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Royal Ascot News 2006

Royal Ascot 2006

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ascot racecourseHighclere Plans Four Royal Ascot Runners After Primary Weekend

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, the most successful racehorse multiple ownership operation in Europe, looks set to have at least four runners at Royal Ascot this week.

This comes on the back of Primary's easy success in the 10-furlong Listed Gran Premio d'Italia at San Siro, Milan, Italy on Saturday (June 17).

Harry Herbert, HTR's managing director, today outlined plans for the week: "Conquest goes for the Windsor Castle Stakes (5.30pm 5f Listed) tomorrow (Tuesday).

"He was beaten a neck by Sonny Red on his debut at Newmarket over five furlongs in May and finished fifth when evens favourite over six furlongs at Newbury two weekends later, both on soft ground.

"Conquest shows an enormous amount of talent at home. He deserves to take his chance and Jimmy Fortune will ride."

Conquest, a two-year-old by Invincible Spirit, is trained by Newmarket-based William Haggas, who also handles Primary, and owned by HTR's Troy Syndicate.

Asset drops back a furlong in trip in Wednesday's opener, the Group Three Jersey Stakes (2.35pm) over seven furlongs, after disappointing trainer Richard Hannon and jockey Richard Hughes when ninth in colts' Classic, the Stan James 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 6.

Herbert commented: "Asset seems in great form. He has got a lot of speed and a stiff seven furlongs should be ideal.

"In hindsight, I think he ran well in the Guineas, only being beaten just under seven lengths, though the trainer and jockey felt he could have done better."

Asset is the property of the 20-share Cricket Ground Syndicate.

Four-year-old Forgery, trained by Gerard Butler and owned by the Secret Panel Syndicate, will line up in the Royal Hunt Cup and has 8st 7lb in the £100,000 handicap which is due off at 4.25pm on Wednesday.

Herbert said: "Forgery won the Spring Cup at Newbury (beating 24 others on April 22) and it was always the plan to wait for the Royal Hunt. If he had run again in the meantime, he might have gone up again in the handicap.

"He has a lovely racing weight and is a lightly-raced son of Dr Devious. The family has improved with age and he has been working very well and progressed physically.

"We would not want the ground to be lighting fast but he should cope with good to firm.

Kieren Fallon rides him for the first time as Nicky Mackay is claimed by Luca Cumani."

Distinction, ante-post favourite for Thursday's Group One Gold Cup (3.50pm), is HTR's major hope of the week and belongs to the Orangery Syndicate.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained seven-year-old finished second, beaten a neck, to Westerner in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot at York last year.

Herbert remarked: "It is very exciting to have Distinction run in the Gold Cup again. He is a great friend who has done marvellously well.

"He ran badly in last year's Melbourne Cup after pulling muscles in his back but otherwise has been very consistent.

"Distinction loves fast ground and did not relish the soft going when giving weight away on his seasonal debut at Newbury but still won.

"Touch wood, he seems in great form and it would be a fairytale to win the Gold Cup."

The Nursery Syndicate's Numeric, from John Gosden's stable, is entered in Friday's King George V Handicap, which has been HTR's lucky race at Royal Ascot, but appears the unlikely to get a run at the moment.

Herbert added: "It is wonderful for Highclere Thoroughbred Racing to have at least four runners at Royal Ascot this week. The season has started well.

"Primary won very easily in Italy on Saturday. There are no immediate plans but he could run in the Group Two Prix Eugene Adam at Maisons-Laffitte on July 23.

"There is also an option of going to America for the million-dollar Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on July 15 and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park on August 12.

"We felt he did not stay the 12 furlongs of the Chester Vase and now think that we have his trip right at 10 furlongs. He came from off the pace in Italy, which suited him, and has now won four of his six starts.

"Primary is beautifully bred, being by Giant's Causeway out of a Mr Prospector mare, and hopefully he can progress further."

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