I have been in fair form the last few days at Betfan Towers with Two Jabs (11/2) Desertmore View (7/4) landing some nice bets in the Hunter Chase at Chepstow, Nabatean (13/8) getting the job done at the City and Storm Of The Stars (6/4) winning from the front at Leicester on Saturday, keeping the strike rate at around 38% and working hard to get back in the top performers table, I was second behind Andy Bell at the start of the month.
There was emotional scenes at Sandown Park on Saturday when 20 time champion jockey Tony McCoy said his final farewell to riding with his retirement from the saddle with his two mounts finishing third, how the sport is going to miss AP, he has changed racing lets not forget him too quickly, enjoy your chocolate champ.
A total of 388 entries representing 10 countries have been received for the eight Group One races to be staged at Royal Ascot this year headlined by “America’s Horse,” California Chrome (Art Sherman) and the world’s best miler, Hong Kong’s Able Friend (John Moore).
The number of entries for the established seven Group One races (311) pretty much mirrors the number received in 2014 (309). However, with a bumper entry of 77 in the new Commonwealth Cup, by far the highest entry received for any Group One race at the Royal Meeting this year, no fewer than 388 entries have been taken in total, including a record number from France (46).
Entries for Royal Ascot have been received from the UK (237), Ireland (75), France (46), the USA (11), Australia (8), Hong Kong (4), Germany (3), Japan (2), Spain (1) and Sweden (1).
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes is shaping up as a truly international clash with 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, California Chrome, recently second in the Dubai World Cup, already in the UK ahead of the Royal Meeting, with a run in the Al Shaqab Lockinge at Newbury possible in mid-May first.
Spielberg (Kazuo Fujisawa), winner of the Group One Tenno Sho (Autumn) in November (defeating Japan’s Horse Of The Year Gentildonna in the process), is set to represent Japan whilst Criterion (David Hayes), winner of the Group One Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at The Championships in Sydney earlier in the month, could carry the Australian flag.
Ireland’s emerging star, Free Eagle (Dermot Weld), Ascot regular and French stalwart Cirrus Des Aigles (Corine Barande-Barbe) and The Grey Gatsby (Kevin Ryan), trained in the UK to win the Irish Champion Stakes last year, are amongst a strong European contingent lying in wait.
The Queen Anne Stakes could feature a fascinating showdown between Able Friend and France’s recent winner of the Dubai Turf, Solow (Freddy Head). Also possibles are Lelouch (Kazuo Fujisawa) for Japan and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile winner, Karakontie (Jonathan Pease), another strong option for France.
All eyes at the beginning of the week will be on Ireland’s Sole Power (Eddie Lynam), who will be bidding for an unprecedented third King’s Stand Stakes win. Opposition from Australia is set to come through Brazen Beau (Chris Waller) and Shamal Wind (Robert Smerdon), both Group One winners on their last starts.
Undrafted (Wesley Ward) and Holy Lute (James Cassidy) have been entered for the USA and Gold-Fun (Richard Gibson) is in the race for Hong Kong.
At Newmarket on Saturday in the 2,000 Guineas Gleneagles will go very close and on Sunday in the 1,000 Guineas I like the look of Lucida at around 6/1.
American Pharoah will prove hard to beat in the KentuckyDerby at Churchill Downs over the weekend.
Yours in sport
Back Next Thursday.
Kevan Minter – The Colonel.