Dunaden Hardwicke mount up for grabs

The ride on serious Hardwicke Stakes contender Dunaden at Royal Ascot on June 23 is well and truly up for grabs following the news that Australian rider Craig Williams, who had been expected to take the mount, will not be able to continue his association with his Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase winner, writes Elliot Slater.

Williams is committed to riding in Japan despite being set to ride earlier on at Royal Ascot on Ortensia in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes, so trainer Mikel Dezangles is now considering his options with many horse racing betting tips suggesting that it could well be Christophe Lemaire who is called upon to repeat his heroics on the globe-trotting star who he partnered to a famous last-gasp success over the gallant Red Cadeaux in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington last autumn.

Following his tremendous win in Australia the six-year-old then followed up under Williams in Hong Kong before being given a break prior to reappearing at Newmarket in May when a respectable if slightly ring rusty third to Al Kazeem in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes. At the start of this month he took his chance in the Grand Prix de Chantilly in his native France and appeared unsuited by the pedestrian early place before finishing with a flourish, all too late though in eventually coming home third to John Gosden’s Aiken, beaten just over three-lengths.

Lemaire was onboard that day and came in for some criticism for his ride from horse racing betting writers, so it remains to be seen if indeed Dezangles will give the top rider a chance to redeem himself on the horse at Ascot, but there was, of course, little wrong with the way he drove the horse home in the Melbourne Cup so on balance he seems the most likely candidate. Amongst his possible Ascot rivals in what promises to be a fine race are Masked Marvel, Sea Moon and Nathaniel.