Monday, 28 June 2010

Royal Ascot Racing Club Update 28th June 2010

Prompter has been entered to run at Sandown on Friday July 2nd in The Gala Stakes over one mile and two furlongs at 4.00 pm. This horse is in great form and is working very well. He was mentioned in The Racing Post gallops report on the weekend having done an impressive piece of work on the watered gallop. The obvious frustration is that ground conditions do not currently suit him and I suspect that he is highly unlikely to run on Friday unless there are heavy thunderstorms. At some point the weather will turn in his favour, but in the meantime we would all have to be very patient.

Pollenator will return to the stud this week and Richard Hughes and Richard Hannon both advise that this filly is retired as they feel that she no longer wants to race. Needless to say this is disappointing, but it is not unusual for fillies to fail to train on from two to three. The worst thing we could do is to devalue her by carrying aimlessly on and so having discussed this in depth with John Warren, we feel that it is right to draw stumps and to sell her in the December Sales in Newmarket.

Mirabella is in good form and is ready to run again. She has been given an entry at Sandown on Friday over one mile and two furlongs in The Coral TV Handicap Stakes at 5.25 pm and we will be back in touch on Wednesday to confirm plans. She is now over the corn issue which prevented her from running last week.

Metaphoric is in cracking form and Michael Bell could not be happier with him. He is now doing two strong canters and Michael hopes to have him ready to run sometime in August. Obviously the acid test will be how he copes with fast work, but at the moment the leg looks to have healed well and we are hopeful that he will race again. The trainer has stated that his longer term target this year will be the Prix de Cadaran (Gr1) at Longchamp on Arc Weekend!

Expose has done very well physically but has flipped his palate a couple of times which may mean that the vets will have to do a quick operation to ensure that this does not stop him in the future. He is an imposing horse who has physically changed out of all recognition and depending on whether an operation is needed, will be running in late August or early September. I will of course keep you closely posted on this and will have more news the week after next when the wind expert Geoffrey Lane has inspected him.

Paul Nicholls reports Advisor to be in good form and enjoying his summer break. He will be brought back in from the field and will have his wind operation in approximately two to three weeks time. He should not take long to get over this as he has age on his side, but I will again of course keep you fully informed.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Free Racing at Ascot if Germany beat England on Sunday 27th June

If England fail to progress against the Germans this Sunday, we would like to soften the blow for all our Twitter followers and offer two free tickets to Ascot on Friday 9th July absolutely FREE.
If the unthinkable happens, e-mail your name and address to by Friday 2nd July and you will be sent two Premier Admission tickets to our race meeting on Friday 9th July: Property Raceday.
The day features a competitive and varied six race card on a more relaxed Ascot raceday - what better place to follow all the action not just from Ascot but from York and Newmarket, where the Darley July Cup, a partner race in the Global Sprint Challenge that begins at Ascot in June, is the feature race.
We sincerely hope this promotion fails to deliver and England advance all the way to the World Cup Final!

Saturday 10th July: Totesport Summer Mile Day at Ascot Racecourse

Sonny Red (left with blue and red cap) ridden by Richard Hughes wins a thrilling 2009 Keltbray Cup.

Soul Heaven (far left in maroon) ridden by Jamie Spencer storms to victory to win the 2009 Ruddy Nursery Handicap.

15/8 favourite Aqlaam takes the feature race of last year's first July meeting; the Summer Mile Stakes.
The £100,000 Group Two Summer Mile is positioned ideally between the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in August and attracts some of the best milers in the country. In addition, the Horses For Heroes Charity ride will be taking place with riders taking a unique route around Windsor Great Park and Ascot Racecourse to raise money for Help for Heroes.
Our followers on Twitter and Facebook can claim half price tickets for the day. Simply call 0870 727 1234 or visit, quoting promotional code TWITTER.
Premier Admission reduces from £26 to £13 and Grandstand Admission from £16 to £8. Tickets must be booked in advance, maximum 9 per order and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
We look forward to welcoming you to Ascot for what is sure to be a thrilling renewal of the Totesport Summer Mile.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Review of Friday’s Group 1 action at Royal Ascot courtesy of Weatherbys

