Usherette Far Too Good In Duke Of Cambridge
Usherette continued her faultless start to 2016 with a comprehensive victory in the G2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes on day two of Royal Ascot.
Burdened with a 3lb penalty following her victory in the G2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket, the Andre Fabre-trained four-year-old broke smartly and raced prominently on the near side group until being taken back by Mickael Barzalona as the 14 runners came together after a furlong.
The Shamardal filly was angled out to deliver her challenge passing the two-furlong pole and quickened powerfully to take the lead in a matter of strides.
Usherette soon opened up daylight over her rivals and gained a decisive two and a quarter-length success from Furia Cruzada in 1m 43.33s on soft ground.
Always Smile (Saeed bin Suroor/James Doyle) ran on well from the rear of the field to take third, a short-head behind Furia Cruzada.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammad, the founder of Godolphin, said: "Usherette is a lovely, strong mare. She went on the ground because she is strong, not because she liked it.
"This is Royal Ascot and to win like that was amazing. She is special."
John Ferguson, the Godolphin Chief Executive and Racing Manager, commented: "It may be Mickael's first winner at Royal Ascot but he will have plenty more because he is riding out of his skin and is a great man to have on the team.
"One can wax lyrical about Andre Fabre all day long because is a master of his profession.
"Andre has a very clear view of how good his horses are. He has a really good understanding and therefore, if he has an opinion, he will share it."
"To do what she did today on that ground was remarkable because she will be a much better filly on much better ground.
"It has been a fantastic day for Godolphin. One must not underestimate the importance of Royal Ascot, not just for Sheikh Mohammed and the big owners, but for everybody as it is so special.
"We will remain at a mile but she deserves to take her chance in all the top G1 mile races so to have her and Ribchester, who will step up to Group One mile races now, together with Belardo and Toormore, means we are very fortunate to be in a strong position in that area."
Andre Fabre declared: "I had a lot of confidence in her ability. I was worried about the ground but she showed some strength for a filly which I did not expect.
"I was really impressed, she had a penalty so with all that put together, it was above what I was expecting.
"She is in the Falmouth Stakes (G1, 1m) at Newmarket and could go there if she recovers well from this race. She is also entered in some Group One races in France.
"There are some good American fillies and mares but it would be nice to take her to the Breeders' Cup - it is an option.
"She is a beautiful filly by Shamardal who is my favourite sire. She was a rather backward filly but as soon as she started to work she showed a lot.
Mickael Barzalona, enjoying his first Royal Ascot winner, said: "It is great to win at the big meetings for a great owner and trainer. I am looking forward to riding Usherette again.
"She has all the good points, she is strong she has good stamina and has good speed as well as a good temperament.
"She was very relaxed in the race and when I asked her to go she picked up nicely.
"She is a top-class filly and deserved to win today and has a great chance in upcoming Group One races."