Little Bridge Royal Ascot Day 1 - 10.06.2012

Little Bridge scores
international success

Report: Royal Ascot, Tuesday

King's Stand Stakes (Group 1) 5f, 3yo+

AN international success was widely forecast in the King's Stand Stakes but perhaps not via Little Bridge (Danny Shum/Zac Purton), who became the second Hong Kong-trained horse to win at the royal meeting when flooring a cosmopolitan field for the Group 1 sprint.

After tracking the leader Tangerine Trees, the five-year-old took control of the race at the furlong marker, quickening up best of all to beat Bated Breath by three-quarters of a length with Sole Power another length away in third.

Black Caviar's jockey Luke Nolen got a useful taste of the Royal Ascot straight when partnering Medicean Man into fourth for British-based compatriot Jeremy Gask but heavily fancied Ortensia let the side down for the Aussies when she failed to mount a serious challenge.

Little Bridge, a 12-1 shot, was following in the footsteps of Cape Of Good Hope, who took the Golden Jubilee Stakes for Hong Kong when Royal Ascot took place at York in 2005.

Trained by former jockey Danny Shum and ridden by Australia's Zac Purton, Little Bridge is a New Zealand-bred son of Faltaat who had never before won above Group 2 company at home in Hong Kong.

However, he has won four Group races at lesser grade and arrived at Royal Ascot in good heart after a pair of victories at Sha Tin in April.

Little Bridge stopped the clock at 59.69s for the 5f, a good time given the good to soft ground.

The King's Stand is part of both the British Champions Series and the Global Sprint Challenge but the highest-profile overseas visitor Ortensia did little to raise Aussie hopes before Black Caviar runs on Saturday.

After sweating up in the preliminaries on a muggy afternoon, Ortensia ran well below the form of her Al Quoz Sprint victory in Dubai. She raced in the middle of the pack before finding nothing when asked for her effort and finishing only ninth of the 22 runners.

Masamah took no part after rearing up in the stalls and losing a shoe.

THINK Flat racing and most think of Royal Ascot. The hats - running the gamut from stunning to misguided - the pageantry, the Queen in her carriage, the tops 'n' tails, the champagne on lush green lawns and, not forgetting, the incredible racing come together to form one of Britain's most iconic sporting events.

Over five days in mid-June the nation's great and good descend upon the royal racetrack for an occasion rich in every sense - in heritage, in sporting merit,and in the vast array of wealth represented by the crowds of dukes, earls and oligarchs strutting before the grandstand.

For mere mortals Royal Ascot is a chance to watch and wonder at the elaborate outfits donned at the Berkshire racecourse and watch in wonder as the cream of British and Irish Flat talent square off against each other and - increasingly - the steady stream of raiders from Australia, America and other corners of the globe.

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