Kincardine triumph is a real tonic for Queen

Trainer Nicky Henderson.Trainer Nicky Henderson.
Trainer Nicky Henderson.
NICKY Henderson’s Kincardine provided the Queen with a welcome tonic when winning the Federation Of Bloodstock Agents Maiden Hurdle at Newbury.

The winner is owned and was bred by Her Majesty, who has tested positive for Covid-19. The 95-year-old monarch is experiencing “mild cold-like symptoms”, Buckingham Palace confirmed yesterday, but expects to carry out “light duties” this week.

Trained by Henderson like his dam and granddam before him, Kincardine was a bumper winner on debut at Southwell last May and has since contested two hurdle races, finishing third to subsequent Grade One winner Stage Star in November and pulling up at Ascot in December.

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The third time was the charm for the five-year-old, who dropped back in trip to two miles and made all of the running under Nico de Boinville to stride on to an uncomplicated four-and-a-half-length victory.

Waiting Patiently. Picture: PAWaiting Patiently. Picture: PA
Waiting Patiently. Picture: PA

“We were all sad to hear Her Majesty has Covid – I don’t know if that’s Covid medicine but I hope it is,” the trainer told Racing TV.

“It was always going to be tough and I didn’t really want to come back to two miles with him. There was a pretty competitive race at Ascot yesterday over two and a half which looked nice but I thought on this ground two miles was far enough for him.

“It’s hard work, but he enjoyed himself and handled the ground really well and he jumped well. This is only practicing for the days ahead when he should make a three-mile chaser and I hope he might be a smart one at the end of the day.”

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The Queen, a leading owner-breeder on the Flat, has celebrated three winners from 17 runners over jumps this season.

Meanwhile, former Grade One-winning steeplechaser Waiting Patiently has been retired by owner Richard Collins, it has been announced.

The horse was a memorable winner of the 2018 Ascot Chase when trained by Malton’s Ruth Jefferson before switching to the West Wales yard of Christian Williams.

However Waiting Patiently has not won since his Ascot victory four years ago. Pulled up in last November’s Betfair Chase at Haydock on his first start for Williams, he was never travelling well in Saturday’s Betfair Ascot Chase under young Jack Tudor and was among those pulled up.

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“He has been retired. We were going to retire him in the summer but he was so well in the field that we thought we’d give him another chance, seeing if going in the sea water would help his old legs. Obviously it hasn’t worked,” Collins told the Racing Post.

Waiting Patiently, who was third in the Tingle Creek at Sandown in 2019 and second to Frodon in the 2020 King George VI Chase at Kempton, will spend his retirement with Collins in County Durham.

This weekend’s Ascot Chase saw Joseph O’Brien’s Fakir D’Oudairies, owned by JP McManus, became the latest Irish raider to claim big-race honours on British soil with a battling victory over Two For Gold.

There has not been an Irish-trained winner of this particular Grade One contest since Sound Man struck gold for Edward O’Grady in 1996, but Fakir D’Oudairies ended the 26-year wait under Mark Walsh.

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Meanwhile, Daly’s giant Hillcrest galloped his rivals into submission and halved in price for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham next month after winning the Prestige Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock.

Having unseated Richard Patrick at Cheltenham last time out, losing his unbeaten record over hurdles in the process, Daly was looking for a confidence booster.

Hillcrest set out to make the running but he had Venetia Williams’s Green Book, his main market rival, for company, before asserting in the home straight.

“They went a really good gallop, I was watching the times on the screen and wincing. He didn’t jump great but Richard said he was more interested in watching the other horse,” said a delighted Daly.

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Gary Moore may give Goshen one more chance to show he can handle a left-handed track after his gutsy success at Wincanton on Saturday.

The six-year-old held Adagio by a length and three-quarters to make all the running and win the Kingwell Hurdle for the second year running.

With Cheltenham not on the agenda for Goshen, the Betway Aintree Hurdle over two and a half miles in April is an option along with right-handed Punchestown, where he was fifth to Honeysuckle in the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle last spring.

Moore has been heartened by the public support of the horse – who had the Triumph Hurdle at his mercy in 2020 only to unseat the trainer’s son Jamie at the final flight – and is looking forward to trying him over two and a half miles.

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“He’s a little bit the people’s horse now. The cheer there apparently was very good. I watched the race from Ascot and there were more people shouting for him from there than what I expected,” said the trainer.

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