On a Royal Ascot Day 2 where South African horseracing played second fiddle to a powerful French attack, 2016 Met winner Smart Call was far from disgraced when determinedly hanging on for fourth in the Gr2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes.
Ryan Moore rode a fearless race on the Sir Michael Stoute trained daughter of Ideal World who blazed a path up the Ascot straight mile, before coming under fire in the final 300m.
Jean-Claude Rouget’s filly Qemah, a dual Gr1-winner, won the Coronation Stakes at the meeting 12 months ago and she bounced back to winning form to give the French their second winner of the day as she stormed home to win the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes.
Qemah had been beaten on her last start at Lingfield, but she put that behind her back at Ascot with an impressive performance.
Aljazzi ran a cracker in third while Usherette came home third, possibly slightly unlucky after meeting trouble in running. Smart Call was a gallant fourth.
Fellow SA-bred dual Gr1 winner Same Jurisdiction moved up menacingly under Gavin Lerena at the 600m, but had little to offer and fell away.
Winning jockey Gregory Benoist said: “She won nicely here last year. Last time at Lingfield she wasn’t very exciting but today the fast ground, the pace of the race and she was on a good day.
“She was ready for this race and we are very happy to win twice at Royal Ascot.”
Bred and owned by Mauritzfontein Stud, Smart Call was the first Gr1 winner (2015 Woolavington 2000) for the leading farm’s resident sire Ideal World, a stakes-winning son of the deceased Kingmambo. Smart Call is out of Horse Chestnut’s unraced daughter, Good Judgement – a half sister to Vodacom Durban July winner, Greys Inn.
Royal Ascot continues on Thursday with Britain’s most coveted staying prize, the Gold Cup heading the programme.