Royal Ascot: Royal appointment is welcomed by Olivier Peslier

Olivier Peslier
Olivier Peslier
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OLIVIER Peslier is relishing the opportunity potentially to ride a Royal Ascot winner for the Queen in the Hardwicke Stakes.

The leading French jockey will carry the Royal colours aboard Dartmouth in a Group Two contest trainer Sir Michael Stoute won for a record ninth time with Snow Sky 12 months ago.

Dartmouth certainly has strong credentials, having landed the John Porter Stakes at Chelmsford and the Ormonde Stakes at Chester already this season.

Peslier said: “He is a nice horse. Sir Michael Stoute is very confident and says that he has a good chance.

“I hope I win for the Queen. It is her meeting. Riding for her I am very pleased and if I win it will be superb.

“The race is very tough and we will have to see what the conditions are like. I hope the ground is not too sticky.”

Stoute also saddles the Khalid Abdullah-owned Exosphere, who could not have been more impressive on his seasonal return in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket in April.

Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: “He had been working nicely going into the Jockey Club Stakes but, with two Classic winners in there (Simple Verse and Jack Hobbs), we were far from confident.”

Since chasing home Exosphere at Newmarket, last season’s St Leger heroine Simple Verse has finished fourth in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Trainer Ralph Beckett said: “It was a late decision to run. I was hoping she’d shown the right signs during the week and she has.”

Wicklow Brave, trained by Willie Mullins, was narrowly beaten by Dartmouth at Chester and jockey William Buick is looking forward to the rematch.

He said: “He ran very well in the Ormonde and went very close. I think had I not dropped my whip he would have gone close to winning. It was a good run. He will like the ground and I think he will have a good chance.”