Estimate has already orchestrated the most popular moment of the 2013 Flat season and her jockey Ryan Moore is readying himself for the filly’s belated racecourse comeback at Ascot this weekend.
A first Gold Cup victory for The Queen prompted spontaneous scenes of joy across the vast Berkshire course, even within the Royal Box itself as Her Majesty became as elated as anyone could remember. It was an achievement of which Moore, who taken many of the world’s best races in his stride, clearly has great pride.
“Riding a winner for The Queen at the Royal meeting is a big deal. The fact it was the Gold Cup made it of extra special importance,” he said. “I think the best thing was that it gave the Queen a great thrill. She loves her racing, and it was maybe one of her biggest highlights she would have had as an owner.”
The Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup represents a drop back two miles, but the daughter of Monsun has already registered two course successes at that distance in last year’s Queen’s Vase and on her only other start this term in the Sagaro Stakes. While reports on her current well-being have been positive, Moore’s main concern would be her acting on testing ground. He said: “The last meeting there it was soft ground, that was two weeks ago, it is still fairly wet.”
Another popular horse on the comeback trail is Big Buck’s, who could be back in action in the New Year as he continues to make progress from the leg injury that forced him to miss the second half of last season.
The undisputed champion staying hurdler has been sidelined since taking his winning run to 18 when landing the Long Distance Hurdle for the fourth year running at Newbury last December. However, trainer Paul Nicholls reports Andy Stewart’s ten-year-old to be on the road back as Big Buck’s showed his wellbeing when parading before racing at Wincanton.
“Big Buck’s is back cantering and he’ll keep that up over the next six weeks. He seems every bit back to normal and hopefully he’ll be ready for a run at the end of January,” said Nicholls.