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All eyes on Reach For The Moon in Hampton Court

Royal Ascot crowds love nothing more than cheering home a winner for the Queen – and the betting suggests Reach For The Moon has a gilt-edged opportunity in the Hampton Court Stakes on Thursday.

Once favourite for this year’s Derby, a setback meant the Classic came too soon and he did not reappear until the Heron Stakes at Sandown in May.

Since then it has always been the plan to run at this meeting and while potential Group One targets await in the Eclipse and King George, he faces Group Three company over 10 furlongs with the racing world watching in anticipation.

The Queen’s colours were first carried to victory at the meeting way back in 1953 by Choir’s Boy in the Royal Hunt Cup.

Reach For The Moon is trained by John and Thady Gosden and finished second in last year’s Chesham Stakes, when the Queen was in attendance, so can call on that experience.

“He has pleased us in his work since Sandown – he has gone nicely – and we are very happy with him,” said John Gosden.

“It would be amazing to give Her Majesty a winner and we hope he goes there with a nice chance.”

Jane Chapple-Hyam, as an Australian, is hoping to spoil the party with Claymore, who was second in the Craven to Native Trail before finishing unplaced in the French Guineas.

“It is an interesting race, as clearly the Queen’s horse is the favourite and Frankie Dettori and John Gosden have been very bold about that. I think that is their banker and many people’s banker of the week,” she said.

“When Claymore was second in the Craven, the third horse – Hoo Ya Mal – was subsequently second in the Derby and people are forgetting that. I think he has got a bit of a squeak.”

She quipped: “How should I say this? I’m not afraid to wreck the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – it will be ‘off with her head’ if I do!

“He has got to run and take his chance. I would hope for the same going as the Craven meeting (good ground) and they don’t over-water.”

Cresta, who changed hands for almost £500,000 on Monday evening at the Ascot sales, Kingmax, Maksud and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Howth complete the field.

O’Brien said: “He is in good form. He ran well in the Royal Lodge and last time over seven and he goes up in trip. We are hopeful he will run well.”

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