15:05 Royal Ascot: Duntle to win battle of the course winners
The Duke of Cambridge Stakes seems set to revolve around three course and distance winners, with Duntle, Chigun and Dank set to fight it out for favouritism in the Grade 2 contest.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Dank finished well down on Chigun when attempting to give that rival 3lbs in his final race of last season, but showed her just who the boss was on her first start of 2012 at Newmarket, when giving her 3lbs and a short-head beating.
However Chigun improved 18lbs during the course of last season, having scored off a mark of 90 at its genesis and there could be more to come from the four-year-old at the Royal meeting. She looked a fraction keen in the early portion of her clash with Dank at Newmarket and that may have sabotaged her run.
Victory would be poignant for the Lady-Cecil-saddled-filly and she signalled she was ready to continue improving when scoring in a Curragh Group 3 next time.
Her ability to win on good ground may aid her in getting the better of Dank, who has yet to win on ground softer than good-to-firm.
However both will have their work cut to defy Duntle, who scored off 9st2lbs in the listed Sandrigham handicap at last year’s Royal Ascot.
David Wachman’s filly hasn’t done a lot wrong in her career to date, losing just one of her five races since winning her maiden by a massive 18 lengths early last season.
She would have an all-age Group 1 fillies and mares mile to her name, but for losing Leopardstown’s Matron Stakes in the stewards room on her final start of the last campaign and proved herself in good order when winning at Group 3 level on her seasonal return.
She can be expected to come on for that run and on a form line through Lady’s First – whom she beat by three lengths when conceding 4lbs at this meeting last year – she should be well off at the weights with her two course-and-distance-winning rivals.
Ladys First finished in front of Dank and just two lengths behind Chigun in their September 2012 clash.