There was a definite case of history repeating itself at Ascot on Thursday when Princess Highway stormed home in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes. Ten years previously Dermot Weld, Pat Smullen and Moyglare Stud combined to win the same race with Irresistible Jewel who is the dam of Princess Highway. The winner beat The Fugue by six lengths in what looked a strong renewal of the race and the winning rider commented; “She’s a beautiful mare to ride. She’s uncomplicated, she travels, she quickens and has it all. Our only fear was that the ground had gone too soft. It wasn't that bad, but she still handled it extremely well.”
Seamus Burn’s Lodge Park Stud is a well established nursery for future stars and he could have unearthed another in the form of Tha’Ir (IRE), the winner of Saturday’s Chesham Stakes. Tha’Ir is by New Approach who Burns also bred and the former Jim Bolger trained Derby winner sired three winners in total at Royal Ascot from his first crop. Tha’Ir was completing a good meeting for Godolphin and he was sold by his breeder as a yearling at last years Goffs Orby Yearling Sale for €105,000 to John Ferguson.
David Marnane is a very talented trainer and he brought two horses to Royal Ascot. Jamesie ran a fine race to be second in the Buckingham Palace Stakes on Friday then Dandy Boy went a place better in the valuable Wokingham Stakes on Saturday. Dandy Boy has been a fantastic servant for Marnane and owner Malih Al Basti and the trainer commented; “He came here in the best form we’ve had him for a long time. He broke the track record in Meydan, but then picked up an injury so I’m delighted for him.” David Marnane is based in Bansha, Co Tipperary and is a brother of leading breeze-up consignor Con Marnane.
The meeting was rounded off by another win for Simenon (IRE). He looked a very progressive stayer in the Queen Alexandra Stakes, arriving full of running a furlong out and quickening smartly to win by seven lengths. A stayer with a turn of foot is a potent force and not surprisingly Willie Mullins has shelved plans to return to hurdling and is eyeing a crack at the Goodwood Cup with the Melbourne Cup later in the year also entering calculations.