The Coventry Stakes is always the best 2yo race of the meeting and the winner usually goes on to prove their class over the next couple of years. This time could be no exception with a highly impressive winner in War Command. He had won just nine days before this race and so the fact they even ran was in hindsight a tip in itself (though it’s also what I wrote on here without giving him enough of a chance). The way he oozed into contention and put the race to bed was taking and though I don’t know his effectiveness on softer, this is a horse of serious ability. It also means we will most like see plenty of War Front progeny over here with Ballydoyle already having a lot of success with Declaration Of War, the Queen Anne winner earlier in the day and Meydan winner Lines Of Battle. This one will be given the typical O’Brien route this year, The National Stakes, Futurity and Phoenix and some of those races, if not all, could be there for the taking.
Parbold, my fancy for the race, ran a cracker for second after not getting a clear run through and this proved his debut success was certainly no fluke. Connections are contemplating the Sales race route which may suggest they are trying to take advantage of this precocious and talented juvenile this year rather than next and wherever he goes, he won’t be disgraced.
There was a lovely run from Peeping Fawn’s first foal Sir John Hawkins who will have no trouble winning in pattern company. His sire won the Coventry too before of course going on to Guineas success and he has the ability to become a top class colt.
Thunder Strike finished closer than Championship (Wahaab also closer) though the former seems the most forward at this stage. Neither gave out the same vibe though of past winners of this race for the yard.
The right horses definitely ended up at the head of proceedings, with favourite Stubbs running a decent race on what was probably the wrong side of the track. Others, including his stablemates, have more scope than him though. One that I will be following this season is MAWFOOR who I noted as one who needed more time and he ran exactly how I thought. I loved his maiden win though he clearly wants another furlong at least but travelled really nicely two furlongs before flattening and running on. He is better than the margin of defeat suggests.
Horse To Follow - Mawfoor
Windsor Castle Stakes
Plenty of speedy types to analyse here. The winner Extortionist had disappointed at York on his last start but showed that wasn’t his true running and giving Olly Stevens a day to remember. He got the ideal through with the far group possibly going too quick and also getting a beautiful run down near the inside rail where it was possible the ground was marginally quicker. He’s a good horse and will hold his own in good grade over this trip but he’s not the best horse in the race looking forward.
Looking at the race before, I really liked the Beverley Conditions race which saw Supplicant and My Catch finished second and third. That looked really strong form at the time and both confirmed it with big runs. Supplicant will most likely go down the sales race route while My Catch was very unlucky when given too much to do by his rider and he can take a maiden before proving himself again at similar/higher level.
Anticipated ran well though I would put him in the band of the early season types who will now do well to continue to progress. Similar to him is Justice Day who ran a cracker on the far side though the fact nothing beat him on that side suggests that even if the near side were more convenience by how the race panned out, it’s also where the horses to follow are. Fountain Of Youth and Sacha Park finished ahead of him, the former being a foal of Attraction and definitely on to keep on side, the latter likely now to break his maiden tag and most probably another to be aimed at sales races.
A couple I’m going to stick up to follow though, for very different reasons are SLEEPER KING and BEN HALL. I’ll start with the former who showed really good speed to lead the near side group for a long way but in the end he set it up for the others. That speed will show him in good light in plenty of good races and I can see him particularly going well in something like the Molecomb. As a long term prospect, there’s nothing else in the field that caught my eye more than Ben Hall who I loved in the paddock (big, strong, gorgeous stamp of a horse). This 5f was always going to be too stiff for him but he ran a massive race and a step back up to 6f is needed very soon. I will also be very surprised if he doesn’t improved a good deal throughout the year and he’s in very good hands to do so, John Gosden not particularly known for runners in this sphere. He’s a smart prospect.
Horses To Follow – Sleeper King, Ben Hall
A really good performance from RIZEENA who was my fancy for the race after a very impressive win from the front at Sandown in the National Stakes and this confirmed her as the top sprint filly this year so far. Clive Brittain has done well with similar types in the past and you can see her being well campaigned this year, apparently with the Moyglare and Cheveley Park under consideration. She was done for a little bit of speed early on, just having to be niggled at but stayed on extremely well, also suggesting a step up in trip would be fine or may even bring out more.
Considering they seemed to go very quick here, the performance of American raider Sweet Emma Rose has to be commended as she went off like a rocket and it needed a very good winner to prevent her from taking this. There was a big run from One Chance, who took her form to another level and she is well worth another chance to prove this was no fluke. Fig Roll ran well and Reroute is without doubt a very smart filly in the making, this possibly coming a little too soon for her, just four days after winning her maiden. I hope connections give her a bit of time to recover now as if taken care of, they have a lovely filly in their hands. I also liked the run of SURVIVED who arguably travelled the best of all in behind on the far side but couldn’t kick on. I’m not too sure what to make of the run bar that she may just need a bit more time and a step up to 6f shouldn’t inconvenience her either. Beldale Memory ran a poor race considering she was close to being the form pick coming into the race though may not have been home on the ground. Alutiq came home well on the stand’s side and she should be able to find herself a few opportunities to get her head in front this year. Blithe Spirit struggled to go the pace early on but finished faster than everything other than the winner. She was most likely flattered but can hold her own in lesser grade and 6f should be within her compass, while Ventura Mist ran a solid race but is just not up to this standard.
