The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend celebrations got off to the best possible start as Her Majesty’s smart four-year-old, Carlton House, made a winning seasonal reappearance in the Group 3 Betfair Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown, on Thursday night, and now looks set to be a major player at Royal Ascot, three weeks later, writes Elliot Slater.

Last year, the entire nation seemed to be gripped by the possibility that the royal colt might win the Derby, after he put up a fine performance to beat Aidan O’Brien’s useful Seville by a length-and-a-half in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York, a key trial for the blue riband classic event.

With all eyes on him, Carlton House ran a fine race at Epsom under Ryan Moore, and was produced with his effort over a furlong from home, but could not get by the front-running, Treasure Beach, a horse that proved a boon for fans making a bet on racing.

After losing a shoe 100 yards from the finish, the pair were swamped in the dying strides by French star, Pour Moi, Carlton House eventually finishing an honourable third, beaten just a length by the Andre Fabre-trained winner.

Sent off the favourite again for the Irish Derby at the Curragh, three weeks later, the son of Street Cry put up a laboured performance. However, the horse was far from disgraced, in finishing a two-length fourth to Treasure Beach, but was not seen again, last term, after those two big efforts in top company.

At Sandown, on Thursday night, bookmakers made the Sir Michael Stoute-trained runner a 10/11 favourite to make a winning seasonal bow, and the imposing colt did not let supporters down, this time, quickening up well over a furlong from home to come away and beat Sagramor by nearly two lengths.

The Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot is the next target, and victory in that race at times of such royal celebrations would surely be the icing on the cake for The Queen, should her smart performer prove up to the task.

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