Royal Ascot: 25/1 shot Amazing Maria wins Duke of Cambridge Stakes
Last Updated: 17/06/15 7:42pm
Amazing Maria ran out a shock 25/1 winner of the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes for the David O'Meara yard.
The four-year-old bounced back to her juvenile form under James Doyle and came out a ready winner of the mile contest from Royal Ascot stalwart Rizeena.
There was drama at the start when second favourite Euro Charline was withdrawn, cutting the field down to six after she refused to go into the stalls under Frankie Dettori.
Bragging set a sedate pace under Pat Smullen, but she was soon beaten once he asked her to pick up the pace three furlongs out.
Rizeena, who won the Queen Mary in 2013 and Coronation Stakes at last year's meeting, hit the front and appeared set to complete a Royal Ascot hat-trick for veteran handler Clive Brittain.
But Doyle and Amazing Maria had other ideas and the partnership closed up travelling well before going on to score by a couple of lengths.
Cladocera was a one-paced third while odds-on favourite Integral was a second disappointment for favourite backers as she ran a lifeless race back in fifth.
Doyle took the ride in the absence of O'Meara's stable jockey Danny Tudhope, and he said: "I feel bad for Danny first of all, he should be riding her.
"I've been lucky to get a few nice rides for David in the past and even though they might be a big price you should never discount them.
"It was a funny race, we went a slow pace early and then dashed in the last two furlongs. I thought the ground might be a bit quick but she quickened up well."
"She was fancied for the Guineas last year so has always had talent but I couldn't say I fancied her. David just told me to get her to relax and enjoy it. It's important having winners here, it's our showpiece meeting."
O'Meara, who was saddling a second Royal winner, said: "We've ended up with a nice filly. She came to Ascot on her first run for me but probably hit the front a little soon, we didn't know her that well.
"Then she ran on soft ground, which we thought she'd like, but she's shown today she obviously wants it faster.
"James gave her a lovely ride, it was always the plan to produce her late and he settled her lovely. Last year was special (Buckingham Palace with Louis The Pious), this is only our second winner so it's equally special."
Connections of Rizeena were pleased she had bounced back to something like her best form.
"We were very hopeful coming back to Ascot, which is her track and where she excels, that she'd go well," said Bruce Raymond, racing manager for owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum.
"We were delighted with her. There wasn't much pace in the race and when she took it up I thought she was going to win.
"She's back to her best now so she'll probably go for the usual races. It will be the Falmouth next and hopefully come back here later on (for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes)."
French filly Cladocera's trainer Alain de Royer Dupre said: "She just lacked a little bit of stamina but that was her first run back after a break. I'm very pleased with her and third place is a great place to finish in a race of this nature. She is also in season, but that didn't bother her.
"She may go for the Beverley D Stakes in America, but I'm not sure whether that race is over nine or 10 furlongs. If it is over nine furlongs she will go for that; if not we will look elsewhere."