GEORGE CHALONER secured the biggest success of his career when steering Baccarat to Royal Ascot glory.
The 22-year-old apprentice, attached to Richard Fahey's Musley Bank yard, was the only claimer to taste victory at last week's five-day Royal extravaganza aboard the 9-1 shot in the Wokingham Handicap.
"It feels amazing," said Chaloner, whose victory was achieved in the well-known colours of Yorkshire owner Sir Robert Ogden.
One of the most prestigious sprint handicaps of the racing calendar with a prize fund of £175,000 and a first prize of more than £108,000, the six furlong contest attracted a field of 28 runners.
Fahey also filled fourth spot with Alben Star, his other representative, on a memorable day in which he had four winners at meetings around the country and boosted his prize money earnings for the season through the £1 million barrier.
For Chaloner, who had made his Royal Ascot debut only the previous day when finishing unplaced on Heaven’s Guest in the Buckingham Palace Handicap, Baccarat’s decisive length-and-a-half victory was a dream come true.
“The boss told me to get some cover and to keep it simple,” he said. “I had finished second on him at York last month and it was great to go one better in a race like the Wokingham.”
Chaloner, who began his career with Norton's Malcolm Jefferson before joining Fahey five years ago, has developed into one of Britain’s leading apprentices and rode 33 winners last year. He is now up to 15 For the current campaign.
“It’s brilliant for George,” said Fahey. “He hasn’t too many more winners to go before he loses his claim and he needs big winners like this to project him. Hopefully, a few will have looked at him and thought this kid can ride.”
Fahey, who now intends to step Baccarat, winner of last year’s Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon, up in class, was saddling his fourth Royal Ascot winner. The first was with Superior Premium in 2000 in the race now known as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
“Baccarat is similar type to Superior Premium,” said the Malton trainer. “He’s very talented.”
The same might be said of Chaloner, especially now that he has projected his career to another level.
The high-flying apprentice, who went on to post a 33-1 success for his boss at Pontefract 24 hours later aboard newcomer Bimbo.
“Last Saturday was a day to remember,” he said. “It’s all down to Mr Fahey and to Sir Robert Ogden for giving me the opportunity.”