a hard-working team of supporting jockeys back home.”

For De Sousa it was confirmation of a return to the very top in Britain, after his spell in Hong Kong ended prematurely following a 10-month suspension imposed for breaching betting rules.

He said: “He’s a lovely horse, he appreciates a bit more give, but he’s a horse who has been running great races and deserves to get one of these big ones.

“It’s great and I can’t believe how things are going. A Classic win in Italy and in England and now a Group One again and at Ascot, it is amazing.

“I’m just thrilled how things are going for me.”