By Andrew Atkinson

Aidan O’Brien trained Little Big Bear – tipped by – landed a big gamble on the second day of the 2022 Royal Ascot meeting on Wednesday, when landing the Windsor Castle Stakes.

“I’m delighted and Ryan (Moore) gave him a great ride – it’s very difficult to win races here – the pinnacle of summer racing,” said jubilant winning trainer O’Brien.

Little Big Bear was plunged on by punters and returned to the winner’s enclosure 6-5 favourite, ahead of Rocket Rodney (14-1), Eddie’s Boy (40-1) and Chateau (15-2), in the 24 runners field.

Little Big Bear, ridden by Ryan Moore, came from behind in the 5 furlongs race, to gain a neck win ahead of Rocket Rodney.

“It was a good performance from a horse who is still learning,” said Moore.

“He’s a horse with a lot of speed and he’ll get better. He’s a big horse, and won it comfortably,” added Moore.

Little Big Bear was O’Brien’s 77th Royal Ascot win: “We were just a little off the pace, but Ryan gave him a great ride. Horses need to be educated and he’d only had two races,” said O’Brien.

Bay Bridge (10-11f) tipped by, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, was turned over by State Of Rest, trained by Joseph O’Brien under Shane Crosse, to land the St James’s Palace Stakes by 1 length.

“It was a brilliant ride, on a very tough horse. It couldn’t have worked out any better,” said O’Brien, who was chalking up his first winner as a trainer at Royal Ascot.

“My first winner here has been a long time coming and to win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes is very special,” added O’Brien.

Crosse said: “Fair play to this horse – I’m just over the moon! To win for the first time at Royal Ascot is a dream come true.”

Dramatised won the G2 Queen Mary Stakes, under Danny Tudhope: “So much talent and so much speed – she’s unbelievable,” said Tudhope.

Winning trainer Karl Burke said: “She’s shown a lot of speed at home and there’s still more to come, I’m sure. Definitely a Group One horse – and a ‘Diva’,”.

Astro King (17-2) from 9-1 tipped each-way by was placed in the 29 runners Royal Hunt Cup, won by Charlie Hills trained Dark Shift, under Aussie jockey James McDonald.

“I love Royal Ascot and it’s such a special win. Charlie is one of my close pals and I can’t thank him enough for supporting me,” said McDonald.

“It was a worry if we got in the race. James is a great guy and good family friend. It’s a proud day,” said Hills.

The Group 2 Queen’s Vase over 1m 6f was won by Roger Varian trained Elgar Eldarov: “The ground was a concern – and I didn’t know we’d won crossing the line,” said Varian.

Elgar Eldarov gained a tight nose verdict over Zechariah – with some quarters voicing it was a dead-heat. Winning jockey David Egan said: “I’ve never hit the winning line so strong!”.

Jane Chapple-Hyam trained  Saffron Beach (5-2jf) under William Buick landed the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes over 1m, gaining a 3 1/2 lengths win, ahead of 40-1 shot Thunder Beauty.

Rising Star (40-1) won the finale Kensington Palace Stakes over 7f, ahead of Random Harvest (40-1) gaining a neck verdict, with Isola Rossa (22-1), third.