Billesdon Brook camp opt for Coronation Stakes rather than head to France
The connections of Billesdon Brook will be dusting off their top hats and fascinators, with the surprise 1,000 Guineas winner to be added to the field for the Group 1 Coronation Stakes.
Following her 66-1 shock victory at Newmarket last month, races like the Coronation Stakes became an option for the filly and her syndicate, the Pall Mall Partners.
Headed by Jeanette McCreery, the syndicate have decided to part with the £45,000 supplementary fee for the Royal Ascot race, rather than head to France for the Prix de Diane at Chantilly.
Speaking in his Unibet blog, trainer Richard Hannon explained why Billesdon Brook will be sticking to a mile at Ascot for the Coronation Stakes.
He said: "It wasn’t a particularly difficult decision and Jeanette McCreery spoke to all the Pall Mall Partners, who were in agreement that the trip around Ascot on good ground will suit her better than Chantilly, where it can often come up soft and it’s over further."
Billesdon Brook is a 7-1 chance for the Coronation Stakes in an open market.
Bookmakers can barely separate Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Alpha Centauri, Aidan O'Brien's Clemmie and David Simcock's maiden Classic winner, French 1,000 Guineas heroine Teppal. The trio can all be backed between 9-2 and 5-1.
Hannon provided a positive update on Billesdon Brook, as he added: "The filly is absolutely fine and will have a good piece of work this weekend. The recent good weather has really helped her develop in confidence and she couldn’t be in any better form."
McCreery also has Free Handicap winner Anna Nerium as a possible for the Coronation Stakes, though she would be an unlikely runner unless the ground came up on the soft side.
Ground and weather latest
With ten days to go until the five-day meeting starts, Ascot clerk of the course Chris Stickels is keeping a close eye on the ground, which he described as good on Saturday.
"We've had one millimetre of rain in June, so we've been watering and watered yesterday. If I gave the going today it would be good," he said.
"We won't water again until next week, we'll keep an eye on the forecast and we're irrigating occasionally just to keep some moisture in there. The track's in lovely condition, I'm very happy with it.
"We're due a fine weekend and the forecast looks fairly settled to the middle of the week. There is the odd chance of a bit of rain."
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