LIKE Lionel Richie used to say this should be easy for SUNDAY SOVEREIGN. Following a promising Naas debut this Irish raider thrashed Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes hero Arizona in a Curragh maiden.
Even though Aidan O’Brien’s ace was making his debut that day it was still some effort from Sunday Sovereign to brush him aside.
My fancy showed plenty of pace over 6f that day so it wasn’t much of a surprise he had the gears to cope with the return to 5f when bolting up by 7 lengths at Tipperary a couple of weeks ago.
He’s clearly classy, seems well at home on easy ground and this stiff track should be ideal. I don’t know a lot about his trainer Paddy Twomey but his impressive record this season suggests he knows what he’s doing.
O’Brien has won this race twice in the last four years and his Mount Fuji looks over-priced. Any horse from Ballydoyle that makes a winning debut usually turns out to be alright and this one did a lot wrong before scoring at Cork. He’s sure to improve and has to be feared.
Ventura Rebel dented some big reputations when winning over today’s course and distance last month. He’ll love the likely strong pace.
Charlie Appleby’s Expressionist also has track form in book having made a winning debut on easy ground here last month. The form looks fair and he is sure to see the trip out well.
A’Ali made a promising debut when narrowly touched off by a more-experienced rival with the pair a country mile clear of the rest at Ripon. It’s hard to think that’s great form and he might find this a bit hot at this stage of his career.
Wesley Ward rarely leaves Royal ascot empty handed and his Maven made all the running to score on his debut. It’s the same old story with his runners – you have to respect them but it’s impossible to know how the form shapes up compared with the British and Irish contenders.
ROSEMAN is a blooming good bet in the Hampton Court Stakes. He only made is a couple of months ago when a promising third at Newbury on easy ground.
Conditions were also on soft side when he broke his duck in an uncompetitive race at Nottingham and his pedigree also suggests he will be at his best when there’s a bit of juice knocking around.
Roger Varian’s hope is from the same family as Immortal Verse, who won the Coronation Stakes at this meeting a few years ago. She also liked soft ground so it’s easy to be confident about Roseman thriving on today’s going.
His form is also good. The form of his Sandown second behind King Of Comedy, when Sangarius was back in third, got a right boost when the winner went close in Tuesday’s St James’s Palace Stakes.
My hope got racing a long way out that day and he should also like the step up to 1m2f.
It’s no surprise Cape Of Good Hope tops the betting after a decent fourth in the French Derby. He had earlier beaten Cap Francais in Epsom’s Blue Riband Trial. Aidan O’Brien’s hope was held up in both those races so the rails’ draw might do him any favours as he could have a load of horses to pick his way through down the straight.
There’s also a chance he might prefer genuinely quick ground. His two brothers Highland Reel and Idaho both needed those conditions so it’s fairly likely he will too.
King Ottokar might be the complete opposite. He thrived on the soft ground when successful at Newbury.
The going was in his favour when only fourth behind Sir Dragonet in the Chester Vase but that run is not worth worrying about too much as he raced wider than ideal and got involved in the heat of the race too soon.
TAKE a FLEETING view of the Ribblesdale Stakes The last winners of this Group 2 for fillies had run well in the Oaks and my fancy comes here having finish third at Epsom.
She might have finished even closer if she hadn’t had to pick her way through the trouble ahead of her down the straight when making her challenge from the rear.
That’s probably the way she has to be ridden as similar tactics were employed when she landed the Doncaster’s May Hill Stakes last year.
It was, perhaps, disappointing she finished last in the 1000 Guineas but she was never likely to have enough pace for a mile. She clearly gets today’s 1m4f trip well and I would be amazed if stablemate Peach Tree didn’t make sure they go a strong pace. That will set things up nicely for Fleeting.
Queen Power has a nice profile and she’s likely to develop into a smart filly. It wasn’t hard to spot the promise in her comeback run when narrowly failing to peg back frontrunning Muchly off a steady gallop over a mile in May. She again came from off the pace when successful at Newbury.
The form of that race, when Star Catcher finished third, is nothing special but it’s probably not wise to get too wrapped up in the nuts and bolts of it. What matters is her potential that is huge.
Frankellina has a bit of ground to make up on Fleeting having finished sixth in the Oaks. There didn’t seem to be any excuses and that might just be as good as she is.
She had warmed up for the fillies’ Classic by finishing a neck second behind Nausha in the Musidora at York. That race has not worked out at all well and it’s just more evidence that William Haggas’ hope might well struggle today.
John Gosden runs four fillies and I’m surprised Sparkle Roll is the longest price of the quartet. She was bitterly disappointing when a well-beaten favourite in the Musidora but that’s clearly not her form.
That race might have come a bit soon after her successful Sandown comeback and the ground was probably too quick for her as well. I’m expecting a better show today and she looks the best bet of the outsiders.
WHACK your wad on the Counter for the Gold Cup. Last year’s winner Stradivarius is rightly a hot favourite to double up but I’m not sure he’s come up against anything as good as Melbourne Cup winner CROSS COUNTER during his rise to the top of the stayers’ tree.
