Blue Mist sets record straight at Ascot

Ascot

International Stakes success follows ill fortune at Royal meeting.

Blue Mist put his luckless run at Royal Ascot behind him with a dominant victory in the Moet & Chandon International Stakes.

Roger Charlton’s charge was a well-supported favourite for the Silver Wokingham at the Berkshire circuit last month – but a tardy start put him on the back foot, and he encountered trouble in running on his way to finish a never-nearer ninth.

There were no such problems on his return to Ascot this time, however, as the 9-2 market leader travelled strongly for much of the seven-furlong journey under Ryan Moore before displaying a sharp turn of foot to leave his rivals trailing in his wake.

Jamie Osborne’s dual Ascot winner Cliffs Of Capri finished strongly to close the gap late on, but Blue Mist had plenty in hand at the line.

Harry Charlton, assistant to his father, said: “He was unlucky last time, but he always runs pretty well here.

“Ryan gets on particularly well with him. He is the kind of the horse you try not to get there too soon on, and every time Ryan gets there he goes early and goes clear. Fair play to him – that is why he has been champion jockey.

“He did it well. I was worried about the quick ground, because we hadn’t got as much cut as we wanted. Maybe he can handle it, but it is probably not the best for his legs.

“He is pretty quick. As everyone knows, he has been leading Quadrilateral all winter, so we were hoping he would show some light – and that sort of proves it, I guess.

“He has been third in the Victoria Cup and third in this last year. I guess we may have to step a rank or two now.”

Mohawk King continued Richard Hannon’s excellent recent record in the Anders Foundation British EBF Crocker Bulteel Maiden Stakes.

The Marlborough maestro had claimed four of the last five renewals of this six-furlong contest – and this year fired a twin assault, with newcomer Mohawk King joined by his once-raced stablemate Shanghai Rock.

Three juveniles were still in with a chance entering the last half-furlong, and it was 6-1 shot Mohawk King who finished strongest under Pat Dobbs to prevail by a head from Churchill Bay – with Mayaas just a neck further away in third.

Hannon said: “He came in from the breeze-ups and he wasn’t a runaway or anything like that. He missed the gate by design today, because we didn’t want him to pull too hard, and I was pleased with the way he came through horses.

“We trained the mare (Marsh Hawk), and she was very good. He is a lovely horse, and we think a bit of him.

“We will speak to Sheikh Isa (Salman Al Khalifa, owner) and see what he thinks. He is up to Group level, so it is a case of whether we go there now or find something on the way there.

“He will get further, and the Acomb Stakes at York next month might be a possibility.”

Dobbs later received a three-day suspension for careless riding.

The same combination was denied a double in the following Betfred Supports Jack Berry House British EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes, with the impeccably-bred Snow Lantern having to make do with the runner-up spot behind Zabeel Queen.

Snow Lantern is a daughter of Frankel out of Hannon’s multiple Group One-winning filly Sky Lantern – and there was much to like about the way she came home to pick up minor honours.

Zabeel Queen was a 5-1 shot to make a winning debut for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni, and displayed a smart change of gear to prevail by just over a length.

“She is one of the nicer ones and has shown up well at home. She has a beautiful pedigree that goes back to Dubawi,” said Varian.

“I’d be surprised if the race doesn’t work out. There were some nice types in the paddock and nice types on show. It is a nice start.

“She has got options. She could go back into novice company or into a Stakes race. Maybe the race at Doncaster (May Hill) is nice, but that is six weeks away. I will speak with the owner (Sheikh Obaid), make sure she is okay afterwards and go from there.”

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