Royal winners at Ascot are usually cheered home loudly and William Haggas is looking to Chalk Stream to continue his improvement in Friday’s Harrogate Water B Corp Noel Murless Stakes.
With over £100,000 up for grabs, it is somewhat surprising only six go to post but none can be ruled out with any confidence.
Chalk Stream is owned and bred by the Queen, with the dam Golden Stream winning a Listed race for Sir Michael Stoute and sire Sea The Stars needing no introduction.
Having failed to win in two outings as a juvenile, Chalk Stream began this season with no grand ambitions and even in getting off the mark at Leicester from an opening handicap rating of 71, his subsequent quick progression looked unlikely.
Two defeats at Haydock followed but wins at Yarmouth, Ripon and last time out at Ascot in the valuable Lavazza Stakes has seen his rating rise to 105 and Haggas feels now is the time to take the step into Listed company.
“He got well stuffed up (by the handicapper) last time when he put him up 11lb, so it didn’t really give us much choice as it didn’t leave us much room for manoeuvre,” he said.
“This will be interesting. I think he’ll be OK at the trip, I think he doesn’t mind the track clearly so it’s as long as the ground is not too soft really. He did win on good to soft at Ripon the time before last, but it was only a five-runner race.
“I am a little bit worried as I think he’s better on top of the ground, but he’s very well and it was the obvious race to go for.
“It’s very valuable, very valuable indeed, and I did actually ring Ascot up to check it wasn’t a misprint. When they told me it wasn’t I thought it needed supporting, so I’m pleased to be there.”
Ralph Beckett’s Scope was not disgraced when sixth in the St Leger and drops in class, while Brian Meehan’s Mandoob only lost his unbeaten record to Charlie Appleby’s Yibir in the Bahrain Trophy and he subsequently won both the Great Voltigeur at York and the Jockey Club Derby at Belmont.
First Light represents John and Thady Gosden while Andrew Balding runs both Classic Lord and Valley Forge.