Positive Update On Internationals Entered For Royal Ascot

Crimson Advocate winning last year | Ascot Racecourse

At least seven countries are set to be represented for the Group 1 races and early-closing Group 2 contests for Royal Ascot, the racecourse announced on Tuesday. Worth a record £10 million in prize-money this year, the meeting boasts purses of at least £650,000 for the Group 1 races, and all races are worth at least £110,000.

Aussie sprinter Chain Of Lightning (Aus) (Fighting Sun {Aus}) is one of the leading lights for the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee S., and her co-trainer, Peter Moody, won the race in 2012 with Black Caviar (Aus) (Bel Esprit {Aus}). The G1 T J Smith S. victress, who is co-trained by Katherine Coleman, later ran sixth in the G1 All-Aged S. this month.

Moody said, “Chain Of Lightning is in good order. She ran at Randwick 10 days ago on a very heavy track and did not handle it, but she has come through the race well. She will have her next and probably only lead up run between now and Ascot in the G1 Doomben 10,000 on May 18. Then she will head to the broodmare sale on May 24, so it depends on who owns her after that but, if she is still in my care, it would be my intention to travel her over for Royal Ascot on June 5.”

Fellow Aussie sprinter Asfoora (Aus) (Flying Artie {Aus}) has already arrived in Newmarket as of last week, with an eye to the G1 King Charles III S. Trained by Henry Dwyer, the mare will prep in the G2 Temple S. at Haydock Park on May 25. She is a two-time Group 2 winner, and has placed multiple times at the highest level.

Dwyer said, “Asfoora had a quiet weekend after arriving on Thursday night, but she had a saddle on her back on Monday and all went well. She had another canter this morning and I would imagine we will do a bit of pace work with her on Wednesday. To have a runner there has long been an ambition of mine and hopefully Asfoora can tick that box well.”

Big name French invaders Big Rock (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) and Facteur Cheval (Ire) (Ribchester {Ire}) are also possible for the five-day meeting. The latter, trained by Jerome Reynier, won the G1 Dubai Turf at the end of March. He was previously placed behind Big Rock in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. on British Champions Day.

Reynier said, “I have been very happy with Facteur Cheval since he returned from Dubai and it will be interesting to see him back at Ascot, especially now he has proven himself at the highest level on good ground.

“The Queen Anne Stakes is the target as he travels well and likes plenty of pace in the race. We feel that he is a pure miler, who was able to stretch out to nine furlongs in Dubai, and the programme in Europe is very good for a horse like him.”

Last year's G2 Queen Mary winner Crimson Advocate (Nyquist) is back, this time aiming toward the King Charles III S. for trainer George Weaver. If successful, the 3-year-old filly would complete the same double as Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy) in 2016/2017.

Weaver said, “Crimson Advocate is doing well and we would like to be in a position to bring her back to Royal Ascot, given how she performed last year, most likely for the King Charles III S. against males. The next race we are looking at is the Mamzelle S. over 5 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs on May 11.”

Sunday's Memories of Silver S. heroine Sweet Rebecca (American Pharoah) is another American raider set to ship to the royal meeting. The 'TDN Rising Star' has the G1 Coronation S. in her sights for trainer Chad Brown and new owner John Stewart of Resolute Racing.

Brown told the NYRA notes team post-race, “It all worked out and I do think this filly might be my first Ascot starter. For right now, I'd say it's likely her next start would be in the Coronation. She is a serious filly and trains with a lot of power.

“I want to thank Mr. John Stewart for purchasing her and transferring her to me and my team. I'm so happy for him. He is new in the game and building an impressive roster of both racehorses and broodmares, and he's a real pleasure to deal with.”

Japan fields four entries, including North Bridge (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}), third in the G1 FWD QEII Cup on Sunday, as well as T O Royal (Jpn) (Leontes {Jpn}) and Blow The Horn (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}), the first two home in the G1 Tenno Sho (Spring) on Apr. 28.

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