Racing: Ten rivals queue up to take on mighty Frankel at Ascot
FRANKEL will face ten rivals when he puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Queen Anne Stakes in the opening race of Royal Ascot 2012 tomorrow.
Sir Henry Cecil’s colt has produced some stunning performances in his 10-race career and was ominously impressive on his four-year-old debut in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. Given he had suffered an early-season setback which threatened to end his career for a short time, he can be expected to have improved significantly for his latest mission and will be long odds-on.
Cecil and owner Khalid Abdullah are also represented by Frankel’s three-parts brother and likely pacemaker Bullet Train. Perhaps Frankel’s biggest threat is Aidan O’Brien’s Excelebration but the Lockinge runner-up has yet to seriously trouble the world’s highest-rated racehorse in four previous encounters.
Strong Suit is an interesting contender for champion trainer Richard Hannon, making his first appearance of the season. Diomed Stakes winner Side Glance steps back up in class for Andrew Balding, with Premio Loco and Red Jazz other runners who will be aiming to pick up a share of the prize-money.
Sir Mark Prescott’s Worthadd, Godolphin’s Helmet and German raider Indomito complete the field.
Meanwhile, Roger Charlton has reiterated he will leave a decision on Bated Breath’s participation in tomorrow’s King’s Stand Stakes until the last minute but he would prefer to run his charge on the opening afternoon rather than against Australian superstar Black Caviar in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
The ground on the Ascot straight course was officially described as good yesterdy, with showers forecast and Charlton said: “I’m frustrated by the weather and the constant changing forecast like everybody else. I know he’s a better horse on faster ground – witness Haydock where he broke the track record. It was a pretty good performance there on rattling fast ground.
“If you look through all the horses in the Diamond Jubilee, I’d be surprised if anyone can come up with a horse that will make the running. Maybe Black Caviar will make the running, but it’s very unusual not to have pace in a race like that.
“I think the King’s Stand will suit us better as there are two or three horses that could make the running. There is a lot of rain coming in on Thursday and if we have a lot of runners at Ascot, that ground is going to get pretty chopped up by Saturday. At least on Tuesday it will be fresh ground.”
Asked about the possibility of letting Bated Breath run in both the King’s Stand and the Diamond Jubilee, the trainer said: “It’s too early to make that decision. If he’s unlucky in running on Tuesday and the ground is good and fast on Saturday or if he won easily and the owner said we should have another go he could run on Saturday.”
Bated Breath was one of 23 sprinters declared for the King’s Stand, which has a truly international feel. Australian speedball Ortensia is favourite after her win in Dubai from Sole Power, who was also a close second to Bated Breath at Haydock. The Irish raider is among the declarations, despite trainer Edward Lynam’s own ground concerns. There are plenty of other overseas runners with Robert Collet’s French raider Wizz Kid, and Joy And Fun and Little Bridge from Hong Kong adding interest.
Nine unbeaten colts will put their perfect records on the line in what looks a high-class renewal of the Coventry Stakes, also tomorrow. Among them is the Jim Bolger-trained Dawn Approach, the winner of all three starts to date and featuring prominently in ante-post lists on the 2000 Guineas. Bolger also runs three-time runner-up Leitir Mor.
Aidan O’Brien saddles once-raced Navan winner Cristoforo Colombo, the mount of Joseph O’Brien, who will be joined by Curragh winner Lines Of Battle (Ryan Moore). Richard Hannon is strongly represented with four runners – The Taj (Paul Hanagan), Sir Prancealot (Richard Hughes), Master Of War (Jimmy Fortune) and Olympic Glory (Dane O’Neill).
New Pearl, beaten at 1-6 at Pontefract but impressive when winning on debut at Newmarket, runs for David Brown, who landed the Windsor Castle Stakes 12 months ago with Frederick Engels. Charlie Hills’ pair of Englishman and Funk Soul Brother are also unbeaten, as is the Kevin Ryan-trained Indian Jade. Frankie Dettori gets the leg-up on Artigiano for Mahmood Al Zarooni.
2.15 Elle Rebelle
3.45 Red Roar
4.15 Dorry K
4.45 Call Of Duty
5.15 Dutch Rose
6.25 William’s Way
6.55 Avec Rose
7.55 Mid Mon Lady (nap)
8.25 Cuckoo Rock
8.55 My Kingdom
9.10 Bondi Mist
2.30 Four Richer
3.00 Restless Bay
4.00 Seven Veils
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
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