Brave Anna (second left) hung on to deny Bletchley (left)
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Report: Royal Ascot, Friday
Albany Stakes (Group 3) 6f, 2yo fillies
AIDAN O’BRIEN claimed his fourth winner of the week but not with the filly the market expected as Brave Anna held on from the fast-finishing Bletchley to score.
Ridden by Seamie Heffernan, 16-1 shot Brave Anna was prominent nearer the stands side of the course and hit the front with a furlong to run.
Bletchley, also sent off at 16-1, was delivered late down the outside by Oisin Murphy but could not quite get there and missed out by a short head.
Queen Kindly, the first of Frankel’s offspring to run at the meeting, put up a fine performance to take third, half a length further away, having been sent off a 13-2 chance.
The winner’s stablemate Cuff, the 2-1 favourite, could manage only fifth.
“She’s a lovely filly and came here off the back of a good win at the Curragh,” said Heffernan. “Aidan told me to give her a chance and hopefully she would run well, which she did. These are the winners you want.”
Heffernan’s day was soured slightly as stewards hit him with a nine-day ban and a £1,250 fine for using his whip 12 times. Oisin Murphy was also suspended for four days for ten strikes with the whip, with the stewards taking into account the inexperience of the horses.
MV Magnier paid tribute to Heffernan, adding: “The filly is very tough and Seamie said before that he fancied her. It’s great she won and it’s great for him too.”
BetVictor responded to the victory by trimming Brave Anna to 16-1 (from 33) for next year’s 1,000 Guineas, the same price William Hill go for her as well as Bletchley and Queen Kindly.
Richard Fahey admitted he had expected Queen Kindly to win Friday’s race and was disappointed, as much as the run was a good one.
“She ran well,” Fahey said. “Jamie [Spencer, jockey] felt maybe the ground was a bit sticky because she’s all speed. It didn’t look that way today, though; all she did was stay.
“At home she’s got a lot of speed, so maybe better ground and an easy six furlongs somewhere will be best for her.
“It’s not a bad run but when you come here expecting to win and you don’t, it’s disappointing.”
Spencer added: “She ran a beautiful race. I was delighted with her.”
Also on Friday
Queen’s Vase (Listed Race) 2m, 3yo
AIDAN O’BRIEN completed a double on the day as Sword Fighter scored under a brilliant front-running ride by Colm O’Donoghue in the finale.
Once again, it was left to a Ballydoyle understudy to deliver as Ryan Moore-ridden favourite Landofhopeandglory could manage only fourth, with Sword Fighter landing odds of 33-1.
It meant the O’Brien double paid the unusually large price of 577-1 but O’Donoghue, for whom this was a first Royal Ascot winner, believes none of the master trainer’s horses should ever be discounted.
“All the horses come here in prime condition and Aidan has them ready for the day,” he said. “This is a horse that handles a bit of ease in the ground and he’s by Galileo, so they always have loads of heart.
“He’s not short of speed, either. We picked up from a mile out and he was very strong to the line.”
O’Brien added: “Colm gave him a class ride. He dictated the pace lovely, got left in front the whole way and got it absolutely spot on.”
Also on Friday
Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap) 1m4f, 3yo+
RALPH BECKETT once again had to endure a nervous wait during a stewards’ inquiry but Kinema ultimately kept the race to hand the trainer his first Royal Ascot success.
Kinema and Fran Berry were first past the post but hung right in the closing stages, slamming the door on Kings Fete and also causing some intereference to the favourite Elite Army.
The result stood after the stewards had a look, with Elite Army second and Kings Fete third. Ryan Moore once again enjoyed no luck in running on the latter having also suffered a troubled passage on Coronation Stakes third Alice Springs.
“We lost two Group 1s last year and got one back, so it’s a bit of a relief to put it mildly,” said Beckett. “I’ve been training for 17 years and this is my first Royal Ascot winner.”
Fran Berry picked up a seven-day careless riding ban as a result of the enquiry.
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