JOHN Gosden is not approaching the St James’s Palace Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot with Kingman believing it is a two-horse race.
The highlight on day one of the showpiece meeting is being billed as the “royal rumble”, as the Qipco 2,000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder takes on Gosden’s Irish Guineas hero.
The Group 1 contest will be the third time the pair have met this season, after Kingman won comfortably at Newbury in the Greenham before the Richard Hannon-trained Night Of Thunder turned the tables at Newmarket. The bookmakers have Kingman as odds-on favourite to gain his revenge, which Gosden disagrees with, and he is also giving full respect to the likes of Night Of Thunder’s stable- mate and champion two-year-old Toormore, as well as War Command, last year’s Coventry and Dewhurst winner.
“I’m very happy with him. This is a very good race, by no means a two-horse race and, if anyone [is] thinking it is, they are wrong, I’m not underestimating anything,” said Gosden.
Hannon is also struggling to see why Kingman is favoured so much in the betting. “I’ve got no reason to see why the form from Newmarket’s going to be reversed and I don’t see why the betting isn’t 6-4 each of two,” said Hannon. “Kingman was very impressive in Ireland but it’s going to be quick enough ground at Ascot. I thought Night Of Thunder was a worthy winner of the Guineas and he’s in great form.”
Toormore is owned by Middleham Park Racing, whose racing manager Tim Palin said: “We felt we had one or two excuses after the Guineas, but I don’t think there will be on Tuesday.”
Hot Streak bids to live up to his name and his reputation when he goes for Group 1 gold in the King’s Stand Stakes.
The three-year-old announ-ced himself on the sprinting stage with a clear-cut victory in the Temple Stakes at Haydock last month and is strongly fancied to take the five-furlong honours. Kevin Ryan’s charge also has excellent course form, having blasted home by five lengths on his previous visit to Ascot in the Cornwallis Stakes last October. “Hopefully he’s the new sprinting sensation and I’m looking forward to seeing him on a track that we know suits him against the best sprinters around,” said David Redvers, racing and bloodstock manager for owners Qatar Racing.
Ger Lyons believes Cappella Sansevero’s temperament will help him overcome the disadvantage of being away from home when he competes in the Coventry Stakes.
The unbeaten Showcasing colt gets his chance to tackle this fascinating Group 2 contest after adding the Listed Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh to earlier wins at Dundalk and Naas. This will be the first time Cappella Sansevero has had to stay away overnight, but Lyons feels this horse can take it in his stride.