Royal shot in the Dark

Royal shot in the Dark
Royal shot in the Dark
Sky Sports Racing News

Tim Pitt is hoping that Dark Ranger can bring back the Royal Ascot glory days when he turns out at the feature meeting next week.

Pitt saddled Les Arcs to a surprise 33-1 victory in the Golden Jubilee Stakes back in 2006, but the Newmarket-based trainer has only had a handful of runners at the showpiece fixture since.

However, he believes Dark Ranger holds a decent chance of enhancing the yard’s record in Tuesday’s Ascot Stakes over two and a half miles.

The six-year-old has not won May 2011 but has finished second on each of his last four starts, most recently when just edged out at York’s Dante meeting.

That was over two furlongs less than he faces at Ascot, but Pitt has no concerns about Dark Ranger‘s stamina.

He said: “Since we stepped him up to two miles we have never looked back. He was running consistently on the all-weather and when he crept to a mark of 79, we decided to give him one run to see if we could get him into the mid 80s that would get him into the bottom of the handicap for the Ascot Stakes.

“He ran his heart out at York last time, pulled well clear of the field and just got beat by a better handicapped horse.

Each-Way Chance

“He went up 8lb to 87 at York, which on the one hand is harsh for finishing second, but on the other it ensures that he will get into the race at Ascot.

“Tom Queally is going to ride and I think he goes there with a very realistic each-way chance.

“He has a first and two seconds on his three starts at two and a quarter miles and he will relish the step up to two and a half miles.

“He’s one in the field that is guaranteed to get the trip.

“He hasn’t won in 12 months and his last victory came off 62 and he’s now on 87. He’s finished second on six of his last seven starts but there have been reasons each time, he is not ungenuine and has improved as he has got older.

“The better the ground, the better for him and I’d be happier if the word good is mentioned but there’s only one Royal Ascot and we’ll turn up whatever.

“It’s six years since Les Arcs won the Golden Jubilee for us and we’ve only had two runners at Royal Ascot since so it is exciting to be going there with a chance again.

“You only ever turn up at this meeting if you think you have a realistic chance.”

View the original article at Sky Sports Horse Racing News

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