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The Queen is set to have at least one worthy contender at Royal Ascot after Dartmouth booked his place in the Hardwicke Stakes with his second Group Three win of the season.

The four-year-old followed up his victory in the John Porter Stakes at Chelmsford by making all the running to lift the Group Three Ormonde Stakes at Chester on Friday (Saturday AEST).

Dartmouth (evens fav) displayed class as well as grit for Ryan Moore as he held Irish raider Wicklow Brave, whose jockey William Buick lost his whip close home, by a neck.

The Hardwicke is a race trainer Sir Michael Stoute has won a record nine times.

“He is a very game and consistent horse and I am delighted with the win,” Stoute said.

“He has got a bit of a way to go yet to be Group One horse. He is in the Hardwicke, but we will have a think where to go.

“The Queen does like having runners at the Royal meeting, but I can’t say it is a definite as it is a long way off, but it’s a possibility.”

John Warren, the Queen’s bloodstock and racing advisor, described the Hardwicke as the logical step.

“I think he’s proved worthy of taking there and of having a sporting chance of at least running a really good race,” Warren said.

 
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