Thistle Bird retains Princess Elizabeth crown
It was a case of deja vu in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes, as the Roger Charlton trained Thistle Bird took the opening race of the Investec Derby meeting, just as she had done twelve months ago.
Last year the 6yo had just held on by 3/4 of a length to land the Group 3 contest under James Doyle and Doyle was again in the saddle today as the pair recorded back to back victories with an impressive display on the undulations of the Epsom Downs.
Having drifted in the market before the off, the defending champion was sent off a general 7/2 shot and having settled nicely in midfield behind a decent pace set by outsider Masarah, made her move as the furlong pole came into view. Doyle did not have to change position throughout the 1m 114y contest, travelling three horses wide around the final bend, eventually hit the front just after entering the final furlong and quickly going clear to score by a length to the impressive Odeliz, with 10/3 favourite Just The Judge a further neck back in third.
“She felt as good if not better (than last year),” Doyle said of the winner. “I said to Mr. Charlton when she started working that she felt stronger this year and she is getting better with age.
“This is only the start, she didn’t half improve through the season last year and you have to forgive her, her first run this season as she is a highly strung filly and she just needs a run to straighten herself out. She was so straight forward today, it was brilliant.”
Delighted trainer Charlton added: “She won here last year in a hood and I took it off after and she went on her way.Earlier in the Spring I worked her in the hood and she went really bad, so I left it off. She is much more straight forward.
“We went up to 1m 2f last year and she will do that again this season and take in the same type of races, maybe the Pretty Polly in Ireland. What we really want to do is win a Group 2 or a Group 1 of course but to win a Group 2 and place in a Group 1 again would do.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
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