Balding completes Coventry-Albany double with impressive Sandrine under Probert
Andrew Balding joined some illustrious company as Sandrine and David Probert gave him the Albany Stakes to go with Tuesday's Coventry Stakes success, only the third time the six-furlong juvenile double has been completed at Royal Ascot.
Aidan O'Brien in 2016 and Richard Hannon snr in 2010 had achieved the same feat and, despite only having one start on the all-weather by way of racecourse experience, Sandrine showed class and a cool attitude to power through the testing conditions in the colours of her owner-breeder, Kirsten Rausing.
The well-fancied Hello You was second and Oscula – who raced alone up the stands' rail – came home third.
The day-four opener was run a little more than an hour after an extended inspection following persistent heavy rain.
Balding said: "I thought it was sure to be off driving here and we only came because we had a lunch. I'm so pleased for Kirsten and all the team at Lanwades [Stud], she's a great supporter of the sport and thoroughly deserves a win like this."
Commenting on the decision to step up from Kempton all-weather maiden to Group 3 level, he added: "We were going to go for another little novice race somewhere and I then rang Kirsten about a week ago and said she'd worked so well that we were going to have to give her an entry for the Albany, and Kirsten, thankfully, was up for it."
With Berkshire Shadow having scored in the Coventry earlier in the week Balding has two hugely exciting juveniles to plot a course through this season and beyond with.
"We were a bit concerned about the ground because there are mixed messages in the pedigree but then Kirsten told me [sire] Bobby's Kitten won his only race in Ireland on soft ground," said Balding. "It was worth a go and Dave gave her a beautiful ride.
"She did it nicely today, there's no fluke about it. She travelled like the best horse in the race and I thought she was impressive."
'We knew she was pretty special'
Balding added of Berkshire Shadow: "He's obviously a smart horse and I feel very blessed to have two horses like that in the yard. It's a big team effort."
Probert was enjoying his second success at the royal meeting following on from Born In Bombay in the Britannia Stakes of 2014.
"We knew she was pretty special but she's done so well to brave it through this ground," said Probert, who thanked Rausing for letting him keep the ride following the Kempton success.
"There's a lot of competition in that weighing room and Oisin [Murphy] came up through the ranks with Andrew. There were plenty of other jockeys she could have chosen from. I'm just massively thankful for all the opportunities I'm given and, when I do get given them, I just have to take them with both hands and hope for the best."
All the reaction on Friday at Royal Ascot:
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