Is The King George Regaining Its Throne?

As someone new to racing in the last decade, it was interesting reading Tom Segal’s verdict on this weekend’s King George. There has been no flat race in the world that has competed with the annual quality of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in recent years, but Segal claimed that the King George was the original flat calendar showpiece.

Falling in the height of summer within the golden climes of Ascot, it is unusual that the race has lost ground on the French spectacular, whose weather conditions are much more variable falling in mid-Autumn. However, Longchamp has managed to appeal to a global audience and with such little time left in the season once the field crosses the line in the Arc, the winner’s connections can claim almost infallibly that their horse is the champion of the year.

To keep up, the King George has to engage with the same global audience as well as providing a stellar field from which you could reasonably claim the winning horse is the best on the planet. The 2019 renewal has both and looks set to be the pinnacle of the season.

While a fair few of these will likely contest the Arc too, and a couple of sleepers may also lie in wait for Longchamp, the principles at Ascot would make up the head of the market in almost any middle-distance, all-age race.

Obviously, Enable is the headline actress and so she should be. An exceptional winning machine, she has previous in both of these Group Ones, but it was in the King George that she first underlined her superstar credentials. Powering away by four lengths in the rain from an above average field as she did was an eye-opener to her true talent. She is one of few horses who have brought Ascot and Longchamp together recently: the first since Danedream to win both and the first to capture both in the same season since Dylan Thomas ten years before her.

Of course, both Workforce and Found were defeated in the King George before winning the French showpiece later in the year, but whether either were primed for the former as they were for the latter is debatable. Simply, the Arc meant more to their CV’s in their respective seasons. There is none of that this year.

Enable must preserve her unbelievable unbeaten run to remain in the Frankel/Sea The Stars tier of legends. Ridiculous as it is, to challenge among the upper echelons, she must keep winning, undisputed champion though she is.

It is likely that she will, but aside from last year’s Arc, when she was probably only 80% fit, and her foray to America, this is easily her sternest test to date.

Unlike at Kempton last September, she meets a fully fit Crystal Ocean, whose camp will be buoyed by their charge finally claiming his first Group One when he took the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. That victory over Magical, subsequently beaten by Enable in the Eclipse, ensured Sir Michael Stoute’s five-year-old is now the highest rated horse in the world. His consistency at the top level will mean he will test the other principles, but though Poet’s Word broke somewhat of a duck last year, five-year-olds have a poor record in this, something he and Enable must overcome.

Along with Taghrooda, Enable followed up an Oaks triumph by winning the King George, but Derby winners not only haven’t won this in the same season since Galileo, but haven’t run full stop since Workforce. As such, the presence of Epsom hero Anthony van Dyck adds extra seasoning to the already tasty dish.

His spark was dampened with a humbling defeat in the Irish Derby, but that race will remain a mystery for some years to come. Given conditions, he potentially performed perfectly admirably, but he has the Classic generation’s hopes resting on his shoulders. If he finishes down the field, his reputation will be in tatters given his receipt of 11lb and more from the principles.

Both Waldgeist and Cheval Grand have the dreams of their respective nations to burden, though are both are more than capable at the highest level, while Defoe’s recent victory in the Coronation Cup earned him an invitation to the Group One winners party. To maintain his new, uppish standing, he will have to continue to perform with credit and this is far tougher than his Epsom triumph.

Each of Salouen and Morando have won comfortably in Group company this season while Aidan O’Brien’s ability to find improvement out of nowhere has seen both two horses with Sovereign in the title earn healthy prizes for their connections. All of Magic Wand, Hunting Horn and Norway have furlongs to find, but there are few Group Ones run without multiple O’Brien inmates these days.

I recommend not having a bet. This is a race regaining its former stature and any money placed will detract from the splendour of likely battle. Sit back and enjoy a proper Group One in all its glory and embrace the winner knowing you haven’t lost a penny. For that winner, Arc or no Arc, will likely be the season’s ultimate champion.

Royal Ascot Day 5: Shining in the City Lights

There was no greater advertisement for the unpredictability of racing than Watch Me’s success in the feature Coronation Stakes on the penultimate day at Royal Ascot. This meeting has certainly proved to me how foolish it can be to call winners across the board, but there’s only one day left, so I’ll chance my arm once more. Every race on the final day is previewed below.

Chesham:

Immaculately bred and, having fetched a King’s ransom at the sales, Lope Y Fernandez could not have made a better start to his career than when hacking up by three lengths on debut. Few of his charges win on debut and confidence is high in this son of Lope De Vega, but he may just meet a juvenile beast in PINATUBO. The Godolphin runner is monstrous for a two-year-old and the way he fought back to win the Woodcote at Epsom from well off the pace, on a course that evidently did not suit, suggested big things await and this seven furlong trip should bring out even more from him. Heaven Forfend is another who owes a lot to his heritage, but his maiden conqueror was down the field in the Coventry with Year Of The Tiger boasting a similar profile over from Ireland. Rose Of Kildare has already raced five times so is probably too exposed while there must be a lot of stable confidence about Montanari to run him here on his debut and the market may end up reflecting that. Highland Chief showed more speed than would be expected of one of his size and that might hint that he has a fair bit of ability as well.

  1. Pinatubo
  2. Lope Y Fernandez
  3. Highland Chief

 

Jersey:

Here’s hoping Godolphin get off to a flyer as SPACE BLUES looks the most solid in this three-year-old contest. He took a while to improve into his reputation, but his Listed win at Epsom over Urban Icon gives him stronger claims than most here as his best is likely to come. Urban Icon only has a neck to make up from Epsom, but he’d have to show something new, as would So Perfect under a 3lb penalty for her latest triumph. Happy Power beat older horses last weekend and is preferred to the same connections’ Bye Bye Hong Kong who needs to get out the stalls quicker than he did at Epsom as a front-runner. Momkin ran a solid enough race in the Guineas and should improve back to seven furlongs having been second in the Craven while Duke Of Hazzard boasts an outside chance if he can recapture the form that saw him finish fifth in the French Guineas.

  1. Space Blues
  2. Happy Power
  3. Momkin

 

Hardwicke:

 

The question will be asked until the off as to whether last year’s Derby winner Masar is fit enough to win a competitive race after 385 days on the sidelines. The suspicion is that, though he won the Craven very easily to begin last season, that this will prove slightly beyond him as many runners will thrive upon a stern test of stamina which Ascot’s stiff 1m4f track will deliver. Defoe finally got the job done in the Coronation Cup, but that seemed to be a bolt from the blue and Lah Ti Dar was soundly beaten that day. She had SOUTHERN FRANCE behind in third in the St Leger, but he went down by under a length to the sensational Stradivarius last time. His re-appearance and non-staying effort in the Cesarewitch can be discounted and this would be within his reach if coping with dropping back in trip: he has shown enough ability to suggest that may well be the case. Mirage Dancer is a big danger as Sir Michael Stoute’s record in this race is outstanding though his horse usually falls short up to this level. Salouen is the only other with a realistic chance if getting his own way up front.

