It’s finally that time of year, where the Royal’s descend to Berkshire to get involved with five of the greatest flat racing days of the year.
Opening Day Double:
Five days of brilliant Group One action kicks off on Tuesday with the Queen Anne Stakes.
Animal Kingdom is the odds-on favourite, and it seems impossible to oppose the Breeders Cup Mile runner-up, who went on to land the Dubai World Cup in tremendous fashion, destroying a classy field.
He has been working well since coming over to England, and the straight mile should cause no problems for the International raider.
Elusive Kate and Trade Storm are interesting contenders at a price, but Animal Kingdom looks nailed on, and is the beginning of our opening day double.
The second horse in the double is Epsom Derby flop Dawn Approach.
The son of New Approach looked a superstar in the making during his unbeaten 2yo career which included a win in the Coventry Stakes at this meeting 12 months ago.
He carried this form into his 3yo career, landing the 2000 Guineas with sumptuous ease at Newmarket, before going on to disappoint in the Derby, after failing to settle early on.
A drop back to a mile is sure to suit, and he should arrive to the race fresh, after Kevin Manning eased the colt down a long way from home at Epsom.
His magnificent cruising speed and turn of foot make him a worthy favourite, especially with doubts over Magician’s fitness, following reports of bruising on the colts’ shin.
He looked a special horse when landing the Irish 2000 Guineas, and will prove stiff opposition, as will Toronado from the Richard Hannon stable.
Richard Hughes has always maintained confidence in his mount, and said in his Racing Post column this week, if they can get over their own problems, they will win.
However, they now face a bigger problem in the face of Dawn Approach, whose course form, unbeaten record over a mile, and the shrewdness of his trainer Jim Bolger, suggests 11/8 is too big to ignore.
If he arrived here without stepping out at Epsom, he would be around the 1/2 mark, so if you can forgive him that one run, he seems a worthy bet.
Don’t Abandon the Reckless:
Overseas raiders have a brilliant record in the Kings Stand Stakes, but this year, the short priced favourite Shea Shea, does not appeal at the odds.
Instead, we should turn to Clive Cox’s raider, Reckless Abandon at 5/1. He won over course and distance at last year’s Royal meeting, and has since gone from strength to strength.
He’s notched up three group wins, two of those group one’s, since last June, and went very close to making it four, when finishing a narrow third behind Kingsgate Native at Haydock last time out.
That was his first defeat on a racecourse, and he was extremely unlucky, having been stranded down the far side before finishing with a flourish, but Kingsgate Native and Swiss Spirit, who both re-appear at Ascot, having the benefit of the stands side rail.
Spirit Quartz and Morawij have both been out since and franked the form, having both raced with Reckless Abandon on the far side, they have both gone on to land pattern races, which provides a timely boost.
He faces stiffer competition today, but with the weight allowance for three-year-old’s, and a decent draw, the 6/1 looks a solid each-way bet.
Arise Sir John:
The Coventry is as competitive as ever this year, with sixteen quality 2yo’s going to battle it out over a stiff six at the Berkshire track.
The favourite, Stubbs from the Aidan O’Brien stable, looks an interesting prospect, and landed the same prep race as last year’s winner Dawn Approach.
However, he has a tendency to hand left under pressure, and the fact he’s coming from stall 1, means that is arguably the worst draw possible for the son of Danehill Dancer.
This leads us to look for a bigger priced raider, and one who fits the bill perfectly, is O’Brien’s supposed second-string, Sir John Hawkins.
The pedigree of the colt is simply superb, with the four-time Group One winner, Henrythenavigator being his sire, and his dam being none other than former Irish Oaks winner Peeping Fawn.
He showed great promise on debut, when showing great natural speed, beating a fairly competitive field with a tad in hand.
He will come on massively for the run, and with Ryan Moore on board, the confidence can only increase.
The 13/2 looks a solid each-way bet, and it would be no surprise to see the colt emulate his father, by winning the Group Two on Tuesday.
2 points win double: Animal Kingdom & Dawn Approach @ 3.12/1 (Paddy Power)
1 point e.w double: Reckless Abandon @ Sir John Hawkins @ 51.5/1 (William Hill)