By Simon Jackson.
Brown Panther is best-priced at 10-1 for the Ascot Gold Cup after his owner, the ex-Liverpool and England striker Michael Owen, revealed it as the six-year-old’s key target this season.
Owen disclosed that the 2013 Goodwood Cup winner would return to the scene of his Royal Ascot triumph of 2011 after landing the Group 3 Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes at Chester.
The victory was the Tom Dascombe-trained horse’s eighth in a career spanning 19 starts and boosted his earnings to over £440,000, in his first run since finishing a respectable eighth in the Melbourne Cup in November.
At Chester Brown Panther tracked the leader under Richard Kingscote for the bulk of the 13 furlong contest. He asserted two furlongs out and stayed on well to score by two and a quarter lengths from odds-on favourite Hillstar.
“Ascot is our primary target this year,” said Owen who has also not ruled out taking in the Melbourne Cup or Champions Day later in the season.
“But we had to go somewhere to start with and we debated whether to come here or the Yorkshire Cup or Sandown. But certainly Ascot is the plan and it is nice to kick-start the season in a positive way.
“We were a little bit concerned about the race being a dawdle. Obviously Brown Panther has got loads of stamina, and were just a little bit concerned, hence he way Richard rode him.
“We wanted a little bit of cover but he was always in a position if they did go a crawl to pick them up and it’s a great sight when you know you are going to win with half a furlong to go.
Kingscote added: “He relaxed and went a nice even gallop. He is growing up and going the right way. He did is nicely. I was really pleased between the three and the two furlongs the way he just lengthened away.”
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