Frankie Dettori says California Chrome will be a “great asset” for Royal Ascot having ridden the colt in a Racecourse gallop here on Thursday.
Crowned American Horse of the Year in 2014 after winning the Kentucky Derby and Group One Preakness Stakes – two thirds of the so-called American Triple Crown, Chrome is no stranger to the big occasion.
He was at Ascot on Thursday to be put through his paces ahead of an intended run in the Prince of Wales’s Stake on the Wednesday of the Royal Meeting and Dettori, who was on board for his gallop but is unlikely to ride him in the race, was impressed with the four-year-old colt.
Watch Frankie Dettori give his views on California Chrome
“He’s spent his whole life going left handed so when he comes to Royal Ascot he’s got to learn to turn right at speed,” Dettori told us.
“So the idea was to bring him here and make sure that he got on to his right lead and he did that fine. Also, the idea was to make sure that he knows that when he’s turning right he’s going to finish the race.
“He’s a very intelligent horse and he copped on straight away, even though coming in to the bend he wasn’t so sure where he was going.
“Horse-wise he feels good. He was very lazy and laid back but I was told to expect that in the morning. It's a great asset to have him here for Royal Ascot.
“The Prince of Wales is one of the best mile and a quarter races in the world but I think he will be very competitive.”
Alan Sherman, son of trainer Art Sherman, was here to oversee his charge and was pleased with how Chrome handled his first outing on the Ascot turf.
“I thought it went great,” he said. “He seemed to handle the right-hand bend and Frankie said he handled the turf course good so I was happy with it.
“We wanted to get him a little more focused, get his mind in the game. He was getting a little too relaxed at Newmarket so it was good to get a little bit if a race scenario back in to his mind and to get his head back in the game.
“This horse is so easy to train and he loves to run, he loves job so he makes our job very easy.
As for Royal Ascot, Sherman Jnr is looking forward to his first taste of the Royal Meeting.
“It’s been such a fun ride, Dubai was fun and it’s not over yet – we’re still riding the wave,” he added.
“It’s a pleasure to be here, it’s a beautiful place and it’s going to be a lot of fun on race day.
“When you get 60,000-70,000 people here it’s going to be amazing so we’re looking forward to it.”
Nick Smith, Ascot’s Head of Communications and International Racing, added: “It was tremendous to have him here this morning and created a real buzz.
“He went round the right-handed bend well and that was the purpose of the exercise. Frankie seemed happy that he felt well in himself and now we just hope he gets to the race safely.”
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes is shaping up to be a classic renewal and you can be there with tickets starting from as little as £27.