My fancy was a decent three-year-old last season. He thrashed Dee Ex Bee in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood and only failed by a head when runner-up behind Godolphin stablemate Old Persian in York’s Great Voltigeur.
There’s no doubt Charlie Appleby’s ace was favoured by the weights in Australia but it was some performance to storm home down the centre of the track to become the first British-trained Melbourne Cup winner.
That performance also showed he’s got no problem with easy ground and his Group 2 Dubai win over 2m suggests he might still be improving.
Stradivarius breezed through last season unbeaten. After landing last year’s Gold Cup he added the Goodwood Cup, Lonsdale Cup and Long Distance Cup to his haul.
I’ve no doubt last month’s York win will have put the edge on John Gosden’s star stayer but it’s not hard to argue he’s been bossing an uncompetitive division.
It’s incredible Dee Ex Bee failed to notch up a single victory last season considering he split Masar and Roaring Lion when second in the Derby.
The step up to marathon trips has been the making of him this year. After bolting up over 2m at this track in May had no trouble following up from the front at Sandown. This is another step up in grade but the easier ground should suit him.
Aidan O’Brien’s Flag Of Honour has been running over 1m2f. He stays 2m but this extra half-mile might be stretching it.
BACK Davy to rock it in the Britannia Stakes. DAVYDENKO has snuck in at the bottom of the weights and looks nicely treated in this mile dash down the Ascot straight.
He didn’t show much on his only run last season but had clearly got his act together for his first start this year.
It was a nice performance to come from off the pace to win a good Windsor novice prize and he had little trouble following up in an uncompetitive Wetherby contest a couple of weeks ago.
The slightly easier ground should be ideal and he shapes like he will enjoy the demands of this big-field contest.
I’m convinced Aweedram has a race like this in him. His Newmarket handicap win was a great starting point to the season and he bettered that effort when showing a great turn of pace to mow down well-handicapped I’m Available over today’s course and distance in May.
Haydock’s Silver Bowl did not go to plan as he was too wound up beforehand and he saw too much daylight during a rough race. If Andrea Atzeni can get him to the start without any trouble he will go well.
Beatboxer came through to win that Haydock prize and he will like it if they go off fast. That’s not always guaranteed despite the big field but there does look to be enough pace in this year’s race.
Velorum has obvious claims. It’s not hard to argue he is well weighted as he chased home Skardu – third in the 2000 Guineas – on his only run last season. The Godolphin ace is unbeaten in two starts this term and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he went on to much better things.
As always there’s a host of other horses with claims. Dark Vision, Motafaawit and Dunkirk Harbour are on that list.
IT should pay to be a sinner in the King George V Stakes. SINJAARI has rock-solid form in book having pushed Listed winner Private Secretary all the way on his first run of this season at Redcar in April.
My fancy had little trouble seeing off a decent field in a Windsor maiden later that month but it’s his latest run that really stands out.
He was only touched off short-head by Headman in the London Gold Cup at Newbury despite finding trouble when the race got serious.
That race usually throws up a stack of Group horses and that’s exactly what I think Sinjaari will develop into, especially now he goes up in trip.
Good Birthday – third in the London Gold Cup – is weighted to get closer but his breeding doesn’t give me the confidence he will improve as much as Sinjaari will for today’s extra couple of furlongs.
Aidan O’Brien’s Constantinople showed his class when winning a Curragh Group 3 last month with stablemate Antilles back in fourth but he has to give a good bit of weight away all round. His high draw might not appear any good but it’s never been a barrier to success in this contest.
Unsurprisingly Mark Johnston has a great record in this race. Sir Ron Priestley heads his trio this year and he has the right profile. He had little trouble making a winning on his handicap debut when bossing a small field at Haydock last month and surely has more to offer.
His trainer also has a chance with Summer Moon. Although he was beaten favourite when a close third behind improving Durston at Doncaster three weeks ago that was a long way from a bad run. The drop back from 1mf won’t do him any harm.
Fox Premier is interesting. His pedigree screams stamina so the step up from 1m2f should be a big help. The problem is he was keen in the early stages of last month’s Sandown win. It won’t be hard to get cover today and I expect him to go really well.
Questinare is another who will like this type of race. He’s been beaten in both his races since making a winning debut at Wolverhampton in March but those defeats came in small fields. This will suit him much better.
Almania faced an almost impossible task after fluffing the start in the Dante. He’s likely to come good in a decent prize at some point.
2.30 Sunday Sovereign
3.40 Fleeting (nb)
4.20 Cross Counter (treble)
5.35 Sinjaari (nap)
1.50 Hard Nut
2.20 Remember The Man
3.30 Shareef Star
4.45 Isaan Queen
5.20 Lord Lamington
6.35 Silent Steps
7.40 Sunset Showdown
8.40 Sizing Tara
9.10 Blue N Yellow
5.50 Daring Guest
6.25 Green Door
7.00 Time To Reason
8.00 Luna Princess
8.30 Cherokee Mist
9.00 Young Merlin
2.10 Al Aakif
2.45 Dancing Rave
3.20 Battle Of Wills
5.45 Gold Arch