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Mill Stream could provide Buick with a big race final-day Royal Ascot victory

3 minute read

Saturday’s (22 June) Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (1200m) is Royal Ascot’s major six-furlong sprint for older horses and William Buick’s mount Mill Stream could pounce for Group 1 glory on the final day of this spectacular meeting.

MILL STREAM (white cap) winning the Clipper Stakes at York in England.
MILL STREAM (white cap) winning the Clipper Stakes at York in England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Trained in Newmarket by Jane Chapple-Hyam and owned by former trainer Peter Harris, Mill Stream is on an upward curve having posted two excellent efforts since a winter breathing operation. Most recently, in the Duke of York Stakes (1200m) last month, Buick had to wait longer than he wanted before unleashing the colt who then accelerated purposefully to grab the Group 2 prize in the last strides.

Chapple-Hyam recalls that watching that race was first stressful before becoming joyful.

"He (Buick) had to take back twice at York and then get back into a rhythm. The fact that he was able to do that given the strong competition was very encouraging," Chapple-Hyam said.

Reflecting on that race, Buick said: "Mill Stream really put his head down at York and I think Ascot's stiffer track could suit even better. As a four-year-old, he is a big strong and more mature horse and I think that this could be his year."

Washington Heights (Tom Eaves) had led around 450m out that day and, only headed near the end and beaten half a length in fourth, must also have claims for trainer Kevin Ryan who is currently in red-hot form.

Jockey Jamie Spencer has found the straight track at Ascot a playground for his skills of delivering his mounts at the right moment, often from way off the speed. Those tactics worked ideally in this race in 2023 for Spencer – who has already had a straight-track Ascot winner this week – when Khaadem recorded an 80/1 shock win. Khaadem  (Oisin Murphy) tries again on Saturday but Spencer switches to his Charlie Hills-trained stablemate Mitbaahy.

Spencer had produced Mitbaahy from last to win May's G2 Greenlands Stakes (1200m) at The Curragh and Hills said: "Mitbaahy won very nicely there with two Group 1 winners behind him. I feel that he is at his best now and he also has a great temperament so I don't think there is any reason why he should not win a Group 1."

Trainer Ralph Beckett has tasted Royal Ascot success this week and fields Kinross , one of the most reliable high-class horses in training. Running in the colours of Hong Kong-based owner Marc Chan, Kinross has run some great races at Ascot, including landing the 2022 G1 British Champion Sprint Stakes over this course and distance.

Kinross finished seventh in this race last year with the suspicion remaining that he prefers slow to fast ground especially over this sprinting trip.

Seven-year-olds like him have won this twice in the last three years but Beckett concedes that the ground could be a problem on this 2024 return: "He still enjoys himself every day and is in great shape, but yes we would like some rain by Saturday."

Hong Kong Jockey Club

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