Favourite backers were left celebrating after the Aidan O’Brien-trained Lille Langtry produced a classy performance to land the Group 1 Coronation Stakes under Johnny Murtagh. Sent off the 7/2 first choice of punters, it provided the powerful Ballydoyle operation with their first winner of the week and went some way to making up for their near-miss with Age of Aquarius in the Gold Cup 24 hours earlier. Murtagh was happy to track the early pace once the stalls opened as Jim Bolger’s Gile Na Greine led the field. Kevin Manning set a pretty sedate pace through the early stages but, as the field swung for home, the tempo increased and suddenly the daughter of Galileo skipped a couple of lengths clear. Murtagh was wise to the move though and soon had his filly in the clear and once he asked her to lengthen she readily reeled in the long-time leader and powered away for an impressive one-and-a-quarter length success. Gile Na Greine kept going in gutsy fashion to gain a deserved 2nd place at 25/1, while Jacqueline Quest, controversially demoted from first past the post in the English 1,000 Guineas last month, ran a sound race to cross the line in 3rd, just holding off Music Show who had to settle for 4th.
The winner had announced herself as one of the leading juveniles of 2009 with two Group race successes which sat alongside victory in the valuable Tattersalls Timeform Sales race at Newmarket. As a result of these achievements she was sent off favourite on her final two-year-old start which came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf but, sadly for connections, she picked up a knee injury which delayed her comeback run until she reappeared by finishing 5th in the Irish 1,000 Guineas last month.
Following on from her injury at the end of last season, the winning trainer was obviously thrilled to see her register her first top-level victory. “We are delighted, we always thought she was a very good filly,” he said. “She was very good last year but she had a little injury at the backend and it’s all credit to everyone for getting her back as she was off all through the winter. We started her off in the Irish Guineas and she ran a lovely race there - we were delighted with her and were looking forward to coming here. She now has the option to step up into a mile and a quarter and we’ll have to discuss what’s next for her”.

Thursday’s Group 1 Action at Royal Ascot courtesy of Weatherbys

The Dermot Weld-trained Rite of Passage announced himself as a stayer of immense potential when battling to victory in the Group 1 Gold Cup on another sun-baked day here at Royal Ascot. Ridden by Pat Smullen, the 20/1 shot had to dig deep to pass Age of Aquarius for the Aidan O’Brien yard, a stable that has dominated this race in recent years thanks to the achievements of four-time winner Yeats. The betting had been all about Luca Cumani’s Purple Moon whose odds crashed from an opening 33/1 in the morning down to an SP of 12/1. However, it was Sir Michael Stoute’s Ask that was the punters’ first choice and he set off as the 3/1 market leader for the 2m 4f marathon. Akmal, under Richard Hills, dictated the early pace with both Rite of Passage and Age of Aquarius in close pursuit. Typically for such a long distance race the order remained unchanged as the field made their way down the back straight but once they turned for home the contest was really starting to hot up. Akmal dropped away to leave Johnny Murtagh with the long Ascot home stretch between him and glory on Age of Aquarius. Rite of Passage was hitting top gear though in his slipstream and when Pat Smullen moved him out to challenge the two Irish-trained runners settled down to battle out the finish. In the end it was Smullen’s mount who just managed to keep his rival at bay, with only a head separating the two at the finish. There was a lengthy gap back to Purple Moon in 3rd and a further gap back to Bannaby under Christophe Soumillon in 4th.
Amazingly, the winner was keeping intact an unbeaten career on the flat, having won both his previous starts in Ireland. He was sent off favourite at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this year and ran a fine race to finish 3rd at Grade 1 level on that occasion.
The winning jockey was understandably delighted: “I was very happy with how the race went. I was very confident he would stay but he's got speed as well. I got a lovely position just behind the leaders all the way round and got the gap when I needed. When I asked him to kick he quickened up well and it takes a very good horse to win how he did.”
For the winning trainer it was third time lucky in the race: “It's a race I've always wanted to win and two previous runners, Vinnie Roe and Vintage Crop, finished runners-up, so I thought it could be third time lucky”.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Wednesday’s Group 1 Action at Royal Ascot Courtesy of Weatherbys

