The Queen. Lady Cecil. Wesley Ward. Now, that’s a trifecta. Each shared the day at Royal Ascot Thursday.
The Queen’s 4-year-old filly Estimate won the Ascot Gold Cup, handling 20 furlongs and 13 rivals, holding off dual-purpose Simenon. Watching The Queen watch the race was brilliant.
Lady Cecil, the widow of the late Sir Henry Cecil, produced Riposte to win the Ribblesdale. Imagine the conversations between Cecil and Frankel watching this spectacle. Nice filly, poignant moment.
Wesley Ward touted No Nay Never as his best, and he was/is, setting a new course record to win the Norfolk Stakes. The son of Scat Daddy broke slowly, which put all the Americans who had bet their money (me included) on edge. Joel Rosario kept his composure and allowed the horse to gather his, it was over shortly thereafter.
As one of my friends always says, “Wesley’s game.” Ward pulled off another scourge of Royal Ascot. No, it wasn’t Animal Kingdom winning the Queen Anne, but it was a big moment for American racing. America has lost most of its creditability around the world, we need to travel with our horses, start trying to right the ship that has sailed.
We have nice horses that can win anywhere. My friend Matt Coleman called me Thursday morning and said, “Gatewood Bell’s over here telling me that No Nay Never is a certainty.” Indeed.
Again, here is your 10 to Follow for Royal Ascot Friday. From an American perch.
Joyeuse. First Race. Albany Stakes. Two-year-old daughter of Oasis Dream makes her second start for Juddmonte, Lady Cecil and Tom Queally. Sometimes, you don’t have to look up a pedigree. Oasis Dream-Kind (IRE) by Danehill (USA). She’s a half-sister to the great horse, Frankel.
Princess Noor. First Race. Albany Stakes. Trainer Roger Varian was a jump jockey until he came to America, worked for Jack Fisher and broke his arm at Strawberry Hill. He went home, got a good job as assistant to Michael Jarvis and now has a battalion of runners at Royal Ascot. This daughter of Holy Roman Emperor is just one of Varian’s chances.
Sandiva. First Race. Albany Stakes. It can’t be Royal Ascot without a win from Frankie Dettori. The chestnut daughter of Footstepsinthesand, 2-for-2, offers Dettori a big opportunity.
Contributor. Second Race. King Edward VII Stakes. American George Bolton (of Curlin fame) owns Contributor. Trained by Ed Dunlop, the two-time winner has finished second in his two most recent starts.
Just The Judge. Third Race. Coronation Stakes. Three-year-old daughter of Lawman has only one blemish on her record when finishing second in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in her reappearance this spring. She won the Irish 1,000 Guineas in her most recent start. She faces 16 rivals in the feature.
Inis Meain. Fourth Race. Wolferton Handicap. Royal Ascot offers something for everyone. Here’s a handicap going a mile and a quarter for horses rated 96-110. Inis Meain was bred in America, by Bernstein, out of a Runaway Groom mare. Bred by Castleton Lyons, the 6-year-old gelding owns five wins on the flat and one over hurdles.
Forgotten Voice. Fourth Race. Wolferton Handicap. Another one who does both, 8-year-old finished second to My Tent Or Yours in a Grade II novice hurdle at Aintree in his most recent start. Love the game over there – two codes, one sport.
Albasharah. Fourth Race. Wolferton Handicap. Bred in America, she’s by Arch out of the Seeking The Gold mare Desert Gold. I guess they’ll be rooting for her at Claiborne. Bred by Darley, she’s three for three. You want a handicapping puzzle, you have jumpers running against undefeated 4-year-old fillies.
Disclaimer. Fifth Race. The Queen’s Vase in Memory of Sir Henry Cecil. Trained by Lady Cecil for Juddmonte.
Jack’s Revenge. Sixth Race. Buckingham Palace Stakes. Can George Baker win two at Royal Ascot? Part of the field, he’s son six races and was beaten less than 2 lengths in his most recent start, while finishing fifth of 22. Twenty-nine runners…anything can happen – twice.