Racing: Royale to seal her family ties

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The Independent Online
For a filly of her limited achievements, Only Royale has an unusually lofty position in the history books.

The three-year-old's place in racing quizzes was established at San Siro racetrack in Milan last month when she provided Gianfranco Dettori with success on his last day in the saddle after more than 30 years as a jockey.

Dettori went on to another victory that day on Inner City, who, like Only Royale, is trained by Luca Cumani, the son of the man who provided the Italian rider with his first ever win, Sergio Cumani.

If this symmetry can continue, Only Royale should win at Ascot this afternoon, since Dettori's son, Lanfranco, has already scored subsequently on Inner City, at Newmarket last Friday. However, she has more than just patterns on her side. Unbeaten in three starts in Britain, Only Royale (next best 2.30) was considered for a Group Two race after her Italian venture, which implies that she has crept into today's handicap on a favourable mark.

The card's nursery should go to No Reservations, who, coincidentally, is a daughter of the horse that put Cumani on the Classic map, the 1984 St Leger winner Commanche Run.

What will prove to be the best distance for Fulke Johnson Houghton's filly is unclear. Her sire's ability to inject stamina into his offspring is such that he is now being marketed as a National Hunt stallion, while on the dam's side she is related to several winning sprinters.

On the evidence so far, NO RESERVATIONS (nap 3.40) appears to have inherited more of her mother's traits as she was in front from three furlongs out before being collared close home by Wynona over seven furlongs at Newmarket last Thursday. Off a similar place in the handicap today, she will be hard to beat.

The Listed October Stakes offers an easy assignment for Culture Vulture (3.05), a Group One winner at two and three who put up arguably the best performance of her life when running Marling to three- quarers of a length in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. Paul Cole's filly has not run since, but will have had to have eaten a lot of fried breakfasts in the interim to prevent victory today.