For the fourth consecutive year the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes went to an overseas winner as Byword, trained by Andre Fabre, produced a thoroughly professional performance in the hands of young Maxime Guyon.
The jockey was having his first-ever ride in the UK but you wouldn’t have guessed as he guided his mount to a half-length success over the Henry Cecil-trained Twice Over.
Always nicely positioned, Byword travelled sweetly just off the pace which was cut out by the John Gosden pair of Tazeez and Debussy.
The order remained unchanged through the early stages and only when the field swung for home did the race began in earnest. Guyon benefited from his position behind the long-time leaders and when he asked his mount to quicken the response was immediate.
He skipped a couple of lengths clear of the field and held on in decent style as Twice Over tried in vain to reel him in. The runner-up had endured one or two traffic problems when he entered the home straight and those that backed him may feel a little hard done by. However, the winner made the most of his chance and was ultimately good value for the success. Tazeez kept going in determined fashion to claim a deserved third spot at 40/1 under Tadhg O’Shea, having been in front rank throughout.
Fellow 40/1 shot Stimulation, for trainer Hughie Morrison, was another to outperform his odds, passing the post a gallant fourth but the well-fancied Cavalryman, under Frankie Dettori, never featured and came home well beaten.
The result was a special one for owner Khalid Abdulla who was responsible for both Byword and Twice Over. After enjoying double Guineas success with Special Duty, and then Epsom
Derby glory with Workforce, the season just seems to be getting better and better for the owner.
The successful trainer, who was winning the race for the second time in four years after Manduro’s victory in 2007, never doubted his runner’s talent. “I always knew he had the ability to win this, I knew he was good enough,” he said. “He has really matured over the winter but I’m not sure he’ll stay further than 1m 2f.
There would be a stamina question mark about him for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe but he’ll be a force in all the top races over 1m and 1m 2f ”.
Speaking through an interpreter, the winning jockey was quick to praise his trainer: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to ride here and so very grateful to Mr Fabre. The race went perfectly and I’m delighted.”

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A review of today’s Royal Ascot Group 1 action courtesy of Weatherbys

With the racecourse covered in beautiful summer sunshine, Royal Ascot 2010 started with a bang as French superstar Goldikova landed the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes in thrilling style. Sent off the 11/8 market leader, the Freddie Head-trained five-year-old made it nine Group 1 victories in holding off the fast-finishing Paco Boy, who was looking to repeat his success in the race of twelve months ago.
Olivier Peslier never had his mount far off the pace as Calming Influence, under Frankie Dettori, took the field along, closely pursued by Johnny Murtagh on Rip Van Winkle. As the field swept past the two furlong pole Peslier was in the clear and when he pressed the button the response from Goldikova saw them power clear of their nine rivals. In behind, Richard Hughes was busy weaving his way through the field on the 2009 winner and really hit top gear once they got clear of traffic.
However, the winner had already flown and, despite their best efforts, the line came in time for the French raider as she declared herself as one of the greatest race mares of all time. 50/1 outsider Dream Eater ran a fine race to cross the line in third, albeit three lengths adrift of the front two.
The time was only fractionally outside the course record as the winner took her lifetime earnings close to £2.75m.
For the first time since 2004, the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes stayed on home soilthanks to the Barry Hills-trained Equiano, ridden by his son Michael. It was the trainer’s 24th Royal Ascot winner but his first in this race.
In typical ‘blink and you miss it’ style, the field exploded out of the gates to blitz their way down the 5 furlong distance with Equiano always near to the leaders, close up against the nearside rail. Australian hotpot Nicconi was taken off his feet in the early stages but Frankie Dettori was making good headway through the field. However, the winner wasn’t stopping in front and, although his rivals tried in vain to reel him in, he ran out a comfortable winner from Markab in second and Borderlescott in third. Nicconi fared best of the overseas raiders, coming home in fourth, with fellow Aussie Gold Trail ultimately well beaten. Equiano was winning the race for the second time, having previously tasted success in 2008 when he became the first-ever Spanish-trained winner at Royal Ascot when in the care of Mauricio Delcher-Sanchez. He became the first horse to lose and then regain the King’s Stand crown since Elbio in 1991 and then 1993. Canford Cliffs followed up his recent Iris2,000 Guineas success when running out a convincing winner of the St James’s Palace Stakes. The Richard Hannon-trained son of Tagula was successful on the same card twelve months ago when blitzing his rivals by six lengths in the Coventry Stakes and he has continued that high level of form through into his Classic season.
Happy to track the early pace, Richard Hughes had his mount towards the rear but when the field swung for home the ease with which he was travelling was there for all to see. The Aidan O’Brien trio of Steinbeck, Beethoven and Encompassing had cut out the early running but those exertions soon began to tell and, as they dropped away, it was left to Richard Hannon’s other runner, English and French 2,000 Guineas runner-up Dick Turpin, to take over. However, his stable mate looked to have the bases covered and once Hughes hit the front the race was effectively over.
He passed the post a length clear of Dick Turpin in second with a further three-quarters of a length back to Hearts of Fire in third, the 33/1 shot running a huge race for trainer Pat Eddery. It was the third successive year that the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner has gone on to success in this Group 1 event and the sixth in the last ten years since Black Minnaloushe achieved the double in 2001.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Australian, American & Hong Kong Horses ready for Royal Ascot Next Week