  1. Southern France
  2. Mirage Dancer
  3. Defoe

 

Diamond Jubliee:

Blue Point’s appearance in the final Group One of the meeting is of enormous interest. He has already taken the King’s Stand this week and is a Group One winner in Dubai over this extended six furlongs. However, his form at this trip in the UK would leave him vulnerable given his exertions and, particularly at the prices, he’s worth opposing. Invincible Army has looked just that in two starts this season, but the race definitely fell his way at York most recently and that brings Yafta into equations at a working man’s price as his two starts this term have seen everything go against him. The Tin Man won this two years back, but suspicions creep in that his best days have been and gone while Bound For Nowhere is now one of Wes Ward’s last hopes of recording a victory at this year’s meeting. Le Brivido is another who runs for the second time this week, but it is last year’s second CITY LIGHT (nap) who appeals as the likely hero. He missed the break last year and still went down by the narrowest of margins and he warmed up with a highly encouraging second to the top-class Inns Of Court in his native France. If he reproduces last year’s effort, he’ll almost certainly be right in the equation. Of the rest, the in form Dream Of Dreams, Kachy and Keystroke are other runners who could make this a fine contest.

  1. City Light
  2. Invincible Army
  3. Yafta

 

Wokingham:

One of the best handicaps of the season. Bacchus managed to win this on his re-appearance last season, so that cannot be considered a negative for chances again in 2019 off just 3lb higher. Cape Byron won here over seven furlongs in May and could be suited by a strongly run six, while Spring Loaded and Foxtrot Lady have big-field form in the locker that could serve them well from extreme draws. Soldier’s Minute ran right away with a handicap at York in the Spring, but that was not reflective of his previous efforts. Perfection is a Listed winner over the trip while it would now take a leap of faith to support Gifted Master after he disappointed last time, though he is now on a very appealing mark. For his first big handicap, however, it appears that HEY JONESY should be well treated to go close. He was only two lengths behind Eqtidaar in last year’s Group One Commonwealth Cup here and is admirably consistent at a strong level. Watchable has bounced right back to form recently and if the nine-year-old continues to retain some of his old verve, then he will be positioned to challenge while Fighting Irish was also close up in the aforementioned Commonwealth Cup, but has lost his way since.

  1. Hey Jonesy
  2. Watchable
  3. Bacchus

 

Queen Alexandra:

The longest race in the flat calendar, so it is no surprise to see the likes of Max Dynamite, Younevercall and Black Corton running in this code. The first named has actually raced most recently on the flat and is the highest rated of these having been second in the Doncaster Cup last year, though the latter two have only ever run in the National Hunt sphere, so it is very tough to gauge if they’ll enjoy this. Cleonte should shoe up better than when only sixth in the Chester Cup as he’d previously been third in the Cesarewitch. Corelli is well worth a step up in trip for Gosden and Dettori, but last year’s winner PALLASATOR may be slightly overlooked. His last two runs have seen him well beaten, but over nearly a mile shorter and he’d need at least this trip to be seen at his best on the level. He is now ten, but enjoys his trips here and Oisin Murphy gets the leg up for Gordon Elliott. The rest look up against it.

  1. Pallasator
  2. Corelli
  3. Cleonte

Royal Ascot Day 4: Time to follow Aidan off a cliff

Paddy Power reported that they were in danger of their biggest ever daily pay out as Turgenev and Frankie Dettori appeared to be surging clear in the Britannia Stakes yesterday. They were saved, just, by Harry Bentley in a driving finish, but Thursday 20th June will go down as one of Frankie’s most glorious days in the spotlight. Today, however, should be much more about the biggest name in training and with his three-year-olds shining so far, Aidan O’Brien will be hoping for a profitable Friday. Tips for all six races below.

Albany:

Frankie begins the day for the same trainer as yesterday, with Simon Crisford’s Last Surprise, unsurprisingly, backed down into second favouritism off the back of his rider’s glorious Gold Cup day crusade. There is no doubting the potential is there after she won with plenty in the tank at Lingfield, but Godolphin’s SILENT WAVE was arguably as impressive when overcoming greenness to win at Goodwood. That form alone is not enough, but she tried every trick in the book to lose and still came nicely clear, so any amount of improvement is plausible. Roger Varian has had a tremendous season and Daahyeh beat Queen Mary winner, Raffle Prize on debut though she’ll still have to have trained on again. Galadriel was sent straight into Listed company and performed with significant credit in spite of missing the break, while Nayibeth ran a much quicker time under the same conditions as stablemate Chilli Petin at Keeneland. Exclusively only lost by a neck to a Listed winner last time out and was conceding 4lb, so she is seen as the best each-way ploy.

  1. Silent Wave
  2. Galadriel
  3. Exclusively

 

King Edward VII:

Only three who ran in the Epsom Derby try again here and by far the best hand is held by JAPAN (nap). He powered home into third despite Wayne Lordan dropping his whip in the closing stages and he only lost second on the nod. He may yet prove the pick of his generation in middle distance races and this is a great opportunity to pick up a first Group race prize of the season. Private Secretary is definitely trending in the right direction and there’s no limits to what Gosden and Dettori can do at the moment. Bangkok and Humanitarian were both well held at Epsom and Pondus is only just stepping out of novice company for all his limitations are not yet exposed. Pablo Escobarr may prove the biggest danger as he was runner-up to Anthony Van Dyck in the Lingfield Derby trial and should be fine upped in trip.

  1. Japan
  2. Pablo Escobarr
  3. Private Secretary

 

Commonwealth Cup:

This revolves around three horses dropping back to what should prove an ideal trip. It is too difficult to vote against TEN SOVEREIGNS who still performed respectably enough despite not staying in the 2000 Guineas and was only robbed of a place in the final strides. He has won all three races over this trip to date and should be seen to best effect even in the absence of a traditional O’Brien pacemaker. Jash was only beaten half a length by the selection in the Middle Park and clung on to record a Listed success over seven furlongs on his seasonal return. He may not have truly stayed, but he’d still need to improve markedly on that anyway. Advertise is the other returning to shorter distances as he was well beaten in the Guineas, the first time he’s finished outside the top two. However, the problems seem to extend beyond non-staying as Martyn Meade resorts to blinkering his charge today. Hello Youmzain’s defeat of Calyx at Haydock could prove impressive, but the bare form against the other two he beat that day is not good enough while, of the rest, Khaadem remains unexposed and is chasing a four-timer and Forever In Dreams is moving in the right direction and was bought for over £400,000 at the beginning of the week.

