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ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – Mick and Janice Mariscotti’s Dashing Willoughby put forth an epic stretch rally to overcome two strong foes and win Wednesday’s Queen’s Vase Stakes (G2) on Day 2 of the Royal Ascot meet at Ascot Racecourse.
Breaking from post 3 under Oisin Murphy at 5/1 stateside odds, Dashing Willoughby sat along the inside as part of the front-running group that also included Nayef Road, Barbados, and a fiercely-pulling Jalmoud. With 5 furlongs remaining, Murphy – now in third – began looking around to ensure he had space to move when the time came.
Off of the far turn, Murphy swung Dashing Willoughby out three-wide and soon draw even with Nayef Road and Barbados. The trio fought noses apart the length of the stretch drive, with no horse showing signs of giving in. Inside the final furlong, Dashing Willoughby was able to edge ahead just enough to cross the line the winner by a 1/2-length in a final time of 3:07.78 for the 1 3/4-mile marathon event.
“I was thrilled with the way the race went and Dashing Willoughby did it well,” Murphy said. “This is the combination of all the hard work from the team at home. I thrive to do well at Royal Ascot, as does every jockey riding, and I was very fortunate to ride a horse capable of doing that today.”
Barbados was a 1/2-length clear of Nayef Road, with Moonlight Spirit arriving late on the scene for fourth. The rest of the field finished thusly: Eminent Authority, Harpo Marx, Almost Midnight, Themaxwecan, Norway, Nate The Great, Pythion, Western Australia, and Jalmoud.
Dashing Willoughby’s win was his first since his maiden-breaking debut effort at Wolverhampton last August. The 3-year-old son of Nathaniel now has a career record of 6-2-2-1.
“He loves the ground, he stays well, and he’s pretty classy,” said winning trainer Andrew Balding. “He had a little hiccup on Saturday morning – he was very lame. He had a blood blister in his foot and our farrier, Eugene Cullen, and head lad, Kevin Hunt, worked through the night and, happily, he was right 24 hours later. We’re just delighted. It’s great for Mick and Janice who have been very good, loyal supporters of ours.”
Dashing Willoughby returned $13.80 to win and $4.20 to place, Barbados brought back $16.80 to place, and Nayef Road paid $11.20 to place.
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