Damson a star in the making

IRISH trainer David Wachman struck gold with his first runner at Royal Ascot when Damson ran away with the Queen Mary Stakes yesterday.

Jamie Spencer bided his time at the back of the field in a race run at a fierce gallop and, as the leaders began to fade, the rider let out some rein and the Irish filly weaved her way through the pack before bursting clear a furlong out to win in the style of a high-class performer.

At the line she was three lengths clear of Soar, with Sharplaw Star a length and a quarter back in third spot.

Both Ladbrokes and Paddy Power made Damson their 20-1 favourite for the 1000 Guineas and Wachman, who is Coolmore supremo John Magnier’s son-in-law, said: “She’s entitled to a quote after that.”

And he revealed he had only decided to let the daughter of Entrepreneur take her chance in the Group Two contest last week.

Wachman continued: “Only last Friday evening I looked at the entries and I saw we were 5lb clear on the Racing Post ratings and I said we might go to Ascot yet. Jamie said he would jump out and take his time. We knew she’d get home because she’s out of a Darshaan mare.”

Spencer had ridden the unbeaten filly to her previous wins, but was still surprised at the turn of foot she produced.

He said: “First time out I didn’t think a lot of her, but she was so impressive last time. David left it up to me and said go out there and enjoy yourself. I gave her a little squeeze during the race and Richard Hughes (on Don’t Tell Mum) said I was going so fast that I nearly blew him off.

“I was coming so fast through the runners and they were stopping in front of me.

“During these races you have to make split-second decisions and I was just looking for a clear run and to do the right thing for the connections.

“When I was in the clear it was a pure adrenaline rush.”

Wachman is now considering a possible tilt at the Moyglare Stud Stakes with the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket in the autumn another possible target.

Rakti used sheer brute force to pulverise his rivals in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the highlight of the second day of Royal Ascot.

Second in the race at 50-1 twelve months ago, there was nothing like that price available today about the Michael Jarvis-trained five-year-old.

But, even at 3-1, punters still managed to get it wrong as they deserted the winner in favour of 11-4 favourite Sulamani, who turned in a rare below-par effort for Godolphin as he finished fourth.

The winner’s supporters had enjoyed some anxious moments in the early stages as Robinson vainly fought to anchor his charge just behind the early pace.

But as soon as he was given his head, Rakti powered to the front shortly after the turn for home and he quickly put distance between himself and his rivals as he went on to win by two lengths from the Aidan O’Brien-trained Powerscourt (9-2).

A tilt at the British Horseracing Board’s £1million Summer Triple Crown, which would encompass the Coral-Eclipse and Juddmonte International, could now be on the cards, although the slightly longer distance of the latter is a worry for connections.

Kheleyf earned a quote of 10-1 for the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood with a last-to-first success in the Jersey Stakes.

Dettori dropped the Godolphin colt out at the back of the 14-runner field as Mukafeh and Leitrim House vied for the lead.

But once the Italian pressed the button, Kheleyf cut through the pack to land the Group Three contest a shade cosily by a length and three-quarters from Fokine.

American ace Gary Stevens narrowly escaped serious injury when his mount in the Windsor Forest Stakes, Chic, was almost brought down with just over two furlongs left to go in the one-mile Group Two contest.

The race went to Stoute’s other runner, the Kieren Fallon-ridden Favourable Terms, who was making her seasonal reappearance.

Michael Jarvis completed a 47-1 double when the Kevin Darley-ridden Celtic Heroine took the closing Sandringham Rated Stakes.

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