  1. Ten Sovereigns
  2. Jash
  3. Khaadem

 

Coronation:

Jubiloso and Castle Lady are fillies of the grandest potential, but as a three-year-old, no horse has been able to touch HERMOSA. A dual Guineas heroine after a gutsy success at Newmarket before a divine display at the Curragh, it would be a surprise if she did not dominate again in the face of new opposition. Jubiloso’s pedigree and double of facile successes ensure she comes here with some reputation while Castle Lady will enjoy any cut that remains having won the French Guineas on heavy. She remains unbeaten while Pretty Pollyanna was initially the star juvenile of her sex. She is now race fit and could close the gap on Hermosa from the Curragh where she was runner-up. Watch Me wasn’t beaten too far behind Castle Lady in their mutual Classic and she is an intriguing entry and Main Edition’s German Guineas success may be being underrated by the bookies.

  1. Hermosa
  2. Castle Lady
  3. Jubiloso

 

Sandringham:

This truly is anyone’s to win. At the top of the weights are the classy pair of Magnetic Charm and Coral Beach. It will take a mammoth performance for the former to concede 5lb and more all round and 105 is a sky-high mark for a Listed winner of only a neck. The latter does not inspire confidence in terms of her recent form (a pair of Group One 8ths) though this could prove markedly easier. The trio of Hotsy Totsy, Invitational and Nonchalance arrive seeking hat-tricks for the season and the form of each has positives. Maamora finally broke her duck last time out and that experience may benefit her while both Kimblewick and Garrel Glen appeal at big odds returning to a level in which they can acquit themselves more thoroughly. That said, the two to appeal most won on their returns to action. Those are Desirous and LADY MADISON, with slight preference for the latter at the prices. She is slightly less exposed and her four length victory has since been franked.

  1. Lady Madison
  2. Desirous
  3. Nonchalance

 

Duke Of Edinburgh:

Baghdad and Corgi were one and two in the three-year-old equivalent last year and though the latter is now in a better position at the weights, his conversion rate in terms of wins is poor for a horse of his quality and Mark Johnston’s charge, with the benefit of Ryan Moore in the saddle, should confirm the form given his impressive displays so far this season. However, both have continued to rise higher in the weights while both Fujaira Prince and JOHNNY DRAMA are far less exposed and run from towards the bottom of the handicap. Roger Varian’s horse was denied narrowly by First Eleven at York, but a 4lb rise for finishing runner-up could prove challenging to surmount. Johnny Drama, meanwhile, must overcome a rise of nearly a stone, though he’s clearly on a steep upward curve, winning by a long way over a mile-and-a-quarter latest. The step back up in trip should favour him even more and a chance is taken that he could prove fairly useful. Top Tug’s best days are probably past him while Aquarium’s habit of popping up when you least expect him is unlikely to be seen today. Sevenna Star and Kasparenko offer value at their prices.

  1. Johnny Drama
  2. Baghdad
  3. Corgi

Royal Ascot Day 3: Dee Ex Bee can force Stradivarius out of tune

Ascot may not have shone in any actual sunshine, but with Lord Glitters and Crystal Ocean taking home two of the principle races to date, there’s certainly been a lot of sparkle on the racecourse. Day 3 promises more of the same, with the premier prize being the prestigious Gold Cup for the champion stayers. Tips for all six races below:

Norfolk:

Though he’s a short enough price for a Group level two-year-old contest, SUNDAY SOVEREIGN’s form is so spectacular for this stage in his career that there’s no escaping his obvious prospects. Coventry winner Arizona was left comfortably in his wake two starts back an he looks King Power’s best hope of the week having won on soft by seven lengths last time out. He should have Air Force Jet in his rear view window on collateral form while King Neptune has failed to build on the promise of his debut victory. As such, Mount Fuji is treated with a little hesitation for the same yard, though Godolphin’s juveniles have run creditably enough so far this week and so Expressionist is not discounted. A’Ali is a maiden but went very close having pulled well clear of the rest on debut, though the best two each way punts look to be Wesley Ward’s Maven, who is reportedly in rude health and Mark Johnston’s Misty Grey who was blisteringly quick over the first few furlongs at Epsom recently and so the drop in trip looks sure to suit.

  1. Sunday Sovereign
  2. Misty Grey
  3. Maven

 

Hampton Court:

Aside from maybe one or two outsiders, no horses can be discounted in this. Fox Chairman met trouble in running when third in the Dee Stakes at Chester and that form was given a major boost with Circus Maximus’ win in the St James’ Palace. That said improvement is still required and a line through the runner-up gives him a lot to find with Cape Of Good Hope although there are question marks over the soft ground for the O’Brien runner. King Ottokar failed to stay when upped in trip, but he was impressive under similar conditions at Newbury, but there is a chance that GREAT SCOT will relish the extra quarter-mile to his furthest trip to date. He stayed on powerfully when looking beaten in the German Guineas and snatched third late. That hints that more is to come stamina wise and he has form with significant cut in the ground. Sangarius looked a very promising two-year-old and there are reasons to believe he’ll stay while Eightsome Reel is unexposed enough to suggest 33/1 is too big a price.

  1. Great Scot
  2. Fox Chairman
  3. Cape Of Good Hope

 

Ribblesdale:

Ready preference is for FLEETING (nap) who romped home to be placed in the Oaks when ridden as if she wouldn’t necessarily stay or be good enough. She answered both those questions by finishing off best of any filly in the field and a slightly more aggressive ride should showcase her abilities to best effect as she may yet prove to be the pick of her generation at this trip. Frankellina was my selection in the Oaks and though she’s a likely improver, three lengths looks too much to find with Fleeting, especially as she looked a dubious stayer at Epsom. It is interesting that she looks set to be her connections’ second string with Star Catcher the choice for Anthony Oppenheimer’s red cap with Frankie Dettori in the saddle. However, Queen Power looks to hold her on that form with Sir Michael Stoute in great form and the promise of more to come. Sparkle Roll was hugely disappointing in the Musidora, but that may not have been her true form while Irish raiders Altair and Fresnel could relish this new trip.

