Discover Ascot Raceday turned into a discovery day for Royal Ascot with many of the day’s winners setting themselves up for targets at the big meeting in June.
Mizzou has the Royal Ascot Gold Cup firmly marked on his dance card now after a course record success in the 2m Group 3 Longines Sagaro Stakes (G3), a traditional trial for the Group 1 staying race.
Sara Cumani, representing her husband trainer Luca, said: “We’ve always thought a lot of Mizzou, and Luca has been saying all winter that he hoped the horse would become his Gold Cup horse.
“William [Buick] rode him beautifully, but he said afterwards that the horse wouldn’t want the ground any quicker.”
Despite pre-race negatives from the Henry Candy yard, Limato, who was one of last season’s leading two-year-olds, looked as good as ever when taking the 6f Merriebelle Stables Pavilion Stakes (G3).
Reportedly the son of Tagula has not been training at all well at home in the run-up to his seasonal debut, but with some big assignments ahead this season trainer Henry Candy had to take his chance with him today. The bet paid off.
“I really did not know what to expect, he has just not been showing me the right signs at home,” reported Candy. “I am just relieved. I think we will take in one more race ahead of the Commonwealth Cup, we won’t get away with anything in a Group 1. He looks just as exciting as before.”
Candy’s sentiments were echoed by owner Paul Jacobs: “We didn’t know if he had trained on or not – he was the smallest in the field today. I am relieved, but it is exciting times too.”
The colt is now the ante-post favourite for the inaugural running of Royal Ascot’s Commonwealth Cup, a 6f Group 1 for three-year-olds.
A Group 1 at the Royal meeting is also a likely assignment for the John Gosden-trained three-year-old filly Sperry, winner of the Retraining of Racehorses & Horseback UK EBF Stallions Stakes
Godolphin’s retained jockey James Doyle, who rode the Shamardal filly, said: “She has some potential. She kicked off the home turn and then lengthened all the way to the line. She has some exciting entries ahead of her.”
“Sperry is in the Coronation Stakes,” said Gosden. “It is a big dream, but she has proved that she handles the track and we might as well dream big!”
The opening two-year-old race, the Times+ Conditions Stakes, was won for the fourth time in the last eight years by the Hannon team, this time around with Log Out Island. A well-regarded colt, he will be seen back here in June, though the trainer admitted that he is not sure in which race.
“He has the speed for 5f, but looks as though he’ll stay 6f,” said Hannon. “We’ve liked him at home and he could be one long term for the National Stakes.”
Moohaarib, a son of Oasis Dream and trained by Marco Botti, won the Listed William & Son Paradise Stakes. Connections are also planning big things for the four-year-old – he might run in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes next.
Botti said: “Moohaarib was a May foal and is a late developer. He has improved after his run in the Lincoln and we’ve always thought that he’d be better at four. I was worried about the quicker ground today and nearly took him out of the race, but he handled it – we might well go for the Lockinge now.”
Directorship gave 18-year-old Hector Crouch a day to remember in the Redcentric Apprentices Handicap, the last on today’s card. It was a first winner at Ascot for Crouch and a 16th career success in total.