Rizeena on Target in Queen Mary
1 Rizeena 6/1
Clive Brittain, who will celebrate his 80th birthday on December 15, danced to the winner’s podium after Rizeena swept past the front-running American challenger Sweet Emma Rose to win the Group Two Queen Mary Stakes.
He rates Rizeena, winner of her last three races, alongside one his best horses, Sayyedati, successful in five Group Ones including the 1000 Guineas.
The Newmarket trainer said: “This victory is not unexpected – we have known this filly is useful for some time. I was as certain as you can be when you have a field of top horses against you that she would run a big race. She has been working extremely well and improved from work to work.
“Thanks go to Rosina, the girl who looks after Rizeena and practically lives with her and to Miblish.
“She had a tendency to cut her action off – she was wanting to go too quickly – and for the last three months she has had Miblish (fifth in today’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes) as a lead horse – he is a great walker and mover. He has taught her how to walk and get rhythm. And that rhythm has injected a bit of speed.
“When we saw the speed we knew she would be good enough to come here. She took on the colts last time and I had no fears about that. I think she would have been a danger to the colts in the Coventry Stakes but we came here.
“If the owner agrees, the next race will be the Moyglare Stud Stakes (7f, Group One, the Curragh, Ireland), following the same route I took with Sayyedati. She will stay seven furlongs
“Then she will come back for the Cheveley Park Stakes (6f, Group One, Newmarket). Today has proved she has got class – she has had to make up five lengths on a very fast horse. She has had to stick her neck out and race.
“You don’t have to win your race in the first four furlongs, rather the last one.
“She was good enough to beat a horse rated 105 (Miblish) on the gallops. I am often accused of pitching horses in too deep. I train my horses with the hope they can be Listed or Group performers. I give them all the same chance.
“My horses are a little bit green when they come to the races because they don’t see any others! A win such as this makes you want to get up at 3.30am in the mornings. Every horse gets a polo mint at 4am and then again at 8pm when I go around again.”
James Doyle, celebrating an astonishing 891.5/1 treble today after not having a Royal Ascot winner previously, was a late choice for the two-year-old filly, with Ryan Moore having been claimed to ride Bye Bye Birdie.
Brittain added: I lost Ryan Moore. He was going to ride the filly until 24 hours before the race when he was claimed. I rang James’s agent and said that I wanted someone who could come and sit on the filly beforehand to see she was something special.
“I had to have a jockey who knew he had a chance and was not on a donkey. If you fill a jockey’s mind that he has a chance then he goes out and rides with confidence. My usual Royal Ascot runner is a 33/1 chance and 500/1 if it is the Derby!
“James rode Rizeena in steady exercise with Miblish up Warren Hill and they quickened up from three to the four furlong markers and she picked him up like that. I chose the horse and the jockey!”
Doyle was smiling broadly afterwards: “It is just amazing. I have not really taken it all in to be honest. It is what you aspire too. I am very happy and thanks to all the connections who have given me the chance today – without them it would be tough.
“I thought coming today that I would definitely have one winner – Al Kazeem – and I thought this filly had an outstanding chance. The Royal Hunt Cup is a bit of a lottery but it worked out. I am loving every minute.”
He then went off to ride in a maiden at Kempton Park.
Queen Mary Stakes (Fillies' Group 2)
SWEET EMMA AND ONE CHANCE DO IT FOR TRAINERS
American trainer Wesley Ward and Newmarket-based Tim Pitt had good reason to feel a sense of relief after fillies they train finished placed in the Grade 2 Queen Mary Stakes.
Ward’s journey across the Atlantic would have proved rather disappointing had he not gone home with some prize money, and after Ogermeister’s 15th place in yesterday’s Windsor Castle Stakes he needed a tonic. Sweet Emma Rose provided it by blitzing from the stalls and clinging on to second behind winner Rizeena. Pitt had a slightly different pressure, for he is still rebuilding his career after a brilliant summer with sprinter Les Arcs in 2006 was followed by a split from owner Willie McKay, who owned his training base near Doncaster. One Chance’s third place today was vindication of Pitt’s judgement when buying the filly for 120,000gns at the yearling sales last autumn.
Ward, who plans to run No Nay Never in tomorrow’s Norfolk Stakes, said of Sweet Emma Rose: “The plan was to go like a bullet from the gate and we wanted this fast ground. That helped her, and what she lacks in talent she gains in her heart.
“She loves turf and I hope she’s going on to bigger things in the future. Where that might be depends on what happens with No Nay Never tomorrow, because if he wins I would like to take him to France for the Prix Morny, and then I would look for another race on the card for this filly.
“We wanted to win today, but this is Royal Ascot and to have a good showing is important. After yesterday’s showing by Ogermeister I was scratching my head, but this filly has got me excited again.”
Pitt said of One Chance: “That is very sweet, because this filly is owned by a proper man – Tom Burridge – who has put a lot of faith in me. She’s not better than a Group Two filly, but he gave me the cheque book and we went and bought her. He wanted an Invincible Spirit filly and she fitted the bill.
“She looked quick at the sales, and we knew that if she didn’t work out as a two-year-old we would be scratching our heads. That’s not to say she won’t get better, but she’s done the deed today by finishing placed at Royal Ascot.
“The race went as planned – there was pace on our side and our filly is quick into her stride. Now we’ll have a look at the programme, but I doubt she wants to go any further. We’ll probably avoid the Molecomb Stakes and look at races like the Cornwallis Stakes. With a bit more cut she would be better.”
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