  1. Fleeting
  2. Queen Power
  3. Frankellina

 

Gold Cup:

Champion stayer and millionaire Stradivarius is obviously as fearsome an opponent as they come, but I’ll gamble on last year’s Derby runner-up DEE EX BEE relishing every yard of this newfound trip. His form briefly went to pieces after running a blinder at Epsom, but he’s turned it around with two strong galloping wins over two miles to begin this season. His rangy style ensures he can gallop his rivals into submission and I envisage a Big Orange/Order Of St George type of scenario with Johnston’s charge grinding out the win. Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter is another danger having taken his form to another level in Dubai, though he is much less certain of seeing out the trip. Capri has folded tamely so far this season and so stablemate Flag Of Honour looks the O’Brien number one. He win last year’s Irish St Leger and has recently been running over inadequately short trips while Magic Circle looks the best each-way option as he’s a likely stayer with a Chester Cup to his name.

  1. Dee Ex Bee
  2. Stradivarius
  3. Flag Of Honour

 

Britannia:

Thirty runners with varying levels of experience ensure this is the hardest code to break this week. Migration sneaks into this at the bottom of the weights with the absence of two in the original line-up. He has been progressing quicker than most this year with cut suitable enough and the same can be said of Motafaawit, who is already a duel course hero. Dunkirk Harbour lurks dangerously on his mark if his recent effort in a Group Three is anything to go by while the 8 in Awe’s recent form can be discounted due to meeting a nightmare passage. Velorum looks the pick for Godolphin as he’s impressed with two wins so far this term while Hero Hero looked smart at Chester. However, two at enormous prices stand out with Finoah having convinced enough that another furlong is within his range last time and a 6lb rise not looking overly harsh. Even higher in the market is HOT TEAM. His Listed win in France came on heavy ground and he won by 4 lengths that day. His two starts this term have been underwhelming, but he’s down 5lb for his first handicap start this season and there’s a chance he’ll relish conditions and run a mighty race.

  1. Hot Team
  2. Finoah
  3. Dunkirk Harbour

 

King George V:

Constantinople may well be very smart, but his rating of 105 leaves him vulnerable here in conceding 5lb and more all round for all that he is a Group Three winner. Stablemate Antilles was five lengths behind latest, but now receives that amount in weight. Sinjaari is raised a cruel 8lb for a runner-up finish at Newbury though he could surpass that in improvement for this trip. Almania needs to leave his Dante form behind, but the fact that he was considered good enough for that race speaks volumes, though the up and coming GREAT EXAMPLE was eased down to win in fine style in a novice race at Ripon and he carries a relative featherweight here. He is well bred and easily worth a shot at this if ready. Fox Premier and Sir Ron Priestley are the others of note.

  1. Great Example
  2. Constantinople
  3. Almania

Royal Ascot Days 1 & 2: A Darn Hot and Magical duo

It’s a racing festival like no other and though some superstars remain on the sidelines, Royal Ascot will attract world class fields. Wesley Ward’s American brigade will prove as popular as ever in the juvenile events, while in Barney Roy and Masar, Godolphin will hope to see a duo of revitalised champions proving themselves once again on the biggest stage. Below are my tips for the opening two days.

Day 1:

Queen Anne:

The ground is officially good as it stands, but with rain having fallen all week and with more expected, conditions are likelier to be slippery. Mustashry won his Lockinge on lively ground in impressive fashion, but both Le Brivido and Accidental Agent shaped impressively in behind and will prove dangers as they’ve both won at the Royal meeting before. Barney Roy has not yet looked the same horse as before his brief retirement, but did well to win in Listed company last time and this is still a weak division. Laurens’ last run at Ascot (soft) is a concern for all she’s tough and should come on from Newbury, but a chance is taken on HAZAPOUR. He is two from two over the mile trip having run in last year’s Derby. This now looks to be his optimum distance and he has operated to his best with cut in the ground. He won routinely in a Leopardstown Group Three latest and is well worth a second glance in this open contest. Both Lord Glitters and Beat The Bank are too often found out at this level, though Olmedo put in a performance much closer to his best again last time out and is dangerous. At big prices, expect solid runs and each way chances for Matterhorn and Stormy Antarctic.

  1. Hazapour
  2. Accidental Agent
  3. Mustashry

 

Coventry:

It is always tempting to follow the big stables off a cliff in mid-season two-year-old races and there is no doubt that Arizona’s maiden win at the second attempt was mightily impressive. He and Threat are evidently top prospects, but having faced soggy conditions on his second start at Hamilton, MAKYON looks an enormous price to follow up for Mark Johnston and Sylvester De Sousa. He bumped into subsequent winner War Storm on debut, but appreciated conditions when readily scoring next time. At that rate of improvement he may be going places even though that was a weaker event. Light Angel represents last year’s winning connections and enjoyed every yard of his first experience of six furlongs at Newbury, while Guildsman, Royal Lytham and Monoski are others to boast facile victories that put them in the mix.

  1. Makyon
  2. Light Angel
  3. Arizona

 

Kings Stand:

Last year’s top two do battle again, with preference for BLUE POINT (nap) over Battaash. The latter, perhaps, has the better pedigree on the potential ground, but has a tendency to become hot-headed on the big occasions. If he settles he is the most electric, but the selection has been cleaning up in Dubai over the winter. He prepared for this race in similar fashion last season when he took this race and he has the ability to apply himself better in a driving finish than his big rival. Mabs Cross lost a shoe when defeated by Battaash at Haydock and is a Group One winner in her own right while all four three-year-olds, Sergei Prokofiev, Soldiers Call, Fairyland and Signora Cabello, have the scope to be dangerous with their respective weight allowances.

  1. Blue Point
  2. Battaash
  3. Mabs Cross

 

St James’s Palace:

Things may finally fall into the hands of TOO DARN HOT here. His season to date has seen him outstayed in the Dante before being readily disposed of by the re-opposing Phoenix Of Spain in the Irish Guineas. However, there were just nine days in between those two outings and the combination of the short space of time and the requirement of an injection ensured John Gosden’s charge may not quite have been right. He’d beaten Charles Hills’ grey easily as a juvenile and much more looks to be in his favour. King Of Comedy looked very smart on his latest outing, but faces a reality check at this level while Skardu looks unlikely to improve past the principles despite solid performances in both Guineas races. Circus Maximus is interesting back in trip having been outstayed in the Derby and any rain would do him the world of good.

