Drakenstein Team Thrilled As Cayton Park Homebred Goes Close

Britannia Stakes thriller for SA connections

Gaynor Rupert is well-known as a major player through her Drakenstein Stud operation here in South Africa and her UK-based Cayton Park Stud came within three quarters of a length of a Royal Ascot victory on Thursday.

Their Blue Point homebred Skukuza, trained by Ed Dunlop,  was not disgraced when chasing Mickley, who provided Yorkshire trainer Ed Bethell and jockey Callum Rodriguez with their first Royal Ascot winner in the Britannia Stakes.

Trained by Ed Dunlop, Skukuza is a three-year-old by Blue Point out of the stakes-placed thrice-winning Trippi mare Shingwedzi.

Skukuza’s half-bother by Muhaarar, Letaba, has won 3 races for the Dunlop team.

But while the Drakenstein and Cayton Park Stud teams will be thrilled, the race belonged to Mickley.

Mickley wins the Britannia Stakes (Pic – Megan Coggin)

Fresh from riding a double at Ripon on Wednesday, Rodriguez made his move with more than a furlong to go and, while Skukuza put down a threatening challenge, Mickley (15/2) had three quarters of a length to spare at the line.

Native Warrior came up the stands’ rail to finish third, two and a half lengths further back, with Mission To Moon fourth.

Mickley, a 20,000gns yearling purchase at Tattersalls, ran twice as a two-year-old before posting wins this season at Southwell and Doncaster.

“It’s very special to have a winner here. I think this is my 10th year riding now and I’ve been down here a few times, but this week I was really looking forward to it and had two rides with real live chances, and a winner and a second – I’m very pleased,” said jockey Callum Rodriguez

Bethell said: “It’s a great feeling, and I’m delighted for everyone at home. Callum has got down to a very low weight which he never normally does – that’s taken a big effort from him. We had confidence in the horse and wanted to keep him together; I was quite surprised how well he did today, and I’m really happy.

“He’s an interesting horse. He does absolutely nothing at home and never tells you where the limit is, but he’s got size and scope… It is like winning the lottery, this race, and you can never be confident at all. It’s a great day for the whole yard. I know I took over from my father, but we’re a young team, really, and hopefully just getting started. It’s a big team effort.”

  • Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap)

1 Mickley (P K Siu) Ed Bethell 3-8-11 Callum Rodriguez 15/2

2 Skukuza (Cayton Park Stud Limited) Ed Dunlop 3-8-11 William Buick 16/1

3 Native Warrior (Wathnan Racing) Karl Burke 3-8-11 James Doyle 22/1

4 Mission To Moon (King Power Racing) Roger Varian 3-8-13 Oisin Murphy 25/1

29 ran                13/2JF Qirat (6th) and Volterra (11th)

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