Rachel King goes close at Royal Ascot

Rachel King nearly gained the perfect wedding present on Day 4 at Royal Ascot when Strutting was passed close to home in the Sandringham Stakes, which was run in the early hours of Saturday morning, Australian time.

The English-born jockey has become something of a star in Australia since moving permanently Down Under and delayed her honeymoon to make her Royal Ascot debut just days after walking down the aisle.

King returned to her birthplace to marry Luke Hilton, racing manager to Sydney trainer Bjorn Baker, in Oxford last Sunday and the 33-year-old – who has ridden over 600 winners, five of them at Group 1 level – almost received the perfect wedding gift at Friday’s royal meeting.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained Strutting was sent off a relatively unfancied 33/1 with betting apps for the ultra-competitive 1609-metre handicap, but she looked to have every chance of securing victory when striking the front on the near side with 400m to travel.

King’s mount still held a narrow advantage as the field headed inside the final 50m, but victory was quickly snatched away from the daughter of Frankel, with the George Boughey-trained Soprano swooping late to strike by half-a-length at odds of 14/1.

“It was a big thrill,” said King.

“It was a huge privilege just to be here competing, but to be in the finish was even better.

“She was a lovely horse to ride. I think they did the right thing in bringing her back in trip a little bit.

“She travelled beautifully. She probably got herself there a little bit soon, but credit to her – she was super, super brave, and tried hard. The tough mile really suited her today.”

The Sandringham Stakes was King’s second ride of the week, having also partnered Highland Bling to an unplaced finish in the King George V Stakes on Day 3.

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