  1. Too Darn Hot
  2. Phoenix Of Spain
  3. Circus Maximus

 

Ascot Stakes:

Many recognisable names from the National Hunt business change codes to contest this marathon handicap. Both Buildmeupbuttercup and Mengli Khan are priced based on their hurdling and chasing exploits, but neither is particularly well treated based on what they’ve achieved on the level. Gordon Elliott has appointed Frankie Dettori for the ride on Batts Rock, though he was underwhelming on his latest flat start at Leopardstown while Fun Mac ran a big race for a long way in the Chester Cup and this might be easier. Nevertheless, one who is flying under the radar here is ULSTER. Archie Watson is better known for his work with two-year-ld sprinters, but his charge was second to Pattern performer Austrian School on his turf debut and though he has finished second on all three of his handicap starts, he has been dropped 1lb for his latest run which looks kind. If he copes with the extra half mile here, he might prove niftily treated. Time To Study ran much better than the bare form of eighth at Chester while Arctic Fire can never be ruled out wherever he turns up.

  1. Ulster
  2. Fun Mac
  3. Time To Study

 

Wolferton:

The concluding race of day one often attracts those who have a point to prove at the highest level. Elarqam had, until his latest start, proved disappointing at the top tables, though there was no denying he looked good in defeating Willie John. Magic Wand ran a grand race when third in the Man O War over in the States while Addeybb stayed on menacingly in the Huxley Stakes without ever threatening there. Riven Light is intriguing for Willie Mullins as he builds towards rejuvenating a hurdling career, but LATROBE appears criminally underrated on his achievements to date. He’d probably prefer further, but there is no shame in his defeats by the excellent filly Magical and he’s been a neck second at Group One level at this trip in Australia. Mountain Angel emerges from handicap company to appear here, but he was cosily home and dry at Epsom and looks ready to challenge.

  1. Latrobe
  2. Magic Wand
  3. Mountain Angel

 

Day 2:

 

Queen Mary:

Virtually impossible to find the winner in this with a maximum field of 28 in attendance. It may pay to keep it simple in which case Tango, who lines up as the O’Brien first string with Ryan Moore onboard, could be the answer. She was 1/6 when winning her second start which tells you a fair bit about the opposition, but she was impressive nonetheless and should now improve for her experiences. The head of the market is made up of Godolphin filly Final Song and the Wesley Ward trained Kimari. Both have pedigrees and connections designed to win this, although neither were originally the first string of their respective operations. Good Vibes was strong at the finish when winning the Marygate at York and that big-field contest will have done her the world of good with that contest also having provided three winners of this race. However, at a big price, LIBERTY BEACH represents last year’s winning trainer in John Quinn and is 2/2 so far while Flaming Princess and Al Raya contested what looked to be a good maiden at Nottingham.

  1. Liberty Beach
  2. Good Vibes
  3. Tango

 

Queen’s Vase:

Tactics and a late squeeze for room ensured NORWAY could finish only eighth in the Derby. However, he still has the best form on offer of those in attendance here and previous evidence suggests a step up in trip is right up his alley and Ryan Moore favours him over stablemate Western Australia. Son Donnacha rides the latter named for Aidan O’Brien and his Listed win over 1m5f was very encouraging and he had enough class to run Magna Grecia to a length in the Futurity Stakes last autumn. Nate The Great was third to Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck in the Lingfield Derby Trial and gives Hollie Doyle the chance of a big race victory while both Jalmoud and Moonlight Spirit have been brought along steadily by Charlie Appleby while Eminent Authority ran on very strongly near the finish over 1m4f last time out and is an imposing presence.

  1. Norway
  2. Western Australia
  3. Eminent Authority

 

Prince of Wales’:

This should be between the two superstar fillies MAGICAL and Sea Of Class. Narrow preference is for the first named, who has a race fitness edge and has been on a roll, sweeping up poor quality Group Ones in Ireland. That said she also pushed Enable to within a length in America and although Sea Of Class got even closer in the Arc, she will need to be stunningly impressive to win this first time out against the O’Brien filly at her optimum trip. Crystal Ocean is better over further and is ultimately better over further while Waldgeist re-discovered his best form in France recently and will provide a strong challenge if he can produce that level again. Zabeel Prince won a French Group One, but this is certainly more difficult for all he’s a better horse this year.

  1. Magical
  2. Waldgeist
  3. Sea Of Class

 

Duke of Cambridge:

Both Rawdaa and Pretty Baby are improving fillies, but the form of each of their recent runs lacks either depth or class and both would need to show something new to win here. The more established fillies include Veracious, Anna Nerium and I CAN FLY (nap). Sir Michael Stoute’s filly should never be as skinny as 6/1, while Anna Nerium’s one run at Ascot is a slight concern and so another O’Brien runner gets the nod. I Can Fly’s second to Roaring Lion at the track on soft ground in the autumn is highly encouraging and having finished sixth in the Lockinge, she should go very close here with a recent second in an equivalent contest reading well enough. Threading ran well in the Coronation Stakes here last season, but this is her seasonal re-appearance while Nyaleti should run far better than at Epsom where her temperament got the better of her.

  1. I Can Fly
  2. Anna Nerium
  3. Pretty Baby

 

Hunt Cup:

The big betting heat of the week and a gamble in the build up sets this up for a headline. New Graduate has the benefit of public support and Frankie in the saddle, but has to contend with a rise of over a stone in the weights and that should prove too costly. Chief Ironside’s recent form at Listed level makes him very dangerous, but he will need the rain to stay away as much as possible while both Robin Of Navan and Key Victory have recorded wins at higher levels than this in the past. Kynren can be followed off a cliff yet again after just falling short in the Victoria Cup, though just behind him that day was RAISING SAND who is given another chance. He was fourth when flying home against the stands rails that day and so the extra furlong can see him challenge once more. The danger to him could be yet another extreme draw from stall 32. Settle For Bay and Afaak were the first two home last year and neither is unfairly treated although both have recent form issues to overcome. Cardsharp might be undone by top weight but he’s a class act on his day and defied a significant burden latest while Zhui Feng won this two years ago off 4lb lower and made a promising seasonal re-appearance. A win for the Queen’s Seniority would likely be the most popular of the week.

  1. Raising Sand
  2. Zhui Feng
  3. Chief Ironside
  4. Robin Of Navan

 

Windsor Castle:

Much like the opener, this is nigh on impossible to predict and only one trainer has won this on multiple occasions in the last decade. That man is American Ascot specialist Wesley Ward and his FOOLISH HUMOUR looks to be the stable pick over Karak. Temple Of Heaven has already struck up back-to-back triumphs for Richard Hannon while last year’s winning trainer Archie Watson arriving here mob-handed with Better The Devil and Illusionist looking the pick of his quartet. Show Me Show Me took the Brocklesby and could be an enormous price on that with excuses for her second defeat and Monoski’s form worth a look in the Coventry. Iffraaz, Rayong and Bill Neigh are all attractive as once raced debut winners as well.