Australian trainer Gary Portelli, a week into his first visit to Britain, said today that Gold Trail, the six-year-old sprinter he is targeting at Tuesday’s Group One King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, has never been happier.

The front-running Gold Trail likes to dominate from the start and then go for the line within the last quarter-mile in his races.

Portelli said: “Early on in his career, I tried to have him ridden conservatively to get further. He has got a stride on him like a stayer and the attitude of a stayer. Everyone who rides him cannot believe he is a 1,000-metre (five-furlong) horse.

“He has raced and won over 1,200 metres (six furlongs) but usually stops pretty rapidly over that distance. His record over 1,100 (five and a half furlongs) is excellent - seven or eight attempts for five or six wins.

“Gold Trail has never raced at 1,000 metres because there have not been the races for him in Australia. When he races over 1,100 metres, he is usually well clear 100 metres out, with the others in all sorts of trouble, and then the last 50 metres sees horses coming from everywhere at him. If he has been beaten, it is often on the line.

“I think 1,000 metres will suit him well at Royal Ascot, being more like 1,100 metres back home. The faster the ground on Tuesday, the better, but he did win on a slower track at Randwick one day by four lengths.

“I will walk the track with the jockey Michael Rodd, who is due to arrive on Sunday night, if no volcanoes explode. Michael has not ridden here before.

“I have been here a week and found everything absolutely fascinating - I had been told what to expect but nobody was able to describe it properly.

“It is everything it should be for horse trainers here. I don’t think Gold Trail wants to go home either. He is very happy where he is - it is very rural compared to where we train.

“Newmarket is horse-friendly and a fantastic place for a horse to live. I don’t work him very far - he went over three furlongs today - and during the last week, we have been doing some steady longer work with him. Today was the power work. In the past, he has gone best when I think he needs just a bit more work and that is how he is at the moment.

“I think you can compare him with a high-jumper. Every year, he has gone to a higher height - no way two years ago would I have envisaged training this horse for Royal Ascot.
“Gold Trail ran a great race in Singapore last time. The 1,200 metres and ground were against him there.”

David Hayes is another Australian trainer targeting the £300,000 King’s Stand Stakes. Whereas Gold Trail blitzes for the line, Nicconi is usually held up for a late burst of speed.

He commented: “Nicconi is the classiest sprinter I have had and I believe he can win the King’s Stand Stakes. He is pretty good when he goes. History is in his favour.

“I have 170 horses in training in Australia which is one of the biggest strings in the country. I think the King’s Stand Stakes will get more publicity in Australia than it gets here. From an Australian point of view, it is that race and the Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot and no others.

“The race has created a lot of interest and people will be staying up all night to watch it.”

Nicconi worked on the Limekilns grass gallop at Newmarket this morning and Hayes, who has visited Europe plenty of times previously though the colt is his first runner, said: “I was so impressed with the quality of the gallop, not the horse, the turf. There are wonderful options for trainers in Newmarket.

“Nicconi did not do much this morning - he was looking at the press.

“If I can find and buy the right horse, I want to set a Melbourne Cup challenger from here, bringing the horse over with the English horses and going into quarantine with them.

“The advantage would be to get to know the horse and have another runner here but I have not found a suitable horse yet.”

Nicconi will be the mount of Frankie Dettori at Royal Ascot.

“It looks like there will be a good true pace in the race with two or three horses going to set it up for a horse coming from the back. One of the main reasons of booking Frankie was if it is a big field, I am sure Frankie has more friends and knows who to follow than the Aussie boys. Frankie was pleased when riding Nicconi last week.

“This is likely to be Nicconi’s last run as he will probably be retired to Widden Stud. If he wins well, we might be tempted by the July Cup as that would enhance his stallion value - generating dual hemisphere appeal.

“There are wonderful international opportunities now and when I have a nice horse I will certainly travel with it.”

