Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2)
DRAMATISED (Karl Burke/Danny Tudhope) looked a filly out of the top drawer when landing a gamble with ease on her debut at Newmarket in April, and she fully justified her connections’ high opinion of her by following up with a decisive win in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes, where punters sent her off the clear favourite at 5/2.
Dramatised was always in the van towards the stands’ side and she responded well to a hand ride from Tudhope to repel the late challenge of Maylandsea (Michael Bell/David Egan) by one and three-quarter lengths. Maria Branwell (David O’Meara/Kieran Shoemark) was beaten three lengths in total in third, with Wesley Ward’s Love Reigns holding on for fourth having shown speed up the centre of the track for a long way.
Tudhope dropped his whip a furlong and a half out, but his mount was already in the ascendancy at that stage. The rider has an excellent record at this meeting, this being his ninth win from just 90 rides at the fixture, and his third in a row after landing the last two races on the opening day.
Dramatised is owned and bred by Steve Parkin of Clipper Logistics, a long-time sponsor at his local track York. He would clearly love to see his filly win the Lowther Stakes at the Ebor meeting, but Danny Tudhope’s feedback was to keep her at five furlongs for the time being. The six-furlong Group 1 Prix Morny another likely target, especially as Parkin has other speedy fillies to run at York.
Her dam was a smart winner for the same connections, although described by Parkin’s bloodstock guru Joe Foley as “a bit crazy”; Dramatised is also a bit of a diva according to her trainer, but fears she might boil over here proved unfounded, and she coped well with the preliminaries despite sweating up, and she’s probably the sort to always be on her mettle.
This was a fourth winner at the Royal Meeting for trainer Karl Burke, all of them fillies over sprint trips, albeit in four different contests.
Windsor Castle Stakes
Royal Hunt Cup
Kensington Palace Stakes
IT wouldn’t be Royal Ascot without an Aidan O’Brien winner, and the Ballydoyle handler belatedly hit the mark when Little Big Bear landed some heft bets in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes. Backed from 11/4 into an SP of 6/5 favourite, Little Big Bear raced initially in a group of six towards the far side before the field converged again in the closing stages. He had to be scrubbed along with two furlongs to run in the five-furlong contest, but he responded generously to Ryan Moore’s urgings, and put his nose in front with a furlong to run, and despite hanging left, he found enough in the finish to edge out Rocket Rodney (George Scott/Danny Muscutt) by a neck.
The Windsor Castle is the weakest of the juvenile races at the meeting, so it doesn’t pay to get too carried away with the winners as a rule, but Little Big Bear does make appeal in terms of physique as a colt who ought to improve and train on.
O’Brien was scoring at the meeting for the 19th consecutive season, while Ryan Moore has been on the scoresheet for the last 15 meetings now, and even this small prize had the pair expressing their delight:
“It is very tough to win races at Royal Ascot,” said the successful trainer. “It’s so difficult I can’t tell you, and when it happens, we are thrilled. It is the pinnacle of high summer racing. Everyone wants to be here and win here.”
James McDonald enjoyed a happy spell attached to the Charlie Hills yard a few years ago, forging a friendship which still thrives now, and he doubled his tally at this year’s meeting from limited rides as the progressive Dark Shift landed the Royal Hunt Cup for the Hills team, thereby denying Jane Chapple-Hyam a quick double of his own, with Intellogent going down by half a length under James Doyle.
The winner got into this race courtesy of a penalty picked up for an impressive win at Nottingham, and he showed he was still ahead of his mark with a smooth performance, justifying strong support in the betting market which saw him returned second favourite at 13/2.
The winner is proving a bit of a course specialist, with this being his fourth course win, and an unplaced run in the Victoria Cup last month is easily forgiven as he was badly drawn in a race dominated by those drawn extremely high.
Nine years after his last Royal Ascot winner, Neil Callan lifted the Marco Botti-trained Rising Star to glory in the concluding Kensington Palace Handicap.
Callan who has spent a large amount of his career riding in Hong Kong get an excellent tune out of the 40/1 outsider who picked up well to hold off fellow 40/1 chance Random Harvest. It was a fifth Royal Ascot success in all for the rider and a second for Botti.