Ryan Moore is confident Wellington brings the best form into Saturday’s Group One Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (1,200m) at Royal Ascot, with the superstar Englishman hopeful Richard Gibson’s galloper can produce the same effort he did when winning December’s Group One Hong Kong Sprint (1,200m).
Moore reunites with Wellington after winning that Hong Kong Sprint aboard the six-year-old and also piloting him into third in March’s Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1,400m).
“He’s kind of been underrated coming in here, I think he probably brings the best form into the race,” Moore said.
“Obviously we don’t know the draw yet, that will sort itself out later in the week, but I think if he brings his December form he’s probably the one to beat.”
Wellington’s first overseas assignment coincides with his first run down the straight in nearly two and a half years and Moore is hopeful he will handle Ascot’s undulating track.
“I think the track will suit him – I think the straight six will be in his favour,” he said.
Wellington has been popular in betting and is around $7 in overseas fixed-odds markets, with Australian speedster Artorius favourite and Highfield Princess – who was runner up in Tuesday’s Group One King’s Stand Stakes (1,000m) – also in single figures.
Artorius was third in the race last year and won the Group One Canterbury Stakes (1,300m) under Zac Purton during Sydney’s autumn carnival.
“Highfield Princess is a good filly and Artorius has been going better in Australia this year,” he said.
“He was obviously a bit unlucky in the race last year. But if he ran in a Hong Kong Sprint, you wouldn’t be fancying him to win one, I don’t think, but he’s obviously going to be very well suited to a straight track here.
“If Wellington brings his absolute best, he’s probably the best horse in the race.”
Wellington is spending his Royal Ascot preparation at Brian Meehan’s yard in Manton, west of England, and Gibson confirmed the gelding – who will gallop on Thursday morning – travelled “very well”.
While it remains to be seen just where Wellington’s form levels are at after his last-start third behind Lucky Sweynesse in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1,200m) at Sha Tin in April, there’s no doubting just how well Moore is going.
Arguably the world’s best jockey, Moore began the Royal Ascot carnival in fine style with a treble on Tuesday.
After winning the Group Two Coventry Stakes (1,200m) aboard Aidan O’Brien’s River Tiber, Moore took out the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes (1,600m) with the brilliant Paddington – again for O’Brien – before rounding out the card with a seven-and-a-half-length victory atop Willie Mullins’ stayer Vauban.
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