Raffle Prize proves her worth in Duchess of Cambridge Stakes

Fri 12 Jul 2019

Royal Ascot heroine Raffle Prize followed up with an impressive display in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket.

A field of seven fillies went to post for the six-furlong Group Two, with Roger Varian’s Daahyeh all the rage as the 5-4 favourite as she aimed to supplement her Royal Ascot triumph in the Albany Stakes.

Raffle Prize had run out a surprise winner of the Queen Mary in Berkshire last month and was a 9-2 chance to strike for trainer Mark Johnston – who saddled the brilliant Attraction to claim this prize in 2003.

With Frankie Dettori in the saddle, the Middleham raider was sent straight to the front and gradually raised the tempo.

Daahyeh did her best to close the gap, but Raffle Prize was not for catching and was ultimately well on top as she passed the post a length and three-quarters to the good.

Final Song was best of the rest in third, with Irish raider Celtic Beauty disappointing.

Johnston, who won the race with Attraction in 2003, said: “I'm absolutely delighted.

“We couldn't be sure about stepping her up to six furlongs, that was a little bit of a question mark, and the second horse had beaten her before, first time out, and was talk of the town but our filly showed fantastic speed on debut and just got tired so she had every right to go on from that.

“Frankie said that she has improved, that she is better over six furlongs and we now have the choice between the Lowther Stakes or the Prix Morny.

“She's won two Group 2s so I think we have to have a shot at a Group 1 next.

“She'll be taking on the colts in the Morny but fillies have a decent record in that contest.

“I think she is very much the type to improve for going up to around a mile as a three-year-old. She doesn't look anything like Attraction but they have a lot of similarities in temperament, she is quite a laid back filly.

“We won five Group 1s with Attraction but I would settle for one with this filly right now.”

Varian said of the runner-up: “The tailwind suited the winner’s running style more and she could not quite get on terms. She has run three races now where she looks like she might get seven furlongs and that might be the way forward for her. There are no excuses as far as the ground goes, and she has run a nice race.”

Saeed bin Suroor was similarly not about to make any excuses for Final Song, who finished out of the frame in third under Ryan Moore.

The Godolphin handler admitted: “She ran well and got beaten by two better fillies. The winner is a very good filly, while our filly is nice.

“The fast ground meant she did not quite let herself down and good ground or good to soft would be easier for her.

“I think we will keep her at six furlongs and we will see where we go – there are plenty of races for her. Maybe we will give her a little bit of a break before we go again.”

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