Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Royal Ascot: Godolphin set for raid in upcoming Queen Mary Stakes

Dubai racing operation to run four horses in Group 2 race aside from being double-handed in Queen’s Vase

Godolphin’s royal blue silks will likely be conspicuous by their absence in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes, but they will have significant presence in two of the big supporting races on Day 2 of the Royal Ascot on Wednesday.

The Dubai-based racing operation have entered four horses in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes, and they are double-handed in the Group 2 Queen’s Vase - the first two prizes in the six-race card of the festival.

Godolphin’s quartet - Ickworth, Final Song, Theory Of Time and Divine Spirit - will put their unbeaten records on the line in the opener, which is a race for two-year-old fillies run over 1,000 metres.

Ickworth, trained by Willie McCreery, is the most experienced of the Godolphin contenders with two wins in two starts in Ireland. She triumphed on Polytrack at Dundalk on her debut in March, and got the better of the colts in the Listed First Flier Stakes at the Curragh in May.

“Ickworth is in great form and has bounced out of her win at the Curragh,” McReery told Godolphin.com. “We are just hoping that the track misses the forecasted rain on Tuesday night, as we feel she will be a better filly on better ground.

“Travelling over to the UK will be a new experience for her. But she is a very relaxed filly, so I hope it won’t be a problem.”

The other Godolphin runners come into the race on the back of first-time victories.

Saeed bin Suroor’s Final Song is returning to Ascot after powering to an impressive five-length success over the trip in May.

“Final Song won nicely over this course and distance on her first start,” Bin Suroor said of the Dark Angel filly. “She came out of that race in good order and any rain will help her chances. She has been going well at home, and I am very happy with her.”

Completing the Godolphin line-up are two horses trained by Charlie Appleby - Theory Of Time, the mount of James Doyle, and Divine Spirit under Kerrin McEvoy.

“We were pleased with Divine Spirit’s first start, and she looks to have come forward for her debut,” Appleby said. “Theory Of Time is dropping back in trip. But we don’t see it being a problem, and she has sharpened up for her first run. She is a strong individual and we are looking forward to seeing how she gets on.

“James Doyle, who had the choice of which filly to ride, picked Theory Of Time. I would tend to agree with him.”

Meanwhile, Appleby’s pair Jalmoud and Moonlight Spirit carry Godolphin’s hopes in the Queen’s Vase.

“Jalmoud brings a nice progressive profile into the race, having battled well to win his Listed race at Longchamp,” Appleby said. “Moonlight Spirit will appreciate any ease in the ground, and I am confident that the step up to a mile and three quarters is going to suit him.”

Updated: June 19, 2019 11:48 AM

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