Royal Ascot not ruled out for Emily Upjohn

Emily Upjohn could yet bid to atone for her Oaks heartbreak in next week’s Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.

A clear-cut winner of the Musidora in her Epsom prep, the John and Thady Gosden-trained filly endured a luckless Classic run, losing a handful of lengths at the start when stumbling coming out of the stalls before being beaten just a short head by Tuesday at the line.

That was Emily Upjohn’s third start of the campaign, having also cantered home by nine and a half lengths at Sandown on her return in April, and John Gosden has not completely ruled out a swift return at Group Two level next Thursday.

He said: “The Ribblesdale is a very important race, she’s never won a Group Two. You wait until the end of July and you’re looking at two possible races, then the Yorkshire Oaks.

“If she’s in good form, it’s something that needs to be considered and thoroughly looked at, you don’t just say ‘oh we’ll wait seven weeks or two months’.

“In her life she’s had four races, which isn’t an awful lot. We’ll see, she’s fine, she’s been eating well and looking well. She’s cantered and seems happy, so we’ll keep the options open.”

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Inspiral is due to return in the Coronation Stakes
Inspiral is due to return in the Coronation Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

Inspiral was the winter favourite for the 1000 Guineas but she bypassed the first fillies’ Classic as connections felt the race would just come too soon for the daughter of Frankel.

Winner of the Fillies’ Mile last year on her final juvenile outing, Inspiral will now get the chance to right the record as the winners of the English, French and Irish 1000 Guineas – Cachet, Mangoustine and Homeless Songs respectively – are all on course for a headline clash in the Coronation Stakes.

Gosden said: “It can happen to some fillies in the spring, she’s taken a long time to come right and you don’t want to rush them. She’s pleasing me now and going the right way. She’s goes for the Coronation, for which Mr (Dermot) Weld will be favourite (with Homeless Songs).

“It’s great when it happens (the Guineas winners meet), it’s like a grand finale and you find out who the best is.

“She’s coming to herself and I think we’re beginning to see the filly of last year, so we’ll hope for a big performance. I think she’s getting close to being exactly where we want her and as long as the next few days go all right, she can put up a bold show.

“We have been (keen to run), but sometimes in this game you just have to be patient.”

Reach For The Moon will be trying to give the Queen a Platinum Jubilee winner
Reach For The Moon will be trying to give the Queen a Platinum Jubilee winner (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Reach For The Moon was another Gosden Classic hope over the winter, with many hoping the colt could give his owner the Queen a Derby win in her Platinum Jubilee year.

However, after suffering a setback at the end of last term, Reach For The Moon was ruled out of Epsom some weeks before the Classic, instead making his reappearance in the Heron Stakes at Sandown last month.

Second to My Prospero over a mile there, Reach For The Moon is now likely to edge up to 10 furlongs in the Hampton Court Stakes rather than be pitched in over a mile and a half in the King Edward VI Stakes.

Gosden said: “We’re thinking Hampton Court for Reach For The Moon, over a mile and a quarter. He’s pleased us in his work and we’re very happy with him.

“I think when you’ve sustained an injury like that, you have to go very gently and it just wasn’t going to happen in time.

“Obviously the owner-breeder was very keen to do everything right by the horse, so that made it simple for me in a sense. Just get a run in at Sandown and go to Royal Ascot.

“He’s a character, he likes to play and shout. He enjoys the prelims – you’ll hear him, he’s a character that boy.”

Of saddling a Royal meeting winner for Her Majesty in the Jubilee year, Gosden added: “It would be amazing. I very much hope (he goes there with a good chance).”

Lord North was a Royal Ascot winner in 2020
Lord North was a Royal Ascot winner in 2020 (Megan Ridgwell/PA)

While the likes of Reach For Moon have had just a handful of runs, old stager Lord North is set to be the stable’s representative in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the feature event on Wednesday’s card.

The six-year-old won the Group One in 2020 but his defence of the crown last year was scuppered by a throat infection that eventually kept him on the sidelines for the best part of a year.

He returned to share the honours in the Dubai Turf at Meydan in March, before having to settle for fourth in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh last month.

Gosden felt that race was not run to suit, but is well aware of the threat posed by Japanese Sheema Classic winner Shahryar and Sir Michael Stoute’s Bay Bridge, who extended his winning run to five in the Brigadier Gerard on his return last month.

He said: “I’m just running Lord North, who has won it before. We’re very frightened of Shahryar and there’s another very good horse here in Newmarket in Bay Bridge. Our fellow is a grand horse, he’s won it before but he needs to be ridden a little bit differently to how he was ridden in Ireland.

“I think he got too close to a strong pace, we’d have liked to have been a bit further back.

“It’s a very high-class race – and so it should be. He got very ill last year, he had a terrible throat infection and it took a long time to get him right.”

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