TRAINER Richard Fahey described Ribchester as the best horse he has ever trained after the Godolphin-owned colt landed the G1 Queen Anne Stakes, the first race of Royal Ascot 2017, in a track record time of 1m 36.60s today.

Settled in fifth in the early stages of the mile contest by William Buick under a stern gallop set by Ribchester's pacemaker Toscanini, the four-year-old son of Iffraaj ran on resolutely when hitting the front over a furlong out to fend off the challenge of William Haggas' Mutakayyef (5/1), who was a length and a quarter behind in second, with a neck back to Aidan O'Brien's Deauville (12/1) in third.

Despite taking a slight drift in the market, the 11/10 favourite found plenty for pressure to register his third success at Group One level, whilst simultaneously providing Fahey with his sixth success at the Royal Meeting.

A delighted Fahey said: "I'm just delighted he has won. You can never be confident but everything dropped into place there. He has huge gears and he is never in trouble. He gets the trip and that makes him a good horse.

"It wasn't really the plan to go that quick with Toscanini [pacemaker] and I did tell Paul [Hanagan, jockey] to bounce out this time. He more or less took off and probably didn't lead Ribchester far enough.

"Look Ribchester is just an exceptional horse. He has to be the best horse I have ever trained. He broke the track record here today and that's not being disrespectful to the others, but he is just exceptional.

"It was a good pressure coming into the race as he was the right horse to have the pressure on. I was quietly confident that he would win as everything was good with him before the race - I'm in a happy place.

"He gets lonely out in front sometimes. I don't think it is pressure and he just went walkabouts.

"William doesn't feel that the tank is empty with him and that he is getting stronger the whole time. Mentally, he is also getting better which is a great attitude to have in a racehorse - he is starting to think he is good."

Royal Borough Observer:

Ribchester storms to victory at Royal Ascot yesterday.

Fahey suggested a tilt at the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood is next on the agenda for the colt, who is now 6/5 with Paddy Power for the race.

Fahey commented: "The Sussex Stakes is where he has to go really. The French race [Prix Jacques Le Marois] which he won last year is only 10 days after the Sussex so we can't go to both.

"I was always hoping that he would stay further but at the moment, I don't need to go further."

Royal Borough Observer:

Ribchester, jockey William Buick, and connections celebrate.

In other day one highlights,  Newmarket trainer Richard Spencer, in just his second-season with a licence, saddled his first Royal Ascot runner - and winner - when Rajasinghe landed the Gr.2 Coventry Stakes in another course-record time.

Spencer, a former point-to-point rider, stable groom and assistant trainer, was given his big chance by Phil Cunningham, the racehorse owner who bought a yard and stud in Newmarket and gave the now 28-year-old a chance to train from his base.

The two men teamed up with agent Bobby O'Ryan to buy Rajasinghe as a yearling for £85,000 at Doncaster sales last year, when the consignor was Paul and Sara Thorman's Trickledown Stud.

They had sold Cunningham the subsequent dual Classic winner Cockney Rebel at the same venue in 2005. The Thormans offered Rajasinghe at the sale on behalf of Douglas Pryde, who had bought him as a foal for €65,000 - Pryde was a joint-owner in 2013 Grand National winner Aurora's Encore.

Spencer, who showed his versatility at Easter when training his own horse, Aptly Put, to win a point-to-point at Kimble in Oxfordshire, was today saddling just his ninth winner under Rules, having sent out his first runner in April last year.

He said of Rajasinghe: "Words can't describe how I feel, but he's a top horse and we've liked him from day one. We sent him to Newcastle [for his only previous run] and thought he would take a lot of beating, and he wasn't cooked for that run.

"He's going to stay further - my assistant Johnny Bailey has been asking that they extend [the Newmarket gallops] Warren Hill and Long Hill because every day he rides him the horse just tanks. He's great natured, and tough.

"We have 23 horses at home, and a lovely bunch of owners at a great location. I cannot thank Phil Cunningham enough for giving me the opportunity. Two years ago I broke my back in a hunters' chase fall at Warwick, so from that to be standing here is just amazing."