National winner Graham Lee in Ascot Gold Cup glory

Graham Lee saw his name etched into the annals of Turf history when he became the first ever Grand National-winning jockey to triumph in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot with his 
victory aboard Trip To Paris.

Graham Lee riding Trip To Paris wins The Gold Cup. Picture: Getty
Graham Lee riding Trip To Paris wins The Gold Cup. Picture: Getty

Having partnered Amberleigh House to glory in the Aintree showpiece back in 2004, the 39-year-old, who has also seen victory at the Cheltenham Festival, secured his maiden success at the highest level on the Flat since switching codes with a battling success aboard the Ed Dunlop-trained four-year-old.

Purchased for just 20,000 Guineas at a breeze-up sale in 2013, the son of Champs Elysees completed his rapid transformation through the handicap ranks, including a Chester Cup win, to a genuine Group-class performer in the space of just six runs since this season.

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Forever Now in the hands of Frankie Dettori took the field along through the early stages of the two-and-a-half-mile showpiece, with Vent De Force, Havana Beat and unbeaten favourite Forgotten Rules all positioned just in behind.

There was little change in the order until the home turn, where Dettori tried to steal a march on his rivals by kicking from the front.

With the early leader failing to draw clear of the field Forgotten Rules looked set to hand his trainer Dermot Weld a second win in the race having captured it with Rite Of Passage in 2010 as he forged into the lead hitting the two-furlong pole.

As the favourite made his move, Lee and Trip To Paris, who was supplemented at a cost of £35,000, were presented with clear daylight up the inside at the same time as the well-supported Kingfisher and Ryan Moore saw a gap close on them at a crucial stage.

Hitting the final furlong Forgotten Rules could offer no more as Trip To Paris surged past to take up a lead he was not to relinquish, coming home a length and a quarter to the good of the unlucky-in-running Kingfisher.

Lee said: “The second I got on him in the parade ring I knew he would run well because he was so relaxed and switched off.

“I’ve had a good day in the 
office, so I’ll enjoy it. They’ve supplemented this guy for a lot of money, so fair do’s to the sporting connections for that gesture.

“It’s lovely to ride a winner here, a Group One as well.”

The victory for Newmarket handler Dunlop, who part-owns the horse, saw him follow in the footsteps of his father, John, who saddled Ragstone to victory in the 1974 renewal.

He said: “It’s amazing. My parents have the Gold Cup on the dining room table at home and it’s been there since 1974,” said the trainer.

“Credit goes to the owners. They bullied me into supplementing and it came off.”

In the next race, the Britannia Stakes, War Envoy powered home under Ryan Moore, remarkably, the jockey’s eighth winner of the week and his third on the afternoon after Curvy in the Ribblesdale Stakes and Waterloo Bridge in the opener.

War Envoy, trained by Aidan O’Brien, enjoyed a significant drop in class having had his last three runs in the Craven Stakes, the French 2,000 Guineas and the French Derby.

The War Front colt (10-1) was held up for a late run in the smaller group racing on the far side of the track and Moore timed his run to perfection, getting up to beat Udododontu by a neck.

Moore, who had a luckless run in the Gold Cup on Kingfisher, said: “It was a bit tricky. I was hoping they wouldn’t split as uneven as that and there wasn’t as many horses as I would have liked (on the far side).

“They got well strung out, but fortunately we had the speed on our side, they got racing a long way out and I just kept waiting and fortunately didn’t find traffic this time.

“He’s a miler and loves fast ground and loves a strong pace. When he’s running in those Group races it doesn’t always unfold that way, but he’s got plenty of ability.”