Royal Ascot

'I think it's still worth giving her another try at a mile' - Christopher Head keen on Coronation plan for Ramatuelle

Elmalka (right) flies down to outside to land a first 1,000 Guineas for Silvestre de Sousa and Roger Varian
Ramatuelle (black sleeves and cap) was in front until three strides from the line in the Qipco 1,000 GuineasCredit: Edward Whitaker

Christopher Head is looking forward to giving Ramatuelle a chance to gain a long-awaited first Group 1 success in the Coronation Stakes on Friday week.

The daughter of Justify travelled all over her rivals in the 1,000 Guineas and burst clear running into the Dip, only to be caught by both Elmalka and Porta Fortuna in the dying strides of the race.

Currently 7-1 for the Coronation, Ramatuelle was the subject of a sizeable gamble on Guineas day and was the only filly among the principals to have been ridden anywhere near the pace, though she was the slowest through the final furlong of any of the first six home.

Head said: "She's done very well. We took advantage of the opportunity to give her a bit of time after the race but we still had a little more than one month to prepare her.

"I think it's still worth giving her another try at a mile to see if she can handle it. The 1,000 Guineas was only her second race of the season, so we'll give her a last chance and then we'll decide what the rest of the season might hold for her in terms of distance."

Ramatuelle was taken out of the Commonwealth Cup over six furlongs last month and as a result will come up against her Newmarket conqueror Elmalka over the round mile, rather than face the likes of Vandeek, who just ran her down in the Prix Morny in August.

"One of the factors [we took into account] was that you're normally better off keeping against the fillies if you can," said Head. "We wanted to give her a try in the Coronation and the fact that it's against the fillies is all for the better."

Christopher Head: works closely with Big Rock's owner, Leopoldo Fernandez Pujals
Christopher Head will have two runners at Royal Ascot next weekCredit: Edward Whitaker

Asked whether the round mile at Ascot would give Ramatuelle a better chance of staying the trip, Head said: "It's a possibility but I don't yet have enough experience of the racecourse to answer that fully. She's been prepared for it, though.

"She goes pretty much on any ground and while I might prefer good ground, she'll be fine either way."

Two days before Ramatuelle's Royal Ascot target, Head will saddle Sea The Lady in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes in the familiar colours of Rebecca Hillen.

The four-year-old finished third to American Sonja and subsequent Prix Corrida winner Pensee Du Jour on her first start for Head in April after being bought out Yann Barberot's yard.

"She's an interesting filly who's arrived at my stable and she finished close up to Pensee Du Jour," said Head. "Stephen Hillen and I wanted to give the Duke of Cambridge a shot and I think it's a good idea.

"She's showed me a lot and I think she can go anywhere between a mile and a mile and a quarter, so a straight mile should play to her stamina."

Coronation Stakes (Royal Ascot, June 21)

Paddy Power: 5-2 Opera Singer, 7-2 Fallen Angel, 9-2 Elmalka, 6 Ramatuelle, 7 Porta Fortuna, 10 Buttons, Devoted Queen, Rouhiya, 14 bar

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France correspondent

Published on inRoyal Ascot

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