Duntle aims for French Group One
Wachman to kick off Wexford with a winner
Wayne Lordan riding Duntle (centre) wins the Duke of Cambridge Stakes during day two of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse last month. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images.
A dozen fillies and mares line up for the mile contest, the first big event on the famous French track’s summer calendar, and they include last year’s winner Elusive Kate, the controversial winner of Newmarket’s Falmouth Stakes earlier this month.
Wachman took Duntle out of that race at the final declaration stage to wait instead for a contest the great Goldikova won four years in a row (2008-11.)
Duntle was involved in her own controversial contest last year when disqualified from first in Leopardstown’s Matron Stakes in favour of Henry Cecil’s Chachamaidee, still a sore point for connections. On her last start Duntle won Royal Ascot’s Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, the form of which was boosted by Dank at the Curragh last weekend.
As well as Elusive Kate, the other British hopes are Chigun and Maureen while the home team includes the Group One proven Giofra.
Ahead of next week’s Galway festival, the ground conditions on the flat course at Ballybrit yesterday were yielding and good on the hurdles course. However it makes no difference to top amateur Nina Carberry who will miss the festival due to a broken collar bone.
The traditional pre-Galway Sunday blank means Wexford has the weekend action to itself in Ireland today and Wachman will hope for a pre-Deauville boost when Fire And Flame carries first-time blinkers in the opening fillies maiden. Edged out by half a length at the Curragh six days ago, the headgear could help a filly who is officially rated just shy of both Morga and Pastiches.
Johnny Murtagh’s King George focus will switch to Wexford a couple of times and the tight track could be ideal for the front-running topweight Benbecula in the first of the handicaps.
Murtagh also trains Manuka in the concluding conditions event but this will do well to cope with Moveable Asset.