Monday 5.45pm Saturday was a nightmare. It’s bean on toast this week for me. With Royal Ascot occupying me full time at the moment there will be no Lucky 15 until Wednesday for Thursday at Newbury et al.
The Racing Post is featuring the 2yo Ascot races on Tuesday so I’m going to have my say tonight in case any prices disappear.
Royal Ascot 2017 2yo’s.
I have no more than one eye on the juveniles up until Royal Ascot as I like to see some form lines develop before I invest. Two races to concentrate on, the G2 Coventry for the colts and the G3 Albany for the fillies, both over 6F. The two 5F dashes, the Norfolk and the Queen Mary, never appeal although I’m backing McErin (4/1) in the former as from what I have seen on line and read in the press he is huge and his work on the grass was impressive. US trainer Wesley Ward couldn’t be more bullish, “got a nice colt going for the Norfolk called McErin. He’s done his racing on dirt, but when we’ve galloped him on the grass he’s been much better, I’m looking forward to him“.
When looking for Royal Ascot 2yo winners four trainers to concentrate on. Aidan O’Brien, Richard Hannon, Charlie Appleby and this season Jessica Harrington. June 7th Jessica Harrington told The Irish Times, “A Royal Ascot winner is the next ambition. I’ve had only a couple of runners there in the past but I’d like a winner.” Spearheading the Harrington assault on Ascot could be promising juveniles Alpha Centauri in the Albany Stakes and Coventry Stakes-bound Brother Bear. Alpha Centauri is currently 2/1 to land the Albany Stakes on 23rd June. The daughter of Mastercraftsman has been very impressive in winning both starts over six furlongs at Naas so far and her trainer feels ground conditions are now likely to suit at Ascot. “The one thing I didn’t want for her was that real Ascot firm. But the weather looks so broken over there at the moment that it shouldn’t be a problem,” she added. “Alpha Centauri will run in the Albany and Whitefountainfairy could run in that too or she might wait for the Chesham on the Saturday. I haven’t decided yet. But Brother Bear will go for the Coventry.”
Mention there of the Listed 7F Chesham, we’ve only had a handful of 2yo races over that trip this season, and the other Listed race, the 5F Windsor Castle. Both are just too difficult, won too often by big improvers at big prices.
Tues. 3.05 Coventry Stakes G2 6F
POSITIVES Unbeaten (preferably one run). Trained by Aidan O’Brien or Richard Hannon. The favourite.
NEGATIVES Beaten last time out. Outside the front five in the betting. Once-raced.
A week away there is no clear favourite. The top rated (RPR) colt is Jessica Harrington’s Brother Bear, unbeaten in two and heads the market but there is plenty of 11/2 about. Brother Bear has shown plenty of pace and a willing attitude but as he was a drifting 9/1 on debut suggests he wasn’t burning up the home gallops and he isn’t an imposing colt.
So what have Messr’s Hannon and O’Brien got towards the top of the market? Richard Hannon’s top rated colt is the improving De Bruyne Horse but he looks Division Two to me. Denaar won well at Newbury but he lacks size and has a scratchy action, not for me. Aidan O’Brien has two to mention, Murillo, who has a US pedigree as a son of Scat Daddy, was beaten on debut but quickened to win an egg and spoon maiden at Tipperary. He would need strong market support, Firm in the going and Ryan Moore on board to carry my money but I think Ryan Moore will be on the winner and that will be Declarationofpeace. Good sized son of War Front running for Coolmore, ideal Royal Ascot profile, beaten on debut at Navan, despite the dogs barking in the ring, when a tad green was seen to much better effect on the sand at Dundalk. With quicker ground expected at Ascot I’m quite happy to take the 8/1 on offer with William Hill and Declarationofpeace is a two star** win selection. As for a main danger? When reviewing the videos the horse with the size and scope who impressed me most was Richard Spencer’s Rajasinghe for upwardly mobile Rebel Racing who strode away in the final furlong in the style of a classy horse and is another who would look to appreciate the anticipated Good to Firm (watered to maintain?!) ground. Rajasinghe is a one star* selection @ a general 10/1.
Fri. 2.30 Albany Stakes G3 6F Fillies
POSITIVES Won a maiden last time out. Had just one career start. Trained by Mick Channon/Jeremy Noseda Sandown form
NEGATIVES Failed to contest a maiden last time out
This one looks harder to solve than the boys race, the Coventry. Jessica Harrington (see above) has the market leader in the enormous, unbeaten in two, Alpha Centauri (9/4 tops PP) and Wesley Ward has the second favourite in Fairyland, a Scat Daddy filly owned by Coolmore.
Alpha Centauri has won both her races very easily, beating Actress (20/1) both times, by 2½ and then 5 lengths. Could be the real deal as the good big’un beats the good little’uns but the filly I’m attracted to is the Qatar Racing owned, Ger Lyons trained Black Sails. She beat the boys at the Curragh and she wouldn’t be without a chance in the Coventry. She is a long and rangy daughter of Lope de Vega and I can’t see her having a problem with the ground or the trip and she looked very professional. Richard Hannon is very excited by his €305K daughter of Kodiac, Natural, and she is also owned by Qatar Racing. She won a 6½F maiden at Doncaster on Soft ground when well supported on debut.
The bet is Black Sails one star* win @ 14/1 general. We may go in again each way when she’s a confirmed runner.