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Turner backing Ascot second Docklands to strike Group One gold one day

Hayley TurnerHayley Turner
© Photo Healy Racing

Hayley Turner was proud of the performance of Docklands after the pair combined to fill the runner-up spot in the curtain-raising Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The record-breaking female rider has enjoyed four previous winners at Flat racing’s showpiece meeting, her most recent coming aboard Docklands in the Britannia Handicap 12 months ago.

Harry Eustace’s stable star has proven himself effective over the course and distance on several occasions, also finishing third in the Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day in October and second on his return to action in the Listed Paradise Stakes last month.

The four-year-old faced a step up in class for this Group One contest and while he was unable to keep tabs on the impressive 100-30 favourite Charyn, Docklands rewarded his connections by finishing comfortably best of the rest, beaten just over two lengths.

“That was a really good run, it’s just a shame to miss out. He deserved it and we really thought he had a chance,” said Turner.

“Annoyingly I never felt I was going to get to the winner, but I can’t fault him. I’m so pleased and the connections are so happy, he’s definitely got a Group One in him.

“The tracks he’s not performed well at are Goodwood in a small field and France with a slow pace. He’s such a strong traveller and he likes to be buried in amongst them, he can creep into it on the straight here. I’m just hoping he doesn’t go to Australia!”

As Docklands carries the colours of Australian-based owners OTI Racing, he is set for a trip to the southern hemisphere later in the year.

“Very, very proud. He’s been an absolute star for us. He ran super, he really did. He just keeps turning up for us, he loves this track,” said Eustace.

“Dropping in with plenty of runners is what he needs and he hasn’t had that yet this year. It was a standout effort and we were just second best.

“We were confident in the way he was training at home and we knew he’d improve for it (his last run). We were confident coming here, it was just a question of running him the right race and hopefully we have, we’ll see!

“The Wolferton was the alternative but it’s on the round course and you need a lot more racing luck on there.

“We’re very happy with him and now we just have to make him a winner this year. We haven’t thought past this, Australia has always been an end-of-year target and we’ll work backwards from that.”

Maljoom finished an honourable third for William Haggas and Tom Marquand.

The five-year-old had made it to the track just twice since his fast-finishing fourth in the St James’s Palace Stakes two years ago, but he served notice there may still be a big prize on his horizon with a pleasing performance.

“He’s obviously bounced back to that solid Group One form that we knew he had, but hoped he’d remain at,” said Marquand.

“It looks like we will get him right back to the force of what he was looking like at one point. He’s not had much racing and I think he has just been a little bit rusty – he looks the best he has done for a long time. He’s coming back.”