Kinsale King (Carl O’Callaghan) is set to follow up his victory for the USA in the Dubai Golden Shaheen with an ambitious raid on Royal Ascot’s Golden Jubilee Stakes, where he could meet representatives of no fewer than nine nations.
“The Golden Jubilee is one of the most prestigious races in the world,” O’Callaghan said. “The places a trainer dreams about winning at are Dubai, Royal Ascot and the Breeders’ Cup. I’ve got one of the three. Hopefully, I can get them all. “Kinsale King couldn’t be doing any better. He is back on the track and we’ll leave for Maryland on 17th May where we will be staying at Michael Dickinson’s Tapeta Farm so we can train up a straight. I have already arranged for our rider, Garrett Gomez, to come down and get a feel for what we need to do changing leads on a straight. We’ll spend a few weeks here and ship to Newmarket on 2nd June.” Kinsale King could be joined by compatriot and recent impressive Keeneland winner, West Ocean (also entered in the King’s Stand Stakes), who would be a first runner in the UK for multiple Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer, Todd Pletcher.
A further fascinating possible runner for the USA in both sprints or the St James’s Palace Stakes comes in the shape of Radiohead, successful in the Norfolk Stakes last year when trained by Brian Meehan and now in the care of Richard Dutrow Jnr.
Hong Kong looks set to be doubly represented in the Golden Jubilee Stakes with Joy And Fun (Derek Cruz), winner of the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai, and Happy Zero (John Moore), winner of the Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup at home in March and second to Good Ba Ba in the Group One Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile in December. Hong Kong Jockey Club Chief Executive, Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, said: “I welcome the enterprise and initiative of the connections of both horses. I think it is fair to say that, by embarking on this mission, they are making yet another statement of the fact that Hong Kong racing has truly come of age as a major force on the international stage. “I am confident that they have the ability to record another win at the Royal Meeting for Hong Kong following the victory of Cape of Good Hope in 2005.”
Also entered in the Golden Jubilee Stakes for Asia is Rocket Man (Patrick Shaw), second to Kinsale King in the Golden Shaheen for Singapore. He will next run in the KrisFlyer Sprint in his homeland where he is set to meet both Happy Zero and one of three Golden Jubilee Stakes entries for Australia, Gold Trail (Gary Portelli).
Gold Trail made a highly satisfactory return in the Group One Galaxy Handicap, when a close sixth under top-weight, and won the Group One Railway Stakes at Ellerslie in January.
Alverta (Paul Messara) is very much on course for the Golden Jubilee Stakes following victory in the Group One Coolmore Classic in March, whilst the third Australian entry, Nicconi (David Hayes), winner of the Group One Coolmore Lightning Stakes at Flemington in January, has the King’s Stand Stakes as his primary target. “Nicconi has the right form line following the other Aussie horses to have completed the Lightning / King’s Stand double (Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti, Scenic Blast), said Hayes. “He is undefeated at five furlongs and he runs well fresh. The plan is to run him first up in the King’s Stand. If he travels well, I expect him to be very competitive. “I obviously have a very international focus having trained in Hong Kong. Bringing international horses, owners and trainers together through the Global Sprint Challenge is an outstanding initiative for the promotion and benefit of our industry and its participants - it has certainly put Aussie sprinters on the map,” Hayes added. The highest profile name amongst the potential European defence in both Ascot legs of the Global Sprint Challenge is Overdose (Jozef Roszival), Hungary’s “Budapest Bullet,” whilst Aidan O’Brien spearheads a very strong Irish challenge with Alfred Nobel and the fascinating Australian import, Starspangledbanner, fourth to Nicconi in the Lightning and a subsequent winner of the Group One Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield. He also has the Queen Anne Stakes as an option at Royal Ascot.
A total of six French-trained horses have been entered across the two sprints, including 2008 Darley July Cup winner, Marchand D’Or (Mikel Delzangles), whilst Sweden could be represented by Alcohuaz (Lennart Reuterskiold), a winner of a Listed race in Germany in October.
Fleeting Spirit (Jeremy Noseda), entered in both races, found only Scenic Blast too good in last year’s King’s Stand Stakes before going on to win the July Cup. She looks the strongest of the British contingent at this stage although Newmarket second, Main Aim (Sir Michael Stoute), could be being primed to have another crack at her in the Golden Jubilee Stakes as he is not entered in the Queen Anne Stakes at this stage.
Dual Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes winner, Borderlescott (Robin Bastiman), is another high profile local name to note in the King’s Stand Stakes whilst Equiano (Barry Hills), winner of that race in 2008, is in both sprints following a successful reappearance in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.
Away from legs two and three of the Global Sprint Challenge at Royal Ascot, other entries in the Group One races from outside Europe are made up of the South African-trained Mourilyan (Herman Brown) in the Gold Cup and three American-trained possibles in the St James’s Palace Stakes.Radiohead is entered in the mile contest in addition to being considered for the sprints, and could be joined by Noble’s Promise, for Kenny McPeek, who sent over Hard Buck from America to finish second in the 2004 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Noble’s Promise was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year and the St James’s Palace Stakes is one option for him in the UK along with the Investec Derby.
Making up the triumvirate is Leaving New York, accompanying Kinsale King for trainer Carl O’Callaghan. His possible Royal Ascot targets are the St James’s Palace Stakes, Jersey Stakes or the Britannia Handicap.
In addition to the above, Wesley Ward, responsible for two two-year-old winners at last year’s Royal Meeting and Cannonball, who was second in the Golden Jubilee Stakes, is planning another visit this year with, amongst several possibilities, Final Mesa, a recent maiden winner at Keeneland, who is being aimed at the Queen Mary Stakes. “To have representation from pretty much all around the world in the initial entries for the King’s Stand and Golden Jubilee is very pleasing,” said Nick Smith, Head of Communications and International Racing at Ascot.
“The Aussies have a powerful hand as is becoming customary, and will be looking for a fifth Royal Ascot winner, but to have strong Asian and American interest is particularly good news, especially with two horses in Joy And Fun and Kinsale King, who have proven international pedigree having won on their visits to Dubai in March. “If one of the Americans were to run in the St James’s Palace Stakes that would add to what is often a strong international flavour on our opening day, whilst no one will be sending off Wesley’s two-year-olds at huge prices again this year. “Many of the sprinters coming to Royal Ascot have already been provisionally entered for the last of three Global Sprint Challenge races in the UK, the Darley July Cup, and it is probably only a matter of time before one of the visitors completes the Royal Ascot / Newmarket double”.