Connections have earmarked the Ascot Gold Cup for Spanish Mission’s next run after his brilliant victory in Friday’s Yorkshire Cup Stakes (Spanish Mission 12/1 Gold Cup 2021).

William Buick piloted him perfectly, taking command in the final furlong to overhaul last year’s Irish Derby hero Santiago (12/1 – Gold Cup 2021), while pre-race favourite Sir Ron Priestley came home third.

Friday’s win marked Buick’s second in the Friday feature at the Dante Festival at York, having ridden home Duncan for John Gosden in 2011, and afterwards heĀ  described the run as a “great performance”.

Anna Lisa Balding, the wife of trainer Andrew, was equally emphatic and says a trip to Royal Ascot for the Gold Cup is now the focus for this son of Noble Mission.

She said, in quotes carried by Sporting Life: “We’re absolutely delighted, it’s wonderful for the owners and Andy, who looks after him, they couldn’t go to Saudi so it’s great they’re here today. Ascot’s obviously the plan, the Gold Cup.

“William was very impressed with him, what a lovely horse to have on the yard. He’s got some pace too, hasn’t he? We’re just so pleased.”

It was a successful day for Balding, who had earlier seen Nymphadora win a Listed Fillies’ Stakes ahead of William Haggas’ Canonized and Clive Cox’s Crazyland.

Another horse heading for Royal Ascot is Primo Bacio after a fine showing in winning the Listed Oaks Farm Stables Fillies’ Stakes (Primo Bacio 7/1 – Coronation Stakes 2021).

Stepping up in trip to a mile, the Ed Walker-trained filly seemed to suit the distance, accelerating with a furlong to run to eventually claim a three-length victory.

The Coronation Stakes is now being talked about for the three-year-old and Ed Walker could hardly believe his luck, especially after he and owner David Ward had also picked up the Duke of York Stakes through Starman on Tuesday.

“There aren’t many of them, but it’s been a good week,” Walker said. “It’s very exciting going to Royal Ascot with the two of them. It’s great for the Wards, who are big supporters of ours.”

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