Ribblesdale Stakes preview: Class-dropping Fleeting a worthy favourite for Royal Ascot glory

Published on: June 19, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
The 2019 Ribblesdale Stakes preview says Fleeting is fancied at Royal Ascot

Fleeting ran an absolute stormer when third in the Epsom Oaks; so, now eased in grade, looks a worthy favourite at a standout 15/8 with Unibet to land the spoils in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes over 1m 4f at Royal Ascot on Thursday (15:40).

After being held-up in the last pair, the Aidan O’Brien trained three-year-old daughter of Zoffany made good headway on the inside two from home.

She was then denied a clear run at a vital stage, which cost her momentum, but after being switched to get daylight flew home to be beaten just 1 2/3 lengths.

Fleeting was gaining hand over fist at the finish and arguably an unlucky loser given how the race panned out. She also posted some rapid closing sectionals which were quicker than those in front of her.

The form of that Classic contest sets a clear standard in this lower grade affair. An official rating of 110 is the highest rated in the line-up, giving Fleeting 5lb and upwards in hand on her 10 rivals.

It makes her very hard to oppose and O’Brien has a fine record in the race having won three of the last five runnings – including last year’s renewal with Magic Wand.

Ryan Moore also now partners Fleeting for the first time; so, taking everything into account, there is simply nothing not to like about her profile for this.

We therefore had no hesitation in making Fleeting the main selection in this Hampton Court Stakes preview.

Improving Frankellina feared

Frankellina finished behind Fleeting in The Oaks, but wasn’t beaten far and looks capable of giving that rival plenty to think about.

This William Haggas trained daughter of Frankel is a lightly-raced and unexposed sort who has posted improved form in each of her three outings.

After staying on strongly to win her sole start as a juvenile at Yarmouth by a head, Frankellina ran a cracker when stepped up into Group 3 company and finishing a dead-heat second of 10 to Nausha in the 1m 2f Musidora Stakes at York.

Things started off badly when Frankellina lost vital ground at the start when slowly away.

However, jockey James Doyle didn’t panic and gave her plenty of time to recover and regain her composure.

Frankellina then came with a storming run to hold every chance inside the final furlong, before being unable to find any extra 100 yards from home and go down by just a neck.

Given how the race panned out, it was a huge run and one that earned her a crack at The Oaks.

Frankellina ran well in the fillies’ Classic, making good late headway from off the pace to be nearest at the finish and beaten 4 3/4 lengths.

It was a fine effort considering her relative inexperience; so, with further progress looking assured, she doesn’t have much to find with Fleeting who beat her just over three lengths.

Hence she features as the main danger to the selection and Frankelina can be backed at a tempting each-way price of 15/2 with Coral.
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Queen Power another player

The Sir Michael Stoute trained Queen Power, who is 5/2 with BetVictor, looks sure to go well despite being stepped up in class.

This daughter of Shamardal is owned by King Power Racing, who have made a tremendous start to the season.

She won her sole start as a juvenile in good style when in the care of Ralph Beckett and landing a 12-runner Newmarket maiden by 1 1/2 lengths from Duneflower.

That race has thrown-up plenty of subsequent winners, and there was lots to like about Queen Power’s first start for Stoute when a short-head runner-up to Muchly over a mile at this venue.

After racing keenly in mid-division, Queen Power made good headway when switched to the outside two from home and stayed on strongly under Silvestre De Sousa.

She would have won in another stride, and has since gone one better when stepped up to 1m 2f and landing a Listed contest at Newbury.

Queen Power again finished off really strongly to get up close home and win a shade cosily by a neck from Lavender’s Blue.

She had Star Catcher, for whom there were no excuses, a further neck behind in third and has nothing to fear from that re-opposing rival.

Queen Power is clearly going the right way and, given how she hit the line hard that day, the extra two furlongs she tackles in this may well unlock further improvement.

She does have 10lb to find with Fleeting on official ratings, but that may not be beyond her considering her upwardly mobile profile, and Queen Power comes into the race fresher than that rival who hard a hard race at Epsom.