Duke of Marmalade finds Success at Royal Ascot
Trainer Aiden O’Brian and jockey Johnny Murtagh have enjoyed a very successful Royal Ascot campaign this year. With Henrythenavigator winning the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes and Haradasun running home victorious in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, the duo could not have asked for more. But they had another horse waiting in the wings for his chance to showcase his abilities and rake in another Group 1 win for his trainer and jockey. Duke of Marmalade used his strength and determination to take the lead in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at the Royal Ascot.
As a two year old, Duke of Marmalade ran into trouble with a serious fracture, which led to pins being inserted into his front joint. With being lame more often than in training condition, it was clear that he was in a great amount of discomfort. But Aiden O’Brian was not prepared to give up on the horse he believed in, and with further examination and medical investigations, it was found that the pin in his leg was catching a ligament and plans to tweak the pin were immediately made.
Once the pin was corrected, it was as if a new horse was released, as Duke of Marmalade gained confidence and remained sound enough for training. O’Brian started to train and nurse Duke of Marmalade back to health and fitness slowly, and after watching him win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes comfortably, with a four length lead, it proved that the patience of O’Brian paid off well.
Johnny Murtagh, who rates Duke of Marmalade amongst the best horses he has ever ridden, comfortably waited behind stablemate Red Rock Canyon to set the pace. Once he felt that it was time to ask Duke of Marmalade to go for home, there was simply no stopping the mighty horse as he stormed towards the finish line. With a lead of four lengths over the rest of the field, he steered to victory without being challenged. Phoenix Tower followed him home in second position and Pipedreamer came in third.
It is hoped that Duke of Marmalade will be seen in the King George Stakes line-up, which takes place on the 26th of July 2008, at the Ascot Racecourse. But for now he is the champion of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.