By Simon Jackson at Royal Ascot.
Kevin Ryan intends to make a late decision on the participation of The Grey Gatsby in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday at Ascot, where the ground was eased to soft today.
The going had been good to soft (soft in places on the round course) on Monday night but was altered to soft ahead of the first race on the opening day of the five-day extravaganza.
Ryan’s stable star was beaten a short head by Free Eagle in this race last year and Ryan intends to make a late decision on The Grey Gatsby’s participation in the £750,000 race that has attracted a field of six runners.
“The Grey Gatsby is in great form, he’s bursting to run,” Ryan said on Monday “It’s just unfortunate we’ve got a headache to see what the weather does over the next 48 hours.
“Good ground is ideal for him and he would probably get away with the easy side of good, but he’s tried soft ground before and just doesn’t handle it.
“He’s also in the Hardwicke Stakes [on Saturday]. We will see how much rain materialises.”
While Ryan hopes to have the chance to turn the tables on his past conqueror, trainer Hugo Palmer did just that today when Galileo Gold produced a scintillating performance to win the St James’s Palace Stakes on the first day of Royal Ascot 2016.
Galileo Gold had failed to follow up on his victory in the Qipco 2000 Guineas when second in the Irish equivalent to Awtaad, who re-opposed today.
Yet Palmer’s charge proved superior under a confident ride from the resurgent Frankie Dettori to score by one and a quarter lengths from French 2000 Guineas winner The Gurkha with Awtaad a further half a length back in third place.
“I don’t know how we turned it around, and I’m not sure we did,” Palmer told members of the racing press at a post-race press conference. “He ran a huge race in Ireland, but he wasn’t able to use his stride there. He was out perfectly quick enough but the best horse won on the day.
“In the Newmarket Guineas and again today his stride was never broken. Frankie was able to get the horse into the most magnificent rhythm and he just galloped and galloped. That’s what he needs.
“It just shows how at every level in sport you need everything to go right. One little thing went wrong in Ireland and we finished second, today everything went right and we won. That’s the difference.”
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