Four kilometres of bunting will adorn Ascot in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, but surely nothing could prompt the party spirit quite like a royal winner.
Carlton House runs in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes but the Ribblesdale Stakes featuring Momentary a day later represents so much of what Her Majesty’s racing interests are about.
A renowned horse-lover, the Queen bred the filly herself and Momentary’s great grand-dam was Phantom Gold who landed the Ribblesdale for Her Majesty back in 1995.
Looking back even further in her pedigree, Momentary’s great great great grand-dam Expansive was a Ribblesdale winner in 1979, so the breeding is there for all to see.
Unraced at two for Michael Bell, Momentary finished a promising fourth on debut at Newbury in April before returning to the Berkshire track for a landmark success last month.
Sent off a 33-1 shot, Momentary showed the same sort of stamina as her owner did in the pouring rain on the Royal barge when she fended off Shirocco Star by a short head.
That filly has since finished second in the Oaks and with third-placed Starscope Thousand Guineas-placed, Bell is confident of Momentary’s credentials on paper.
“Obviously the form of her race at Newbury has been franked by Shirocco Star finishing second in the Oaks and it was already good form with the third being second in the Guineas,” he said.
“She has been a nice surprise this year and she really has started to blossom.”
The Queen has not tasted Royal Ascot success since Free Agent came from an impossible position to prevail in the 2008 Chesham Stakes.
Bell admits to feeling a little pressure in this very special year for Her Majesty and would love little more than to present her with her 21st victory at the fixture.
“It would be amazing to have a winner for Her Majesty,” he said.
“You always want to do well for all the owners but if you are fortunate enough to train for the Queen, you particularly want to do well in what is a memorable year.”
Should Momentary manage to get her head in front on the line, it will not only be a winner for Her Majesty, but also for the queen of the weighing room, Hayley Turner.
Turner, who continues to chalk up firsts for female riders, has partnered the filly in each of her two starts to date and Bell is happy to maintain the partnership.