Duke of Marmalade the Toast of Ascot
1st (2) Duke Of Marmalade Evens Fav
Duke of Marmalade produced a brilliant performance in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes to give trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Johnny Murtagh their third Group 1 victory at this year’s Royal Ascot. It was a first success for both the trainer and jockey in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.
The four-year-old Danehill colt made it three Group 1 victories on the trot when scoring by a comprehensive four lengths from Phoenix Tower and is unbeaten this year.
Hailing the even money favourite, O’Brien said: “I am delighted with him. It was unbelievable. He’s an unbelievable horse and, with every run, he’s getting better. He’s the real deal.
“You are never confident before a race like this but the horse was training well and Seamus who rides him was very happy as was Johnny who was riding him in all his work.
“He said the horse was making good progress. When Johnny makes a statement about a horse you have to listen: he was very bullish today. He said he was going to be very positive on him.”
O’Brien outlined that it hasn’t been easy for the four-year-old to get to these heights, having suffered injury problems.
“He had a bad fracture after Goodwood as a two-year-old and he had pins put in his front joint and they were hurting him last year. We were never really able to train him because he was semi-lame all the time.He wasn’t able to use himself the way he’s using himself this year.”
A pin was catching a ligament but that was tweaked over last winter and the results have been explosive.
“He had that speed at two but lost it last year because of the problems,” added O’Brien who wasn’t in a position to outline the Duke’s next start. “He has got it back again now. He is a very good horse.”
“He is one of those horses you don’t mind coming back to a mile with. There’s even a chance he could get a mile and a half. After this week, we will sit and talk to see where the horses are going to go next. It’s going to depend on where Henrythenavigator and Mount Nelson go - that will determine where his next run is. He gets a mile and a quarter very easily. Looking at him today, you couldn’t say that he wouldn’t go further.”
He is as short as 6/1 (vcbet, Stan James) for the King George back at Ascot on July 26.
A delighted Murtagh said: “He’s up there with the best I’ve ridden. He’s the first horse I rode when I came back from Dubai. Aidan put me on him and I cantered up the Curragh.
“Aidan has been getting him ready for this all year. He’s been bringing him along slowly winning Group Ones with him. Today was the horse’s big target and he really came good.”
Time: 2m 05.35s
Duke of Marmalade
CECIL - I UNDERESTIMATED MARMALADE
Trainer Henry Cecil was pleased with the performance of runner-up Phoenix Tower in the Group One Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, although he revealed that he had underestimated how good the winner Duke Of Marmalade actually was.
The Newmarket handler said of the runner-up, who went down by four lengths: “He ran really well and is improving.
“There was a bit of scrimmaging and we lost about a length and a half, but we wouldn’t have beaten the winner.
“The winner is better than I thought he was. I knew he was a good horse, but I underestimated him.
“Our horse showed he got the trip well today and there are races like the Eclipse and the Juddmonte International to consider.”
A further short-head back in third was the fast-finishing Pipedreamer.
His trainer John Gosden said: "There was a lot of scrimmaging early on and that got him pulling a bit. They all wanted to follow the favourite and he got a good run through but just got checked again which probably cost him second.
"He ran a great race and on ratings it’s probably his best run - it’s a good time to do it.
“He got lost on that loose ground at Sandown and ran no race in the Earl of Sefton at Newmarket. There are some nice Group 2s and Group 3s he could have a crack at as well as the Group 1s so we’ll have a look at everything."
Sir Michael Stoute, trainer of fifth-placed Ask, added: "We got cut up a furlong and a half out, we got rammed. He’ll step up in trip now."
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