Eve Johnson Houghton is confident Juniper Berries will make her mark in Wednesday’s Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The Blewbury handler will take a small but select team to the Berkshire track, headed by Accidental Agent, who gave her a first Royal Ascot winner and a first Group One winner when taking the 2018 Queen Anne Stakes.
But it is the twice-raced Juniper Berries who has caught the attention in recent weeks, the daughter of Expert Eye having worked like a good filly.
Owned by Norman Court Stud and Jon Mitchell, she made her debut over five furlongs at Bath in April and drew readily clear to score by almost five lengths from subsequent scorers Grey Gray, Beenham and Heed The Call.
She then chased home fellow first-time-out winner Relief Rally over a similar five-furlong trip at Salisbury.
Though a general 33-1 chance for the Queen Mary, Johnson Houghton is adamant she will outrun those odds.
She said: “Juniper Berries will go well in the Queen Mary. She is pretty useful. She got beat last time, but we just rode her wrong.
“She won at Bath, very impressively, and she is working nicely. We’re very happy with her.”
Meanwhile, Woodcote winner Bobsleigh will head to the Coventry Stakes
The Elzaam colt made a good start to his career when winning a Brighton maiden by two and three-quarter lengths in early May, after which he took on stiffer company in the Woodcote at Epsom on Derby day.
The 5-1 shot came from off the pace to score with a bit in hand under Charlie Bishop in the colours of the The Woodway 20, a syndicate assembled by Johnson Houghton, who enjoyed Ascot glory in 2021 when Chipotle won the Listed five-furlong Windsor Castle for her in the same silks.
Johnson Houghton is prepared to roll the dice. She said: “Bobsleigh goes in the Coventry – boom or bust!
“I thought about putting him in the Windsor Castle, but then I thought, ‘no, it will only confuse me’. Charlie Bishop will ride. I’ve been very happy with him since Epsom.”
High-class Streets Of Gold, who had wind surgery after his lacklustre run in the Greenham at Newbury on his three-year-old debut, was placed in the Surrey Stakes at Epsom.
The Havana Gold colt won all five of his races as a juvenile, and the trainer added: “Streets of Gold will go for the Jersey. Both he and Bobsleigh have each-way chances.
“We haven’t decided about Jumby yet. He could possibly go to the Wokingham, while the old boy (Accidental Agent) will be out in the Buckingham Palace.”