Horses To Follow – Rizeena, Survived
Wesley Ward struck against Royal Ascot with No Nay Never running out an impressive winner of the Norfolk. As most of his have done so before, he showed a lot of speed though the tank seemed to be running out before he ran on again to score in decent fashion. This may not be the last we see of him over here and connections would have to contemplate the Nunthorpe considering how much speed this horse has (beat track record albeit on what was very fast ground) and the fact the weight allowance for 2yo’s goes ridiculously in his favour in the race. I heard a quote from Richard Hughes saying he’s built like he’s a five-year-old already. It was a canny ride from Joel Rosario who clearly left a bit in the tank at the end and though York would be an ideal race for him, the Morny has been talked as the next step for him after getting him back home
In behind, I really liked the performance of COACH HOUSE who showed bags of speed, his sectional times faster per furlong than the winner bar final furlong, suggesting he may have done a little bit too much too early. Still he’d be a fascinating runner In the Nunthorpe too and with a step up to 6f likely to be no problem either, I think he has a very smart future. Aidan O’Brien won this with Johannesburg ten years ago and though he has a long way to go, the foundations are there for him to become a top rank sprinter next year.
The third Ambiance also has pace in abundance, sticking up with a fierce pace for virtually all the way and still finishing his race well. His speed will hold him in good stead in races at the minimum trip in lesser grade and he’s one I could see being underestimated. There was a big run from Wind Fire who according to his trainer is slightly better than stablemate Extortionist who won the Windsor Castle of course. Her maiden form has worked out really well and there will be opportunities for her. Emirates Flyer is less of the finished product and ended the race off well after sitting well off the pace and another furlong will suit. Royal Mezyan travelled well but couldn’t find that extra kick to challenge, he should win a maiden soon though. Green Door showed plenty of pace and ability while Coulsty didn’t run his race at all and is worth another chance some time as his maiden win was very impressive. Saayerr has impressed me so far but disappointed here and could be worth stepping up in trip now while Eccleston may have not enjoyed the ground and a return to softer could suit.
Horse To Follow – Coach House
There was certainly no fluke in the winner here as Kiyoshi won well, travelling the best from rear and despite hanging badly right when on her own out in front, she still won this with real ease. She had hung the other way on her last start at Goodwood in a decent looking maiden at the time (runner-up Ihtimal third in the Chesham) and the form looks solid enough to suggest that she at least at the moment is comfortably the best filly in the field.
Sandiva set the satdnard coming into the race and I couldn’t see her getting beat to be honest, but of course she did. The Naas race she won on her start before, with Heart Focus finishing second, has continues its dreadful record in this. Now winners of that race going on to lose this in the past 10 years include, Rumplestiltskin, Radharcnafarraige, Teolane and You’resothrilling though Damson did win the Queen Mary, Cuis Ghaire won this and Sky Lantern also won the race last year. Sandiva herself ran a good race for the first time in Qatari ownership and she will most probably find an opportunity some time to win a good prize, but her limitations may be about to be found from now. Richard Fahey said the ground may have been too fast for her.
Frankel’s half-sister Joyeuse ran a good race for third despite being very green still and she clearly has a lot of ability, emerging well on top of those drawn far side. Again she is going to come on plenty for that and she is not the easiest customer to tackle but there’s definitely more in her and she is already at a group class standard.
Wedding Ring and Lucky Kristale ran pretty well and WONDERFULLY is possibly one to take out of the field. I wasn’t particularly taken by her debut performance but she is begging for at least 7f where you will see a better horse than at the moment. I don’t think she is top class but I’m only highlighting her for the sole reason that in the long term, she is better than the bare form. All in all though it’s one of the less interesting of the 2yo races at Ascot for me this year.
Horse To Follow – Wonderfully
The most satisfying and best winner of the week for the blog, with strong fancy BERKSHIRE winning this with ease. His maiden win was there for all to see as he cantered all over a good field that included Richard Hannon’s lead Coventry hope Championship and the fifth in that race Jallota. He oozed up to past the field on the bridle here before quickening nicely despite idling and he was always holding the runner-up. He may only run once again this season according to his trainer and next year he could be a better horse, meaning the 20/1 for the Guineas probably isn’t the worst price ever but at the moment isn’t begging to be taken either.
Therunner-up was favourite Bunker who had been given rave reviews before the race and lost no credit with this run. He took a while to know his job on debut though was more professional here, he couldn’t handle the turn of foot shown by the winner. He’s a good horse who will strengthen and appreciate a good deal further of this.
The consistent Ihtimal still has yet to get her head in front, bumping into some smart types in all of her three starts. She was behind Wedding Ring last time who did not disgrace in the Albany and before that was behind Kiyoshi who won the race. She can go on to win a maiden at around this trip before stepping back up in grade but what you see is what you get already.
Somewhat ran a good enough race for fourth and could well be one to flourish later on this season. It was only 11 days since his impressive maiden win and this was a decent enough run. I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t better than this.
In all honesty there’s not too much else in the field that scream out as needing to be followed. Master Carpenter is definitely worth another go as he didn’t run anywhere near to his form, Autumn Lily and Freedom Square ran flat. Tinga ran a decent race which confirmed her debut promise so she could go on again while Friendship is in the right hands to go better.
Horse To Follow – Berkshire