Tepin: set to clash with Solow in the Queen Anne Stakes
PICTURE: Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos
ROYAL ASCOT’s status as the world’s most cosmopolitan race meeting was underlined on Wednesday when a record number of overseas entries featured among the week’s eight Group 1 races, including star US mare Tepin, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile winner.
Tepin posted another Grade 1 success in the Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday and is set to prep in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile or the Woodford Reserve Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 7.
Trainer Mark Casse said: “Royal Ascot is definitely going to be a little more difficult. You just never know when you try something new [Ascot’s straight mile].
“I would have been a little more worried because a mile uphill is a lot more taxing than a mile in the US, but the way Tepin has run recently suggests that, now she is older and wiser, she doesn’t have the distance limitations she had early on.”
A total of 41 horses have been entered for the Queen Anne Stakes, including last year’s winner Solow, who has won his last ten starts.
International challenge in numbers
The 164 international horses engaged in the top-level highlights is eight more than the previous best in 2013, while total entries including British runners rose to a high of 394 – six more than 12 months ago.
Unsurprisingly, Aidan O’Brien, whose hot Qipco 2,000 Guineas favourite Air Force Blue is one of 56 three-year-olds in the St James’s Palace Stakes, is responsible for nearly half of Ireland’s 81 entries, while French stables have entered 44.
The US could field 18, while Australia (nine), Germany (four), Hong Kong (four), Japan (two) and Singapore (two) might also be represented.
Crack Japanese five-year-old A Shin Hikari is one of 39 in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, while Chautauqua – regarded as Australia’s top sprinter – is on course for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Royal Ascot officials were thrilled with the numbers of international contenders, which are likely to swell in the juvenile races.
Nick Smith, director of racing and communications at Ascot, said: “It’s gratifying to see numbers up generally and record international entries, but what really counts in the latter respect is quality and spread.
“To have one of Japan’s leading middle-distance horses in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes once again is tremendous; Chautauqua is most people’s idea of the world’s top sprinter and headlines several high-profile Australian entries; Tepin’s record speaks for itself and she is really picking up the public’s attention home and abroad.”
Prize-money for Royal Ascot, run from June 14-18, is up £1 million from last year at £6.58m.
var $facebookBlock = $(‘#facebook’);