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Royal Ascot 2015

June 01 2015 – Greg Wood

Royal Ascot 2015
Royal Ascot 2015

Peacock’s Newmarket win gives Queen a serious Royal Ascot contender

Peacock and Richard Hughes winning with some comfort in the Fairway Stakes at Newmarket. Photograph: racingfotos/Rex Shutterstock

Written by: Chris Cook at Newmarket


The Queen will have at least one runner with a major chance at next month’s Royal Ascot after her Peacock was an eye-catching winner here. The Richard Hannon-trained three-year-old scored with a degree of comfort in a Listed race under Richard Hughes and is now expected to tackle the Tercentenary Stakes on 18 June, a Group Three contest.

While that is certainly the next step up horse racing’s ladder, Peacock’s connections could not have been blamed for considering a much more ambitious target in next Saturday’s Derby. It is not unknown for winners of this race to be late additions to the Epsom field and Peacock was runner-up behind the Derby favourite, Golden Horn, when last seen.

But John Warren, who manages the Queen’s racing interests, was minded to resist temptation. “I don’t think we ever thought he should have had a Derby entry. Well … no, I don’t think we really did.

“But his form, he beat the Chesham winner last year, he’s had good form all the way through his career but he’s just now come of age and is now really set up for Ascot, which is great, to give the Queen a nice runner there.

“He goes for the Tercentenary. That was the plan that we talked about with the trainer, if he managed to do it today. That would be absolutely tailor-made for him. And Hughesie said he’s so tough, you can’t get to the bottom of him, a real gritty horse, just like his father,” Warren added in reference to Paco Boy, a triple Group One winner for the same stable.

Warren outlined Ascot plans for some of the Queen’s other horses, suggesting that Ring Of Truth, a narrow Haydock winner this week, would probably go for the Albany. Fabricate may turn up for the Queen’s Vase, while Pack Together and Touchline have the Sandringham Handicap in their sights. Dartmouth is a possible for the King George V Handicap.

Golden Horn worked on one of the town’s gallops on Saturday morning and did enough to please his trainer, John Gosden, who was similarly contented with another bit of work by his other Derby contender, Jack Hobbs.

Gosden said Golden Horn would have one more piece of work before the big day, while Jack Hobbs has done enough.

Elsewhere on the gallops on Saturday morning, Hughes sat on Crystal Zvezda for the first time and is reportedly in line to partner Sir Michael Stoute’s filly in Friday’s Oaks, for which she is the second-favourite at 9-2.