19 June 2024

Kalpana inspiring Ribblesdale confidence for Juddmonte

19 June 2024

The Juddmonte team are quietly confident about the chances of Kalpana in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot on Thursday.

Successful on her Wolverhampton introduction early in the new year, Andrew Balding’s filly went on to finish second to leading Commonwealth Cup candidate Inisherin on her next start at Newcastle before bouncing back to winning ways with a dominant 10-length victory on her turf debut at Newmarket.

She again had to make do with the silver medal when finding Friendly Soul too strong in the Pretty Polly Stakes back on the Rowley Mile in early May, but having kept their powder dry for the Royal meeting ever since, connections consider her one of their leading hopes of the week.

“Andrew was keen to give her a break after Newmarket, which was fair as she has been on the go since the beginning of the year racing on the all-weather,” said Juddmonte’s racing manager Barry Mahon.

“She’s had a nice little break and is training nicely and we were half tempted to supplement for the Oaks, but we just felt that freshening her up and heading into Ascot after a break was the right thing to do.

“She will definitely enjoy the step up to a mile and a half and she is one you would really be looking forward to this week.

“We’ve a nice bunch of horses, but she is one you can definitely get excited about.”

The likely favourite for the Group Two contest is Charlie Appleby’s unbeaten filly Diamond Rain.

The daughter of Shamardal and Oaks winner Dancing Rain followed up debut win over a mile at Ascot with victory in a 10-furlong Listed event at Newbury and her trainer views a further rise in distance as a positive.

“Diamond Rain has had her two starts, winning at Ascot, so she’s got that experience behind her, and then winning very nicely at Newbury,” he told Godolphin.

“We feel the step up in trip should suit her and we feel she’s going to be a very competitive runner.”

Other contenders include Ralph Beckett’s pair of You Got To Me and Forest Fairy, fourth and seventh respectively in the Oaks at Epsom three weeks ago, while Aidan O’Brien saddles Port Fairy and Rubies Are Read in his bid for a fifth Ribblesdale victory.

John and Thady Gosden’s Danielle, not seen since finishing third after going off favourite for the Lingfield Oaks Trial, is another to to consider in an intriguing contest.

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