  1. Foolish Humour
  2. Temple Of Heaven
  3. Show Me Show Me

Derby Preview: Who can tame Sir Dragonet?

While I’m an advocate for imposing a limit to how many horses a trainer can run in a Classic, it is still admirable that Aidan O’Brien is able to field seven of the 13 strong field for Britain’s greatest flat race.

His dreams of possessing a triple crown winner in Saxon Warrior were dashed by the mighty Godolphin operation last year and though his Guineas hero, Magna Grecia, stays away, he still fields favourite and potential superstar Sir Dragonet. But the equine with the noble nomenclature will need to display firepower similar to that which he showed at Chester to repel his rivals.

As with every Classic, here are my thoughts on the runners and riders.

  1. Anthony Van Dyck: If you’re simply scrolling through to find out who wins tomorrow’s Epsom Derby, stop here. You need read no further. Anthony Van Dyck’s human namesake was a Flemish artist from the 17th Century and I’m expecting a dazzling performance from Seamie Heffernan’s mount. Along with Madhmoon, he was the best of these at two, finishing placed in two Group Ones over seven furlongs, In hindsight, those form lines are distinctly promising regards him possessing a turn of foot and he ground out the job in honest fashion to win the Lingfield Derby trial earlier in May. The Lingfield form was given a boost when Oaks trial winner Anapurna took the Oaks and the soft ground that day arguably played against him. Back on a sounder surface, he may be even better and his classy performances to date, as well as a bulldozing pedigree, give him a brilliant chance of regaining the Derby trophy for Aidan O’Brien. 5/5
  2. Bangkok: It is one of racing, and indeed sport’s greatest tragedies that Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed in a helicopter accident last October. His budding racing operation runs its first Derby entry with Bangkok and there are reasons to suggest an emotional triumph could be on the cards. He is unbeaten so far at three, beating Dante winner Telecaster in a maiden at the start of this term, before he won Sandown’s Classic Trial in authoritative fashion. Conditions would appear to suit, though a mile-and-a-half may ultimately play to others’ strengths before him. Furthermore, its likely Telecaster has now developed beyond him and so, while a respectable performance is likely, he has enough to find with some of the principles. 3/5
  3. Broome: There was nothing desperately wrong with Broome’s success in the Derrinstown Derby trial at Leopardstwon. However, given how he forged clear in the Ballysax over the same course and distance a month prior, his more workmanlike showing in beating Blenheim Palace and Sovereign was somewhat underwhelming. He was still an easy enough winner in a respected trial, though and has progressed from two to three (and he was placed at Group One level at two anyway). He will be peaking as he passes the line and he should love his first dig at 1m4f, but he takes a while to get going which may spell trouble as far as Tattenham Corner is concerned. It might not be the easiest watch, but he is guaranteed to pick up once off the bridle and his relentless galloping should ensure he’s firmly in the picture. 4/5
  4. Circus Maximus: Since Frankie Dettori was confirmed as his rider, punters have laid into Circus Maximus, particularly since his effervescent jockey took the Oaks earlier today. However, on form, I simply cannot understand this move. While he eventually won decisively enough in the Dee Stakes at Chester, he likely appreciated the ground softening before the off. Even then, he travelled with less fluency than most and the two in behind him could count themselves unlucky. Runner-up from that race, Mohawk, let the form down in the Irish Guineas next time out and Circus Maximus does not look in dire need of the extra quarter-mile. His jockey is a genius and it has paid to be on the inside so far at Epsom and I imagine he’d be handy. Tactics and personnel are the only reasons he scores higher than 1. 2/5
  5. Hiroshima: There probably haven’t been as many more strangely named horses than Hiroshima to contest a Derby, but fortunately it is almost certain the Epsom engravers can sleep easy before having to write his name onto their winners’ boards. He won a Southwell maiden at the beginning of the month in taking fashion, but that was a Class 5 affair and he was readily disposed of by my selection in the Lingfield trial. No chance. 1/5
  6. Humanitarian: This 66/1 outsider is, remarkably, John Gosden’s only representative. As such, there may well be a few who have a nibble at the price, though he is firmly up against it. His two wins from three starts have been achieved in the lower echelons of flat racing’s calendar. He’ll likely appreciate this trip, but there’s a chance he’ll still be at the top of the stretch once the winners are passing the post. Rab Havlin didn’t get his day aboard Mehdaayih in the Oaks, but this is beyond the realms of the ridiculous to hope Humanitarian will win. 1/5
  7. Japan: There’s always one isn’t there? The one you couldn’t possibly place even if you spent days sifting through statistics. On bare form, Japan has to make gigantic strides to feature having been cut adrift by Telecaster in the Dante and with just two wins to date, both won by under a length. Yet, before the trials, he was the O’Brien yard’s main hope for glory in this Classic. Given his inmates scooped prize after prize in the build-up, that suggests the regard Japan was held in prior to his York effort and so expect him to come on bundles for that run. Much like Broome, this trip should bring out his best as he displayed a depth of stamina even as a juvenile. What his best is, though, is anyone’s guess and he isn’t reliable enough to take a punt on. 3/5
  8. Line Of Duty: Given I’m backing Anthony Van Dyck, it would seem absurd to discount the horse that had him nearly six lengths behind when he won at the Breeders Cup. That was a significant victory for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin and, of course, they won this last year with Masar. However, his re-appearance in the Dante was as flat as a pancake and he showed none of the zest he’d showcased on his forays to America. He may well be a horse who cleans up prizes in Dubai and further afield in the future, but his form in this country leaves him as a genuine 33/1 shot. This trip may end up suiting, but he may have require some extra building blocks at a lesser level prior to this. Alas, he hasn’t had them. 2/5
  9. Madhmoon: Last year I backed Masar in the 2000 Guineas but not the Derby and will likely never forgive myself. This year I backed Madhmoon in the Guineas and once again, I have to forgo him for another at Epsom. That said, I’m much keener on his chances than I was Masar’s as a result and unfortunately, I think he’ll go very close. He may not be bred to stay this trip, but the manner of his fourth at Newmarket suggested that a mile was simply too short for him at the highest level. He flashed home and though an extra half mile is some leap upwards, he possesses enough potential to cope. His stride is powerful which bodes well for his stamina in time and his form over a mile, including when beating Broome at Leopardstown, at two is hugely taking. The 16/1 about him initially is long gone and punters may be wary of making a similar oversight to last year. If I’m to back more than one, he’s certainly going to be the second. 4/5
  10. Norway: I’ve been a secret admirer of this horse ever since he ran on powerfully to finish fifth on his debut last July. He latterly won the Zetland Stakes over the maximum trip for two-year-olds (1m2f) before finishing fourth when too keen in the Grand Criterium de Saint-Cloud. He finished almost out of sight of Sir Dragonet’s rear-view mirrors in the Chester Vase, but his temperament got the better of him that day and he would not have appreciated the constantly falling rain. Back on faster ground and with a test of stamina likely, I actually believe he’ll close the gap on Sir Dragonet unless utilised purely for pacemaking duties. The one guarantee is that he’ll stay better than any of the 13 runners in the field and he could prove a Kew Gardens type who goes onto better things in the St Leger. Not without a chance and certainly worth a second look at the current prices. 3/5
  11. Sir Dragonet: Coolmore’s utter domination of the sport in our country should preclude any fairytales emerging from their midst. However, Sir Dragonet was not originally entered in the Derby, extraordinary for an O’Brien horse, and had been virtually forgotten about before they decided to chance their arm in a Tipperary maiden. He won that bloodlessly and so a chance was taken to enter him in the Chester Vase, where he devoured the ground to demolish the field by eight lengths. It was difficult to believe at first, but far more so in hindsight. The soft ground looked to have benefitted him far more than the rest of the field (and certainly the runner-up). Similarly, while I have no doubt Donnacha O’Brien intended to play a waiting game in that contest, I cannot believe it was his intention to be five lengths behind the pack so early, as he was that day. While he eventually pulled clear, it would be a slight concern if they went a blitzing gallop early, as it may unsettle him, particularly if he doesn’t take to firmer ground. Overall, he’s distinctly beatable and easy enough to take on. 3/5
  12. Sovereign: Padraig Beggy’s name will forever be synonymous with Derby day, especially if he continues to get the odd ride on an O’Brien seventh string in the big race. Omen grabbers will look to Sovereign as his mount. If the rain somehow pours a flood’s worth of water onto Epsom, this horse’s odds will tumble as he won on a Galway bog by 14 lengths at two. However, having set the pace for Broome in the two Leopardstwon trials and been beaten with disdain in both, he looks set to do only the donkey work before the race unfolds in front of him up the stretch. Other O’Brien pacemakers have fared well in this (look up At First Sight, Golden Sword and Treasure Beach), but Sovereign looks unlikely to emulate those. 1/5
  13. Telecaster: Britain bit back to claim their first home-soil Classic this afternoon, and if they’re to level the score at 2-2 in a field dominated by the Irish contingent, Telecaster may be one to rely on. His defeat by Bangkok at Doncaster in March was perfectly acceptable given that was his racecourse debut and subsequent victories at Windsor and in the Dante at York have seen him rise above his conqueror from that day in the Derby market. He beat star juvenile Too Darn Hot at York and tracked the Gosden pacemaker that day. The fact that he was able to store enough in reserve to outgun the subsequent Irish Guineas runner-up was impressive and it will be a dream come true for Hughie Morrison if he were to challenge tomorrow. I do not at all doubt his ability, but I can’t trust that he wants the added two furlongs. 4/5

