Tritonic comes so close to icing Royal Ascot’s Barbury cake

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June 18

Alan sent a small but select squad to this year’s Royal Ascot, but it is proving quite a meeting for Barbury, with Coeur de Lion winning Tuesday’s Ascot Stakes and Tritonic producing a gallant effort to go down by only half a length to Highland Chief in the Golden Gates Handicap on Thursday.

Oisin Murphy rode Tritonic when he won the prestigious Haynes, Hanson and Clark Stakes at Newbury last September, and the champion jockey was very keen to renew the association when he heard Alan was aiming for this race.

Tritonic was produced with a perfectly-timed challenge half-way up the straight, but no sooner had he worn down the leader than Highland Chieftain came from behind to mug him in the dying strides.

On Friday we have Scarlet Dragon going for the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap. He has not won since he was victorious over hurdles at Market Rasen last September, but he also has some smart Flat form, winning four races on the levels in 2016.

Scarlet Dragon has won over this mile and a half, but it does stretch his stamina so Alan and Henry Ponsonby and his team would not want too much more rain to fall on the Royal Heath.

We have two runners there on the final day, Painless Potter in the Coventry Stakes and Who Dares Wins in the finale, the Queen Alexandra Stakes, the longest race of the meeting.

Who Dares Wins, another for the Ponsonby syndicate, has been a superstar, winning 10 races under both codes. He was in cracking form over hurdles during the winter, and on his Northumberland Plate success last June he goes there with solid claims, with the soft ground not a problem.

Painless Potter belied big odds when showing plenty of promise on his debut at Kempton, but obviously he will have his work cut out against the big boys in the Coventry.