Society Rock Wins the Duke Of York, Next Stop Royal Ascot

Society Rock has been one of the stars of the James Fanshawe stable for several seasons now, and he kicked off his 2013 campaign in the best possible way by winning the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes.

The six-year-old had started off in the very same race last season, finishing third, so by going two places better connections can start dreaming of even further success at this level, and a trip to Royal Ascot in June is very much on the agenda.

The Berkshire track has been a happy hunting ground for Society Rock with two of his five career wins coming there, including the 2011 Golden Jubilee, and that Group 1 contest is again his intended target.

His trainer will be hoping he has better luck than in last year's renewal, won by Black Caviar. History tells us that the Aussie wonder won by a fast-diminishing head on that occasion, but many would argue that Society Rock, who was beaten less than two lengths in fifth, would have prevailed had he not completely missed the break.

That wasn't the only time the enigmatic sprinter has missed the kick and his York pilot Kieren Fallon was fully aware to the fact, somehow getting him to break on a par with the rest of the field when the gates opened. That made all the difference in the end as his margin of victory over 16/1 outsider Lethal Force was a mere head.

James Fanshawe said after the race: "I always hold my breath when he's in the stalls because he lost his chance at Royal Ascot last year and it's half the battle with him. He's done a lot of work at home and he's going to be an exciting horse this season. He likes Ascot and that (the Diamond Jubilee) will be his next race."

Society Rock is again likely to lock horns with the York second and third (Gordon Lord Byron) in the six-furlong Group One on Ascot 22.

Clive Cox, trainer of runner-up Lethal Force, said: "He ran a super race. He's been going so well at home that we left the blinkers off and it didn't make any difference. He has made so much improvement from three to four and he'll go for the Diamond Jubilee.

Gordon Lord Byron's trainer Tom Hogan said: "He could have done with a bit more company, but he's done well and he'll go for the Diamond Jubilee, but I might enter him over longer distances later on."

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