Anapurna was the first Classic winner this season who had no claims to any form at two. However, I still believe the juvenile formbook may be worth following and both ANTHONY VAN DYCK and Madhmoon were classy even before their good efforts this season. The fact that the former has displayed his aptitude for this trip on ground softer than ideal gives him the vote to stave off the 2000 Guineas fourth although I suspect Kevin Prendergast’s horse will stay strongly enough. Broome and Telecaster have each won trials over 1m2f and their contrasting abilities should see them involved too.

  1. Anthony Van Dyck
  2. Madhmoon
  3. Broome

Oaks Preview: Frankellina or What’s In A Name?

Having made a fairly bold statement about the second fillies Classic on Twitter earlier this month, it would be remiss of me to backtrack and veer away from previous assumptions. While the inmates of stables O’Brien and Gosden are alluring, the Oaks looks far more open than to have two favourites trading at around 2/1 and 5/2 in a 14-runner contest.

Both of those fillies arrive off the back of convincing victories. However, three of the last four winners were beaten on their previous start before this Classic while even the mighty Enable had tasted defeat earlier in the season. While being beaten should never be a trend to follow, victory the start before should not be a prerequisite for selecting the Oaks winner.

Below, as with the previous British Classics, I have previewed every horse in the field in detail, narrowing down to one who ticks the most boxes.

