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Top ten two-year-olds to watch out for at Royal Ascot
Posted in: Royal Ascot Tips
With Royal Ascot just a day away, it’s time to study up on some of those horses that are likely to be of interest in the major races, and while the likes of Battaash and Cracksman hold few secrets, there will be plenty of lightly-raced juveniles of which we haven’t heard much at all. This piece will hopefully identify some of those that could we be house hold names by the end of the week.
Aidan O’Brien Battalion
SERGEI PROKOVIEV currently heads the betting for the Coventry and it’s easy to see why. He’s a $1.1m son of very much in-vogue sire Scat Daddy and is trained by Aidan O’Brien who has already won the race eight times. He’s won 2 of this 3 starts to date, the latest of which was a listed race at Naas by 4 lengths. Other O’Brien colts to note include THE IRISH ROVER who bounced back from defeat at 1/7 to win a valuable conditions race at Newbury’s Lockinge meeting last time.
“A big powerful horse with plenty of speed” - watch potential star Sergei Prokofiev in the Listed @coolmorestud War Command Rochestown Stakes, live at 3.15pm on At The Races...
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) May 20, 2018
O’Brien also has the current favourite for the Albany in the shape of FAIRYLAND. She’s unbeaten in two starts to date, including when beating the colts at the Curragh last time, and though there should be more to come from her, she’s a shortish price considering several other fillies have achieved form of a similar or higher standard.
John Gosden has unleashed a pair of once-raced juveniles, which get big thumbs up from both the visuals boys and the sectionalistas, and while they’ve only a solitary novice win each to their name at present, they look sure to be able to hold their own in group races when the time comes. LEGENDS OF WAR is another Scat Daddy that was an impressive 4-length winner at Yarmouth on his debut, and looks capable of paying back a big chunk of the 900,000 gns he cost when top lot at the Craven Breeze Ups sale.
It remains to be seen whether CALYX turns up at Royal Ascot, but he’ll be top of any shortlist if he does, following his breathtaking debut win last weekend. He pulled 6 lengths clear of a recent winner, and though his overall time was nothing out of the ordinary, his closing sectional was that of a very good horse indeed and he’s as exciting a prospect as there is around at present.
The Hopes from the North
With juvenile winners in recent seasons from stables including Mark Johnston, John Quinn and Kevin Ryan, the north aren’t to be underestimated and they are likely to be down in force again. Highest rated at present is COSMIC LAW, who has already ventured south with success when running out a wide-margin winner of the Woodcote, and he’ll bid to emulate Buratino who followed up that success in the Coventry in 2015.
Tim Easterby’s VINTAGE BRUT has also picked up a valuable prize on his travels this season, following up his wide-margin debut win at Thirsk with a listed success in the National Stakes at Sandown, where he just got the better of a three-way photo against fellow northern raider SABRE and Clive Cox’s KONCHEK.
The Foreign Raiders
Royal Ascot just wouldn’t be the same without an influx of Wesley Ward juveniles whose physiques are surpassed only by their reputation. It’s worth noting that his record is much better at 5f than over further, with all six of his juveniles to win coming at the minimum trip. The market in recent days suggest that CHELSEA CLOISTERS could be his number one and she was an 8 length winner on dirt on her only official race to date.
Visually there was lots to like about SHANG SHANG SHANG’s win, which also came on dirt at the expense of stablemate MOONLIGHT ROMANCE, but she herself looks a fascinating contender on the back of her switch to turf which saw her much improved and an easy winner at Belmont.
The clock picks
‘A time won’t tell you how fast a horse is, but it will tell you how slow it isn’t’. The statement from Phil Bull carries more weight than Luca Cumani’s ‘time matters only when in jail’ and while things could look different following Royal Ascot, the least slow 2-y-o filly we’ve seen so far is Mark Johnston’s NATALIE’S JOY. She was a 6-length winner at Goodwood on her debut in an excellent time, just missing out on Bachir’s 2-y-o course record despite it being just her debut. She’s Albany class, but is also eligible for the Chesham, being by French Derby winner Lope De Vega. The yard also have MAIN EDITION who has posted good times on both her starts looks an obvious Albany contender. She’s a half-sister to 2006 Coventry runner-up Major Cadeaux.
The Good Form Brigade
Ascot holds a 2-y-o fillies race that usually proves strong form – Group winners Besharah and Rizeena have won recent runnings of it, and this year’s race looks sure to have a bearing at the Royal meeting given how well it is working out. QUEEN OF BERMUDA and COME ON LEICESTER were placed there and have improved their form since, but the pick from the race could still be the winner, SHADES OF BLUE who will aim to give Clive Cox and Adam Kirby back-toback Queen Marys.
The Could Be Anything
EMARAATY ANA was an unconsidered 12/1 shot the only time we saw him, but he put up a useful effort to win a Windsor novice quite readily against Blown By Wind. That horse won next time and has since run well in listed company and the next appearance of Kevin Ryan’s colt is eagerly anticipated.
Henry Candy debut winners are almost as rare as hen’s teeth, but it’s usually significant when he has one. In the past five years, he’s had just five first-time out juvenile winners which have included subsequent Group 1 sprinters Limato and Twilight Son. It looks interesting therefore that he’s set to run KURIOUS less than a fortnight after she made a winning debut at Sandown. She’s certainly bred to be fast, her siblings including Abbaye winner Tangerine Trees.
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