All four winners of the Coolmore Lightning Stakes, the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge at Flemington, Australia, staged this year on January 30, who have contested the King’s Stand Stakes so far have won the Royal Ascot race - Choisir (2003), Takeover Target (2006), Miss Andretti (2007) and Scenic Blast (2009). Nicconi came from last to first to win this year’s renewal of the Australian contest.

Paul Messara, the trainer of seven-year-old Australian mare Alverta, who goes for the six-furlong Golden Jubilee Stakes on June 19 at Royal Ascot, said: “She has settled in very well and I am very pleased with the way she is at the moment. She has come on a lot in the last 10 days, and is starting to thrive. She has put back on 15-20kg of the 40kg she lost on the journey over here.

“She has really enjoyed the work here. I have been on the gentle side with her. She is normally very good when fresh and she is not a horse you want to over-gallop.

“Six furlongs is on the short side for her but the six here is probably like an Australian seven furlongs. She sprints very well and has run Takeover Target to a nose in the past.

“Coming to Ascot is something all Australians would like to do and I hope to be back again.”

Joy And Fun, one of two Hong Kong-trained horses going for the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday, June 19, is another who has settled in well since flying to Britain.

Trained by Derek Cruz, the seven-year-old gelding by Cullen found the softish ground in the Group One KrisFlyer International Sprint at Kranji, Singapore last month unsuitable when plugging on to be sixth over six furlongs. He had previously won the US$1 million Al Quoz Sprint over six furlongs on fast turf at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night at the end of March.

Cruz’s sons Trevor and Martin have been in charge of the horse. Trevor, 27, said: “His ideal conditions would be very similar to the conditions in Dubai - a nice firm, fast track and warm weather. He really thrives with better weather.

“He has been in Britain for nearly two weeks and has settled in well. Joy And Fun is a really solid seven-furlong horse so in terms of stamina he will be fine.

“He won in Dubai and it was a natural progression to come here for the Golden Jubilee Stakes and the Darley July Cup.

“He travels very well which is another incentive - he has maintained his weight. The race tactics will be discussed between my father and Brett (Doyle).

“Brett is a very seasoned professional and his knowledge of Ascot will be a help. He has been Joy And Fun’s regular jockey for over a year and knows him very well. Fingers crossed that we get the right conditions.”

Martin Cruz added: “We stay optimistic and will see what happens a week on Saturday. We really respect the other Hong Kong horse Happy Zero and the local horses such as Showcasing.”

Carl O’Callaghan, the colourful 34-year-old American-based trainer just a year into holding a licence, has a star in Kinsale King who won the Group One US$2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen over six furlongs on Tapeta at Meydan on March 27 and is now going for the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19.

He partnered Kinsale King, a five-year-old Yankee Victor gelding, in a canter at Newmarket this morning and said: “The dance I did after he won in Dubai has been bringing the horses into my barn. We had a good time and that is how I felt after winning a US$2 million race halfway across the world.

“Ascot has been on my agenda since Wesley Ward won races at Royal Ascot last year. I knew if I had the horse I could come here and my owner said let’s try it.

“Kinsale King’s feet are very important - the old saying is no foot, no horse. We spend four or five hours on his feet when we shoe him - he is very delicate and we take really good care of him. That is the reason I came over myself - I know his feet.

“Kieren Fallon flew out last week to work Kinsale King at Belmont in New York and they did a good stiff half-mile and covered six furlongs in 1m 12s and change - that is pretty fast and the horse did it relatively easily.

“Guinness is very healthy - it has got a lot of yeast in it and helps a horse. He will not do a whole lot between now and the race

“I started out with two or three horses last year. I think I had five or six before I left for Dubai and we now have 25 in training and more on the way so it will be about 50 when I get home.

“I don’t want to get too big - I like quality more than quantity. I like to develop a horse and get the best out of every single horse whether it is a good one or a bad one.

“I have been playing the guitar since I was child. We have four CDs - Irish country and a bit of everything - and all the proceeds go to Cure Cancer For Kids.

“If Kinsale King wins at Ascot, then I will be going home (to Ireland which Carl left for America as a 14-year-old). We have brought the American flag and the Irish flag with us. Either way, we will celebrate.

“Home in Co Clare is Newmarket-on-Fergus. I know I am a good person with a lot of passion for the game and I strolled back in there (Belmont) - I didn’t want to be where I was (on the streets) - it gets you down. I wanted to be back up on my feet and stay focussed.

