Ed Walker can now start dreaming of trying to claim a second Royal Ascot victory with Agrotera following her winning return to action in the Racing TV Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes at Kempton.
The daughter of Mastercraftsman provided the Lambourn handler with his first winner at the Royal meeting in last year’s Sandringham Stakes, and could return for the Duke of Cambridge Stakes after landing a first Listed success.
Always travelling well under Gerald Mosse, who was on board for the first time, the Bjorn Nielsen-owned filly picked up well when sent on in the closing stage of the mile contest, before proving a length too strong for Preening.
Walker said: “That was really important and that was the victory we wanted. She just didn’t hit the same levels of her Ascot form in the second half of last season. I think it knocked her mentally.
“She has been hard work and is not easy to train. Fair play to the guys at home. Everyone has played their part. That feels good. She is a very well-bred filly with a huge engine and we’ve thought she is a hell of a lot better than a Listed filly.
“It was her head that was going to be the problem. Bjorn (Nielsen, owner) is big breeder, so it is vital she is a stakes winner. Everything else is a bonus and that takes the pressure of the rest of the season.”
A tilt at the Group Two prize at the Royal meeting could hinge on Walker being allowed to use the now-retired Dannios to continue in his role as being a companion for Agrotera in the preliminaries.
Walker added of the 7-2 joint-favourite: “If her brain will let us I would love her to go back to Ascot for the Duke of Cambridge.
“Whether we go one more time between now and Ascot, I don’t know. The Duke of Cambridge was always my dream. Apart from Derby day there are not many races that are higher pressure and stressful for a horse.
“Dannios was the first horse that arrived in my yard with Riggins and for him to do that job (ponying) so well is amazing. It depends if the stewards want to help us or not, that will really determine if we run at Ascot.”