One year after Tepin successfully invaded Royal Ascot for the Queen Anne S. (G1), compatriots Miss Temple City and American Patriot hope to make it two straight for U.S.-based runners in the Tuesday opener.
Miss Temple City is making her third visit to Royal Ascot, but her first try in the Queen Anne. During her three-year-old campaign in 2015, the Graham Motion trainee was an honorable fourth to Ervedya and Found in the Coronation (G1) over the round mile. Miss Temple City took to the straight mile for last summer’s Duke of Cambridge (G2), where the soft ground – and her top impost of 131 pounds – told against her, but she soldiered on for another fourth.
After mulling the option of staying in the distaff division for the Duke of Cambridge, Motion has gone for the bigger target – the Queen Anne versus males. Miss Temple City has already defeated males twice at the top level, turning the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1)/Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) double at Keeneland. A close fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), she concluded 2016 with a photo-finish victory in the Matriarch (G1).
Motion had intended to get a prep run for Miss Temple City. But an early-season mishap at Palm Meadows (when she ran loose), and rain-affected tracks in both the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) and the Beaugay (G3), ultimately frustrated that plan. Instead, the five-year-old mare will contest the Queen Anne off a six-month holiday.
Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado believes that Miss Temple City will be fit and raring to go.
“She’s been training real well,” Prado told Laurel publicity. “The last couple works were excellent. Graham was very happy with her performance. She’s ready to go. It’s going to be an honor to participate in that kind of race and be part of the festival.
“She was there before and she’s been running all over the country so I don’t think it will be a problem for her to adjust to that particular day. She’s very professional and very competitive. Hopefully she gets the job done.”
Unlike Miss Temple City, Prado will be making his Royal Ascot debut.
“I rode in England, but not at Royal Ascot. Definitely, I’ve been watching a few races and as soon as I get there I will walk the course and see what’s the best part of the track.
“I’ll be shipping in Sunday night. Hopefully everything goes well. I arrive Monday. I’m going to go to the track in the afternoon and the race is Tuesday. Hopefully we have good results.”
Here is video of Miss Temple City (in front) looking in good order on the Lambourn Gallops.
Her companion is top three-year-old turf filly La Coronel, who will race in Friday’s Coronation. Trained by Mark Casse of Tepin fame, La Coronel aims to give the barn another Royal Ascot success story.
The Todd Pletcher-trained American Patriot punched his ticket to the Queen Anne by taking the April 14 renewal of the Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland. Assistant Ginny DePasquale is overseeing the War Front colt’s preparations on the scene.
“Todd and the owner came up with the Royal Ascot plan after American Patriot ran the way he did, coming from far off the pace, European-style,” DePasquale said.
“We were 20-1 in the morning line at Keeneland, but we have always thought a lot of this horse from the time he was a two-year-old. He has still got to prove himself a little bit and we are hoping for the best.
“American Patriot has been training and breezing very well since his Keeneland victory. He went off for a canter this morning and dealt with the open spaces very well.
“Winning the Kentucky Derby (G1), which is the real premier race of the United States for three-year-olds, and then the Belmont S. (G1) means it has been an amazing six weeks for the stable.
“We are hoping American Patriot runs the best he can. Winning at Royal Ascot is very prestigious – the ultimate racing in the world as far as we are concerned – so it would definitely be a feather in our cap.
“This is our second trip to Royal Ascot — we came with two horses six years ago — and we will give it a shot when we have the right horse or horses.”
Those 2011 runners were Bridgetown, 12th in the King’s Stand (G1), and More Than Real, 11th in the Coronation.
— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) June 15, 2017
U.S. interests in next Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee (G1) lie with Long on Value, the first Royal Ascot contender for Bill Mott. Last seen missing by a whisker in the Al Quoz (G1) on Dubai World Cup night, he proved up to the international challenge.
Mott’s son-cum-assistant, Riley, has everything under control until the Hall of Famer arrives Tuesday.
“Long on Value’s run in Dubai was frustrating,” Riley said, “but at the same time also very rewarding as we went halfway across the world and took on an international field. That gave us the confidence to come to Royal Ascot.
“We thought his odds in Dubai (66-1 industry price) didn’t reflect his chance as he trained very well into the race and shipped over well.
“The fact that he was able to compete so well in Dubai opened up the door to come here. We thought he would get outrun in the first quarter-mile as earlier in his career he was running around two turns in the States and laying a bit closer to the pace. When we dropped him back in distance, he has come from behind and that running style seems to suit him. That is not to say he needs to come from off the pace, it is just a case of getting him to settle and make his run.
“He has settled in extremely well in Newmarket. He had his first gallop today and it is so far, so good.”
— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) June 15, 2017
“It is very rewarding for our team back home for the stable to have achieved so much and for me personally, it is very rewarding to be here for my father. To win a race at Royal Ascot would be unbelievable.”
The younger Mott also paid tribute to the trailblazing Wesley Ward, and to Team Tepin, for establishing that Americans can get the job done.
“Mr. Ward has been a fixture at Royal Ascot for several years. For other people it was always a bit of a myth to come over here and compete. I think Mr. Casse’s success with Tepin last year got us thinking that it is possible to come here and win.”