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King Charles III claims his 1st Royal Ascot winner; Dettori rides to victory in Gold Cup

ASCOT, ENGLAND (AP) – King Charles III has claimed his first Royal Ascot winner as the reigning monarch.

Watching the race alongside Queen Camilla from the Royal Enclosure, the king saw Desert Hero – wearing the royal silks and an 18-1 shot – win by a short head in the King George V Stakes on Thursday.

“Royal winners at the royal meeting are extremely special, especially this one,” jockey Tom Marquand said. “It will live high in my career, probably at the top for the rest of my days in the saddle.”

The king and queen were seen waving toward Marquand and Desert Hero after the race.

Desert Hero’s trainer, William Haggas, said “the king and queen are absolutely thrilled”.

“It is obviously very important for racing, but it is important that the king and queen enjoy it, which they clearly appear to do, and long may that continue,” Haggas said.

The late Queen Elizabeth II was a big fan of horse racing and had 24 winners at Royal Ascot in her long reign.

In the signature race of the week at Ascot, Italian jockey Frankie Dettori won the Gold Cup for the ninth and final time when his horse, the aptly named Courage Mon Ami, held off Coltrane in the final furlong.

The 52-year-old Dettori is retiring at the end of the year after 36 years in the saddle.

After his trademark flying dismount, Dettori was handed the cup by the king and gave the queen a kiss.

“Nine Gold Cups – what can you say?” Dettori said. “I’m speechless, to be honest.”

Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates with the Gold Cup after riding Courage Mon Ami to victory, as Britain’s King Charles III and Queen Camilla look on in Berkshire, England. PHOTO: AP