The French like nothing more than crossing the English Channel to win races at Royal Ascot, ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’. For many pundits the chance of the Andre Fabre-trained Usherette is crystal clear in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes and she will be a banker on Wednesday for those looking to relieve the British bookmakers of pounds, euros, or whatever currency is acceptable on race day.
Usherette (7/4), Favorite to Win
A 7/4 ante-post favourite, Usherette has been in tremendous form already this season winning minor all-weather races at Chantilly and Deauville before appearing at Newmarket on 1000 Guineas day where she very nearly stole the show with a scintillating length success over the smart Arabian Queen in the nine-furlong Group 2 Dahlia Stakes.
To be fair, Arabian Queen hardly franked the form at Epsom subsequently when well beaten in the Group 1 Coronation Cup, but Usherette won with something in hand and a repeat of that level of performance might well be enough to see her land this coveted mile contest that is restricted to fillies and mares only.
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Fellow French-trained Esoterique and Ervadya would both be very tough opposition for Usherette, but the indications at present are that neither will run in this event.
Jim Bolger’s Lucida, runner-up to Legatissimo in last season’s 1000 Guineas and then third in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot 12 months ago, is expected to take her chance and looks a serious challenger for the favourite to deal with if she has come back to her best form.
The daughter of Shamaradal was understandably ring-rusty when only fourth to Devonshire (who could re-oppose on Wednesday) in a Group 2 event at the Curragh last month and should strip fitter this time. There is a slight question mark though over the classier Bolger horses going into Royal Ascot after both his Turret Rocks and Moonlight Magic both ran very disappointingly in the recent classics at Epsom. Lucida can be backed at 7/1.
USA Contenders, Value Bet
US raider Miss Temple City is a fascinating contender.
Trained by the talented Graham Motion, she won on her most recent start in Grade 1 company at Keeneland and connections surely aren’t sending her all the way across the Atlantic just for her to get a glimpse of The Queen.
Generally a 8/1 shot, the faster the underfoot conditions the better for this sporting American challenger.
Jazzi Top is another to consider in a fine renewal of the Duke of Cambridge Stakes. John Gosden’s filly was beaten just a head in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp last October and was in need of the outing when favourite but finishing only seventh behind Usherette last month. That effort was too bad to be true and better can be expected this time around from a filly who stays well and has a touch of class. She is available at odds of up to 8/1 with some firms.
If either of Godolphin’s fillies Always Smile (12/1) and Very Special (14/1) take their chance they would also be worth considering. Always Smile has won four of her five starts so far and has graduated through handicap company. She gives the impression there could yet be better to come and is a fascinating contender. Very Special won in Group 2 company at Meydan in March, and her sixth place in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic at the same track at the end of that month is strong form.
In the News
 racingpost.com, Ferguson excited by Usherette Ascot bid, 2016