  1. Anapurna: It is most unusual that Frankie Dettori is partnered with what would seem to be the John Gosden team’s second string. However, as he rode Anapurna to victory at Lingfield in the Oaks Trial, he retains the faith and it is not difficult to see why. Though she was well beaten when horribly green at Wolverhampton in Decemeber, she has since cruised to an all-weather maiden before hosing up in that aforementioned trial at Lingfield. That was her first attempt on turf and the soft ground may not even have been her optimum surface. The further the field went, the further into the sunset Anapurna disappeared. The market is tellingly in favour of her stablemate, however and the runner-up from Lingfield is 50/1 to reverse the form. That suggests her contest may have slacked in comparison although her potential talent is obvious. 4/5
  2. Blue Gardenia: Her career to date has been anomalous for a couple of reasons. The first is that she failed in maiden and novice company on four occasions before deciding that Listed company was more to her liking when striking for the first time at Newmarket last November. The second is that, as a result of the former, she may still be on the upgrade as her comeback did not lack promise (5th in the Musidora at York). She’ll need to prove she stays, though, and her career to date suggests the need for cut in the ground. Others arrive with more promise and difficult to see Jamie Spencer working any wonders here. 1/5
  3. Delphinia: Aidan O’Brien holds a much stronger hand in the Derby than the Oaks though Delphinia still looks the stable’s fourth string out of his quartet for tomorrow. She boasts just the one win from five starts and has been beatn on both attempts in Group company. Her latest start was her most promising to date when slightly unlucky in running behind Tarnawa which suggested this trip is within reach, as her pedigree would tell us it is. Nevertheless, she has a lot to find and lacks the sparkle which others bring to the table. 2/5
  4. Fleeting: Sometimes finishing last in the 1000 Guineas is not always a barrier to brighter things to come. Qualify won the Oaks having done just that and Fleeting, at least, looks to possess an amount of ability. She won a Doncaster Group Two over a mile at the end of last season when finishing off her race strongly and she simply seemed to lack the pace at Newmarket. With Derby winner Motivator as her Dam’s Sire, there’s a chance stamina will play a part in her future and she could come on for her re-appearance in spite of that result. Two-year-old form has been key to the Classic winners so far this season and if that is anything to go by, Fleeting’s record as a juvenile would give her a squeak. A possible each-way play at a big price. 3/5
  5. Frankellina: As per my earlier statement, here is the Oaks winner. Experience and temperament stand against her, but the quirks she showed when missing the break at York last time were hopefully symptomatic of greenness and nothing long-term. That Musidora performance was a serious run having given the field at least three lengths (more if you count the momentum she had to gain compared to others) and there should be so much more to come anyway Being by Frankel, there’s every chance that she is a very capable filly and WIlliam Haggas has her down as the likelier stayer between her and Maqsad. If she doesn’t play around from stall 14 and settles, the ground looks ideal for her and if she has come on at all from York, which should be guaranteed, then 14/1 could look enormous. But for ignorance, she’d have won a key trial by a safe margin. 5/5
  6. Lavender’s Blue: The second flowery filly in the line-up looking to blossom on the biggest stage. Along with Frankellina, she is the least experienced horse in the field with just two runs to date although she’s looked a little more straightforward. She was denied late on in Newbury’s Fillies trail over 1m2f by the talented Queen Power which was a bold effort for a filly with just a maiden victory behind her. She will need to come on significantly from that to even dream of featuring, however, and all of her athleticism will need to be put to good use. Could prove useful in time, but lacks the vast scope to be good enough this early on in her career with such talent around her. 2/5
  7. Manuela De Vega: Went off favourite when readily disposed of by Mehdaayih in the Cheshire Oaks. She encountered her share of trouble in running that day, so the fact that she stayed on for second implied that a step up in trip would be beneficial. As well as this, she was unbeaten in two starts as a two-year-old which hints that her ability is fairly innate. Should come on for the run, but even if she does the weight of distance between herself and Gosden’s Chester winner looks fairly vast as the latter looked to have plenty of petrol of left even by the finishing line. She should be versatile in both tactics and ground, though even a perfectly planned race would leave her needing a little luck. 3/5
  8. Maqsad: Has evidently made huge strides since the turn of the year. Failed to win at two and on that form, she has plenty to find with Mehdaayih, but she romped home with Newmarket’s Pretty Polly Stakes in convincing fashion. She was never hard pressed, so it is difficult to know whether she’ll definitely improve for the extra quarter of a mile, but she is bred to stay at least the mile-and-a-quarter she faced on her latest start , so its definitely worth a crack. William Haggas has stated that she is blessed with natural pace so patience may be the aim of the game before unleashing her in the straight. She has an obvious chance. 4/5
  9. Mehdaayih: Should almost certainly be favourite after annihilating the field in the Cheshire Oaks, which has proven a reliable source for winners of the Oaks in recent years. She positively whizzed past the finishing line on the Roodee which is ominous for those she faces today as goodness knows what was left. She showed an admirable temperament having been briefly caught in a pocket and she drifted left which should benefit her down Epsom’s cambers. Nevertheless, I have my doubts about some of the Chester festival’s form with a number of wide-margin winners emerging from the top contests and rain on the day ensured Mehdaayih’s victory on “good to soft” was likely on the damper side. Conditions will make this tougher on that form, but on a track where it’s imperative to possess some speed, she has some in abundance. 4/5
  10. Peach Tree: Donnacha O’Brien has taken his chances well in the Classics in recent seasons, but he’ll have to be at his very best if Peach Tree is to challenge. She had initially looked like staying distances would be her sort of thing when staying on behind stablemate Just Wonderful in a Curragh Group Two as well as cosily winning a Navan Listed contest over a mile from Tarnawa. However, that re-opposing rival turned the tables in convincing style at Naas earlier this month (Tarnawa had the benefit of a run two week prior) when both were stepped up in trip and though Peach tree may have needed the run slightly, her performance gave the visual impression of a sketchy stayer over 1m2f, let alone a mile-and-a-half. 1/5
  11. Pink Dogwood: Unlike her stablemate, Pink Dogwood has shaped every inch as if she would appreciate the Oaks’ extra test of stamina. She was beaten only 1 1/2 lengths in the Prix Marcel Boussac having bolted up in a maiden on her third start at two and was gutsy if unspectacular when winning on her seasonal debut. That form is well below others, particularly at three and her best performances to date have been achieved in boggier conditions than she will see in Surrey. For such a short-priced favourite, she has an awful lot to prove, so she is readily opposable even if she revels in the extra two furlongs. No doubting she’s O’Brien’s number one for tomorrow and for that, she cannot be dismissed too easily. 3/5
  12. Sh Boom: Really hope that she causes an immense shock because of her name, but fewer than two weeks since her last run (a disappointing sixth in behind Lavender’s Blue at Newbury) suggests my hopes will be dashed. She ran in two decent novice contests as a juvenile, winning the second, but that was by just a short head and she’d be in at the deep end regardless of her poor Newbury run. A true 100/1 shot and will do well to be in the top ten. 1/5
  13. Tarnawa: Found an O’Brien stablemate too good in her first three starts (one being Hermosa, the dual Guineas heroine) before eventually tasting victory at Leopardstown this April. She has two lengths to find with Pink Dogwood on Navan form that could potentially be bridgeable given how she shaped when victorious in a Group Three latest. She beat the useful Who’s Steph that day, getting up close home and so 1m4f is not discounted from suiting. She strikes me as being below the required Classic standard, though and it might take a bit of ingenuity from jockey Chris Hayes for her to be successful. Connections won the Derby three years ago and have an affinity with Epsom, but Tarnawa might struggle under the weight of that expectation. 2/5
  14. Tauteke: Roger Varian continues to impress this season, but unlike Qabala, who had a live chance in the 1000 Guineas, Tauteke looks seriously up against it. She has yet to win on turf, her only success being achieved on the all-weather and was left firmly in Anapurna’s wake at Lingfield when simply unable to live with that rival. She did, at least, stay on best of the rest and the soft ground might not have played to her strengths last time, but for a horse having just her second start on grass, Epsom will provide a stern test of her capabilities against such a strong field. Even if she somehow reverses form with Anapurna, she has too many others to compete against. 1/5

 

The inexperience of FRANKELLINA could see her bomb from an early stage of the Epsom contest. However, she showed a raw level of ability when second in the Musidora having missed the break, that I believe she has more to come and enough to compete at this level. Mehdaayih’s burst to win at Chester was a delight to watch and she is a troublesome opponent, as are Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Anapurna and Pretty Polly heroine Maqsad.

  1. Frankellina
  2. Mehdaayih
  3. Anapurna