Zone Interview: Late jockey Vassell Najair remembered as someone you could trust and for his 'old ways'

By October 09, 2018
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Brilliant Blue Point lands Royal Ascot double Brilliant Blue Point lands Royal Ascot double

    Jubilant jockey James Doyle hailed Blue Point as an "unbelievable" horse after the five-year-old won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes to complete a Royal Ascot double.

    After landing the King's Stand Stakes on Tuesday, winning that race for a second year, the Godolphin-owned horse triumphed in Saturday's showpiece race by a head from the fast-finishing Dream Of Dreams.

    Kachy, who finished third, had set a rapid early pace, but Blue Point, trained by Charlie Appleby, took over at the front and the 6-4 favourite held on as Dream Of Dreams came barrelling up behind.

    Doyle said: "That was pretty special. He gave me an unbelievable feeling.

    "I said to Charlie after his last piece of work before the King's Stand that he's probably one of the quickest horses I've ever ridden and he certainly is that.

    "It got a little bit hairy late on. The other day I was able to do things all by myself without any pressure but Kachy went off at a hell of a pace, and this fella is just so genuine, all he wanted to do was chase him down."

    Choisir in 2003 was the last horse to win both Group 1 races at the meeting, and Doyle said the achievement by Blue Point "earmarks him as a real champion".

    Defoe, the 11-4 favourite, fended off Nagano Gold to take victory in the Hardwicke Stakes, where last year's Derby winner Masar finished fifth.

    Cape Byron landed the Wokingham Stakes to justify his 7-2 favourite status, while Daniel Tudhope - later aboard Dream Of Dreams - rode 25-1 shot Space Traveller to victory in the Jersey Stakes.

    Pinatubo, another Appleby-trained horse, edged out favourite Lope Y Fernandez in the Chesham Stakes, while Cleonte was the 7-2 winner of the final race of the festival, the Queen Alexandra Stakes.

  • Hayley's retirement U-turn pays off at Royal Ascot Hayley's retirement U-turn pays off at Royal Ascot

    Hayley Turner became only the second female jockey to ride a Royal Ascot winner and Ryan Moore landed a double on the penultimate day of the famous meeting.

    Thirty-two years after Gay Kelleway claimed a historic win aboard Sprowston Boy, Turner came out of the pack to claim victory in the Sandringham Stakes on Thanks Be.

    Turner quit in 2015 but resumed her career last year after serving a three-month ban for breaching betting rules and her decision to come out of retirement has certainly paid off.

    Thanks Be's triumph at 33/1 was also a first at Royal Ascot for trainer Charlie Fellowes on Friday.

    Turner said: "Gay Kelleway is obviously the first and great respect to her, but it's nice the girls' changing rooms are full now. It was only a matter of time. It's a great winner for Charlie Fellowes as well.

    "She had eight stone so I missed my tea and breakfast but it was certainly worth it."

    The 6/4 Aidan O'Brien-trained favourite Japan earlier proved to be a class apart when bolting up to win the King Edward VII Stakes under Moore at 6/4.

    Moore took his tally of wins for the week to five when he steered Baghdad (7/2) - saddled by Mark Johnston - home in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.

    Watch Me, trained by Francis Graffard and ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot, sprung a 20/1 surprise in the Coronation Stakes, denying the well-fancied Hermosa in a setback for Moore and O'Brien.

    Frankie Dettori claimed his seventh win of the meeting a day after his famous four-timer, striking on Advertise (8/1) in the Commonwealth Cup, while Daahyeh - ridden by David Egan - took the Albany Stakes for Roger Varian.

  • Dettori strikes gold with Stradivarius and lands astonishing four-timer Dettori strikes gold with Stradivarius and lands astonishing four-timer

    Stradivarius retained the Gold Cup as Frankie Dettori lit up Royal Ascot with an astonishing 449/1 four-timer to bash the bookmakers on Ladies' Day.

    Dettori claimed a double on Wednesday and raised the roof time and again on another dream day for the esteemed Italian at a course where he won all seven races in a meeting back in 1996.

    The John Gosden-trained Stradivarius bolted up to become the first horse since the great Yeats a decade ago to successfully defend the Gold Cup - sending 60,000 racegoers who were witnessing something special into a frenzy.

    Dettori already had a treble in the bag by the time the five-year-old superstar, an even-money favourite, escaped from being cramped for room to charge up and beat Dee Ex Bee by a length.

    "What an amazing horse, he's got me out of trouble. He's a horse for the occasion and I love him dearly," Dettori told ITV Racing after winning the biggest race of the meeting for a seventh time.

    A seventh consecutive win for the magnificent Stradivarius made it four from four for Dettori, but he was denied a perfect day when he finished second behind Biometric (28/1) aboard the unsurprisingly well backed Turgenev in the Britannia Stakes.

    Turgenev led a big field in the one-mile sprint until Biometric - trained by Ralph Beckett - stormed past under Harry Bentley on good to soft ground.

    The Simon Crisford-trained A'Ali (5/1) got Dettori off to a winning start in the Norfolk Stakes and he doubled up his tally for the week when Sangarius (13/2), saddled by Michael Stoute, took the honours in the Hampton Court Stakes.

    There was no stopping Dettori as Star Catcher (4/1) landed the Ribblesdale Stakes before Stradivarius took the spoils yet again, sending Gosden into the winners' enclosure for the second time of the day.

    Aidan O'Brien celebrated a one-two-three in a King George V Stakes that was won by South Pacific after Biometric's success, but that did not take any gloss of a glorious day for Dettori with the Queen watching on.

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