Candleford too hot for Royal Ascot rivals

Tom Marquand opened his account for Royal Ascot 2022 as the long-absent Candleford ran away with the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.

Trained by William Haggas, the four-year-old had not been seen in competitive action since winning at Kempton in November, but was nevertheless prominent in the market at 11-2.

For a moment early in the straight it looked as though Kim Bailey’s Ajero had slipped the field, but Candleford joined him approaching the final furlong before rocketing clear.

The Queen’s 4-1 joint-favourite Just Fine never threatened to land a telling blow and was well beaten.

Haggas said: “He loves going right handed and won a nice race in the autumn. I thought going a mile and a half on fast ground would prove right up his street.

“I actually thought all through the winter I would win the Duke Of Edinburgh, but not with him. I didn’t think he would get in, but I was wrong.

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“One person I’m thinking of right now is Alison Samuel, who rides him every day. She will be in tears for a week.”

The winner is owned by former England cricketer Craig Kieswetter’s Barnane Stud.

Heredia leads the way at Royal Ascot
Heredia leads the way at Royal Ascot (Adam Davy/PA)

Heredia justified 7-2 favouritism in the Sandringham Stakes for Richard Hannon and Sean Levey to give the jockey a first Royal Ascot winner.

The Dark Angel filly had won each of her three previous starts, completing her hat-trick on her first appearance of 2022 at York last month.

A smart change of gear carried her to the front and while she drifted left late on, impeding eventual runner-up Zanbaq, she passed the post a length to the good and was confirmed the winner after a stewards’ inquiry.

Hannon said: “It’s been a great week with loads of owners trainers and jockeys having winners.

“It takes a Group horse to win a handicap at Royal Ascot and as she’s in the Falmouth we will take a look at it.”

Levey added: “It’s absolutely huge for me. That’s my first Royal Ascot winner and I’ve been here a long time now.

“I needed to go off favourite in a race like this. A lot could have gone wrong, but she is a good filly and has done it well.”

Latin Lover (5-1) was a first Royal Ascot winner too for Harry Eustace in the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes.

Since taking over from his father, James, Eustace has made great strides and he emerged victorious with his first runner at the meeting.

Hayley Turner brought him through with a late run to pip Nymphadora in the dying strides.

“You dream about it. I know everyone says it, but a lot of good horses have been beaten this week, so to have a horse that can get his head in front is unbelievable,” said Eustace.

Turner, riding her third Royal Ascot winner, said: “It’s a bit unfortunate for (usual rider) George Wood, but he can’t do the weight so it went in my favour.”

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