“I love communicating with horses - I think they talk to us. It is just like with human beings, if you give and give, you will receive.

“I was sixteen and a half when I started work for John Kimmel at Belmont Park - it has been a good climb since.”

Kenny McPeek, another American trainer, is mounting a three-strong challenge on Royal Ascot races, with three-year-old Noble’s Promise going for the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes, with two-year-olds Tiz My Time and Casper’s Touch due to line up in the Albany Stakes and Chesham Stakes respectively.

McPeek said: “Noble’s Promise needs to be shortened back to a mile after running in the Kentucky Derby.

“There were not Grade One mile races available in America for him and the timing is right for us to come to England.

“He has had his three-year-old prep races and finished a close third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He missed a breeze before that race otherwise we might have had the champion two-year-old.

“He is a really nice colt and a mile will be his ideal distance. I have shocked the world before with my Belmont winner. I think it important for international racing that there is an American presence in this race. He goes on the grass and synthetics and was very competitive on dirt.

“The jockeys feel he is going so good that they make their moves too soon and I hope Kieren Fallon will be patient on him. He has been working right-handed at home and did so again today.”

The American trainer believes that medication-free racing should be introduced for all Graded contests in America, because he feels that the breed is being undermined by the constant use of Lasix and other medication.

For more information, please contact Nick Smith, Head of Communications at Ascot Racecourse, on 07771 791449.

Friday, 4 June 2010

A Guide to the International Entries for Royal Ascot 2010

International entries continue to figure prominently in Royal Ascot’s two Group One Sprints following the May 25 forfeits deadline. Kinsale King (Carl O’Callaghan) is set to follow up his victory for the USA in the Dubai Golden Shaheen back in March with an ambitious raid on the Golden Jubilee Stakes. Hong Kong is expected 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), successful in 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.
The duo warmed up for their Royal Ascot challenge in the Group One Kris Flyer International Sprint at Kranji, Singapore, on May 16 with Happy Zero finishing a flying third and Joy And Fun coming home sixth on unsuitably soft ground.
Australia’s principal contender for the Golden Jubilee Stakes is Alverta (Paul Messara), following victory in the Group One Coolmore Classic in March.
Compatriot Nicconi (David Hayes), winner of the Group One Coolmore Lightning Stakes at Flemington in January, the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, has the King’s Stand Stakes as his primary target but remains in the Golden Jubilee.
Australia’s third planned Royal Ascot representative, Gold Trail (Gary Portelli), winner of the Group One Railway Stakes at Ellerslie in January, looked to have stolen the KrisFlyer International Sprint but faded to fourth over the six furlong trip and is expected to go very close in the shorter King’s Stand Stakes.
Australian import, Starspangledbanner, fourth to Nicconi in the Lightning and a subsequent winner of the Group One Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield, remains a possible Golden Jubilee Stakes runner for Aidan O’Brien.
He finished fifth to Prime Defender (Barry Hills) in the Group Two Duke Of York Stakes on his European debut and also still has the Queen Anne Stakes as an option at Royal Ascot.
A total of five French trained horses remain engaged across the two sprints, including 2008 Darley July Cup winner, Marchand D’Or (Mikel Delzangles), whilst Sweden could be represented in the King’s Stand Stakes 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. Kingsgate Native (Sir Michael Stoute), winner of the Golden Jubilee Stakes in 2008, was the impressive winner of the Group Two Temple Stakes at Haydock Park on May 22, when he had the 2008 King’s Stand Stakes victor Equiano (Barry Hills) half a length back in second. Dual Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes winner Borderlescott (Robin Bastiman) finished third in that contest and is still engaged in the King’s Stand Stakes.
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 Africantrained Mourilyan (Herman Brown) in the Gold Cup and the Americantrained Noble’s Promise (Kenny McPeek) in the St James’s Palace Stakes.Kenny McPeek is no stranger to Ascot, having 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 ran a good race to finish fifth of the 20 starters in this year’s Kentucky Derby on his latest start on May 1. His presence against the very best European trained threeyearold colts in the St James’s Palace Stakes will provide a fascinating transatlantic head to head. Wesley Ward, responsible for a pair of two year old winners at last year’s Royal Meeting and Golden Jubilee Stakes second Cannonball, is planning another visit this year.

Share This