Coltrane the highlight of a tough Royal Ascot for Balding

June 24, 2022News Standard

Coltrane the highlight of a tough Royal Ascot for Balding

Having finished as the joint-top trainer at Royal Ascot in 2021, Andrew Balding went into this year’s meeting with high hopes of recording more winners.

In an interview with Betway before the event started, Balding pinpointed a handful of runners that he felt held genuine winning chances.

However, despite saddling 27 horses during Royal Ascot, the 49-year-old recorded just one winner over the five days.

That success came on opening day, with Coltrane providing apprentice jockey Callum Hutchinson with his first taste of success at the royal meeting in the Ascot Stakes.

Despite finishing a neck runner-up behind Cleveland in last month’s Chester Cup, the five-year-old was rated as a 14/1 shot to win the two-and-a-half-mile handicap,

Bring On The Night was the 3/1 favourite under jockey Ryan Moore to provide Willie Mullins with a fifth victory in the race in the last decade.

However, Hutchinson had other ideas as he guided Coltrane into the lead inside the final two furlongs before seeing off Bring On The Night’s challenge by three-quarters of a length.

Balding was full of praise for the young claimer after the race, telling Racing TV that the jockey had ridden the horse perfectly.

“I was happy at every point – Callum gave him a great ride,” he said. “He was always where he needed to be and he found space, even when the other horse looked like he was going to come to him.

“I’m very proud of the jockey and of the horse. Five pounds can make a big difference at this trip and Rob (Hornby) was claimed by Ralph Beckett to ride his horse.”

Having got off the mark for the week on the first day, Balding could have been forgiven for thinking he was set for another productive Royal Ascot.

He was unable to add to his tally on day two, with Chateau’s fourth place finish in the Windsor Castle Stakes the nearest he came to another winner.

Balding had eight runners on the third day, but could no manage no better than fifth place with Bakeel in the Norfolk Stakes.

He had a near miss the following day, with Nymphadora running on extremely well to take second place behind Latin Lover in the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes.

Badling’s hopes of bagging a second winner at the meeting got off to a bad start on day five, with highly touted The Foxes running poorly in the Chesham Stakes.

His next three runners also finished out of the money, before Groundbreaker produced a solid run to finish fourth in the Golden Gates Stakes.

The long-distance Queen Alexandra Stakes was the final race of the meeting and was another blowout for Balding, with his Nate the Great trailing in 11th out of 12 runners.

Balding will now switch his attention to next weekend’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, where Coltrane is amongst the favourites to win one of the top staying races of the season.

Leave a Reply