Send her victorious: Light Refrain powers to Group-race victory for the Queen
Light Refrain, who fluffed her lines when the Queen came to see her at a muddy Royal Ascot, showed she is still a filly to watch with a redeeming win 20 days later.
She could finish only 11th in the Jersey Stakes last month, when her owner made her first visit to the royal meeting in two years.
However, dropped back from 7f and racing against her own sex, the three-year-old bounced back to score a first Group 3 success in the William Hill Summer Stakes under Tom Marquand.
“Her Majesty was present at Ascot and it was disappointing, but she hated the ground and it dragged the speed out of her,” Marquand said. “Ascot went like a gluepot and she didn’t love it.
“We all agreed that coming back to six furlongs would do the trick and that decision was justified.
“She’s a gorgeous filly and she’s come so good mentally. She falls asleep in behind one, gets a tow in and she’s all there for you when you need her to be.”
Marquand was riding his tenth winner for the Queen and added: “Ever since my first year riding I’ve been lucky enough to have one or two each year and riding winners for Her Majesty the Queen is as high up in the sport as you can get in terms of who you’re riding for.”
The winner could now be set for a step back up in class, and trainer William Haggas’s wife Maureen said: “She’s done well as that’s always a competitive race. She ideally could do with a little more cut in the ground, but it didn’t seem to bother her.
“She’s done very little wrong this year and has now won a Listed and a Group 3. She handles cut in the ground, so it’s probably worth putting her in races like the Haydock Sprint Cup later in the year.
“She’s got to go for a Group 1 or a Group 2 and you haven’t really got much to lose. John Warren [the Queen’s racing adviser], the Queen and William will discuss it.”
Robinson runs riot
Ben Robinson warmed up for Nicholas T’s bid to complete a historic Northumberland Plate-John Smith’s Cup double by landing a 122-1 double on Cormier and 40-1 shot James Watt.
Nicholas T starts from stall 16 of 22 in today’s 1m2½f feature, and the jockey said: “He was drawn 17 in the Northumberland Plate, but that was two miles and we just wanted to get him switched off. I’ll leave it up to Jim Goldie – he won the race with Euchen Glen and he’s a very shrewd trainer.”
The Brian Ellison-trained Cormier kept on well to win the 1m4f handicap, after twice being withdrawn due to unsuitably quick ground since a winning return to the Flat in May.
“He’s got very good hurdles form and he’s fresh off a run at Pontefract, where he won quite easily,” Robinson said.
“My only doubt was the sun drying the ground out, but his class brought him through it and he got away with it.”
Robinson brought up his big double on the Paul Midgley-trained James Watt, who got up close home in the 5f handicap."
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