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Shoemark hoping to start high-profile with Queen Anne glory for Inspiral

Shoemark hoping to start high-profile with Queen Anne glory for Inspiral
Shoemark hoping to start high-profile with Queen Anne glory for Inspiral

With big shoes to fill next week, Kieran Shoemark is hoping to get off to the perfect start at Royal Ascot with Inspiral in the Queen Anne.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained five-year-old is a general 3-1 favourite for the opening contest of the showpiece meeting, and Shoemark – who has taken over as number one rider at the powerful Gosden yard from Frankie Dettori – is hopeful she will come on from her run in the Lockinge Stakes last month.

Sent off the 2-1 market leader at Newbury, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned mare had to settle for fourth place, four and a half lengths behind stablemate Audience, who made all for a surprise victory in the mile feature.

Inspiral came home fourth in the Lockinge
Inspiral came home fourth in the Lockinge (John Walton/PA)

Shoemark felt Inspiral needed that run and can give a better account of herself at Ascot, in a race she finished second in last year.

The 27-year-old is preparing for the busiest Royal Ascot of his career having taken over as stable jockey from Dettori, but is refusing to set any targets for himself over the week.

Speaking to BoyleSports, Shoemark said: “The biggest and the busiest (Royal Ascot) for me, that is fair to say.

“Over the five days I will be looking at between 15 and 20 rides and some high-profile ones among them.

Inspiral won the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot under Dettori in 2022
Inspiral won the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot under Dettori in 2022 (David Davies/PA)

“Inspiral in the Queen Anne is one. She had a fantastic year last year, capping it off at the Breeders’ Cup. She returned in the Lockinge and needed the run, maybe more so than we anticipated. She has been in great order since.

“Theory Of Tides – I think he’ll run in the King Edward. Emily Upjohn has a couple of entries in the Prince of Wales’s and in the Hardwicke. Eben Shaddad had some nice juvenile form and ran well in the French Guineas I thought, and he will run in the Jersey Stakes. Jack Darcy could run in the Wolverton.

“I will take it day by day – I don’t have a target in mind. At the moment all I am thinking about is winning the Queen Anne as that would be a great way to kick off. I have only ever had one winner at Royal Ascot so I can’t be going there thinking about targets.”

Shoemark does not feel overwhelmed by the task of replacing Dettori at one of the biggest operations in racing, and says he has benefited from advice from the Italian.

He said: “Frankie was on his farewell tour (last year) and I was asked to come in and ride out and it propelled from there. I started riding a few and Frankie decided in his last year he didn’t want to ride any two-year-olds, so I did some maidens and novice races in his place and it went from there.

“It wasn’t daunting really because it was a gradual transition. Frankie was very much still around – I was just going in and riding when I was needed. I was still riding for Charlie Hills, but there was no real pressure.

“I am there to do a job for John and Thady. I don’t look at it as if I am replacing Frankie Dettori, because I can’t. I know he was associated with Clarehaven for many years and if I did look at it like that, then it could have been very daunting.

“It is one of the biggest jobs in racing. John and Thady were champion trainers last year. It is a huge opportunity and one I am going to grab with both hands.

Frankie Dettori has been the king of Royal Ascot
Frankie Dettori has been the king of Royal Ascot (John Walton/PA)

“I look forward to what is to come. It is fair to say it has been a little bit of a steady start, but we are still early into the season and hopefully we have some nice horses to appear very soon.”

He added of Dettori: “He has been so helpful. I speak to him often in America, I give him a call if I am riding a horse I don’t know much about, such as Arrest or Emily Upjohn or Inspiral. I gave him a call because I was riding these horses for the first time and I know these horses a bit better now. Frankie is very willing to offer his advice.

“He is over here next week and I will definitely be speaking to him on Monday before Royal Ascot. I’ll look forward to seeing him there – he won’t be far from the action!”

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