Joy for Natalie’s team as well-regarded filly returns to form after Ascot flop
by James Burn, originally published on racingpost.com
Natalie’s Joy, for whom the “sky was the limit’ for connections after her impressive debut win at Goodwood, got back on track when capturing the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes in fine style under Frankie Dettori.
Trained by Mark Johnston, the daughter of Lope De Vega went off 5-4 favourite for the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot on the back of her Goodwood success, but failed to fire, finishing seventh.
However, there were no issues here as she repelled the Charlie Hills-trained Chuck Willis, much to the relief of her trainer, to set up a crack at next week’s Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot or Deauville’s Prix du Calvados.
Johnston said. “She’s not a filly you’d expect to be nearly breaking track records at Goodwood so early in her life.
“We group them at home in four groups based on when we expect them to run. Group one is March-April, then May-June, July-August and September-October, and she was in group three, so we were expecting a July-August horse and were surprised she kept beating things earlier and earlier.”
Johnston, who trains Natalie’s Joy for Merriebelle Stable and Simon Chappell, added: “We thought, as everybody did, the sky was the limit. At one stage I think she was the highest-rated two-year-old in Britain, never mind filly.
“We were all thinking very, very big things, but she came unstuck at Ascot and this is the first step back.”