Dahlia Winner Lady Bowthorpe Looking to Build on Lockinge Second for Banks at Royal Ascot

Newmarket’s Dahlia Stakes has produced its fair share of useful fillies and mares since earning Group status in 2004, and this year’s winner Lady Bowthorpe is out to enhance its great reputation over the summer.

A mare sired by Nathaniel, who bumped into Frankel on his only career start at the Headquarters of British Flat horse racing, the five-year-old has already made a splash for connections. Emma Banks is used to handling the affairs of some of the biggest acts in pop music, so the super-agent turned racehorse owner can handle pressure.

With clientele that includes Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Banks doesn’t want her mare in training with Newmarket handler William Jarvis to give it away in the prelims, be spinning around at the start or chained to the rhythm on the way to the line.

Going on form figures alone, Lady Bowthorpe has only won two of her 10 career starts on turf and has a better record on artificial all-weather surfaces. That nowhere near tells the full story about a mare who seems to be improving with age, however.

All horses can get better with racing and as they mature. Lady Bowthorpe fits into that category, and the trajectory of her progress can be seen from her last five racecourse appearances. They began with an all-important winning black type for her at Ascot in a Group 3 contest last July with a romp in the Valiant Stakes.

Lady Bowthorpe had to carry a penalty for that success on King George Weekend during her next outing around Sandown. She was giving weight away to the first five home and then didn’t act on heavy going during her final start of the campaign at Newmarket over the Rowley Mile in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes.

There was enough in her performances on the track to keep Lady Bowthorpe in training for another year. She rewarded Banks’s faith with a successful reappearance in the Dahlia Stakes, prevailing by a head over Queen Power who has since won another Group 2 at York which advertises the Newmarket form nicely.

As Lady Bowthorpe herself finished runner-up at the highest level in Newbury’s Lockinge Stakes when last in action on rain-softened ground, the evidence of her improvement is there for all to see. She bumped into arguably the best miler in Europe in Palace Pier that day, and both should now be on their way to Royal Ascot for different assignments.

Banks will be hoping to cash in on an ease in grade, albeit with a penalty for Lady Bowthorpe to carry, in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes on the second day of the five-day gala of flat horse racing held before royalty. Strong form claims explain why the horse racing betting on this Royal Ascot race has her as the 9/4 favourite.

There will be opposition from Ireland and probably France too, so Lady Bowthorpe won’t be handed anything on the grand stage. A repeat of her last run looks as though it will be more than enough for her to go close with the Falmouth Stakes back at Newmarket in July another possible summer target.