Royal Ascot the summit for eleven nations
No fewer than eleven nations are represented across the entries for Royal Ascot’s seven Group One races, as released today, amongst them a record breaking ten from the USA, three of them doubly engaged in both the King’s Stand Stakes and Golden Jubilee Stakes, legs four and five of the Global Sprint Challenge.
Additionally from outside Europe, Australia has four entries, three doubly engaged in both sprints; Hong Kong three entries, with one doubly engaged; Singapore two entries, with one doubly engaged and Japan is represented by three entries at the initial stage, one in each of the St James’s Palace Stakes, Coronation Stakes and the Gold Cup.
Amongst the USA entries for the Golden Jubilee Stakes is 2010 Santa Anita Derby (Grade One) winner SIDNEY’S CANDY (John Sadler), owned by Jenny Craig, who with her late husband Sidney won the 1992 Derby with Dr Devious.
CARACORTADO (Michael Machowsky), fourth in last year’s Santa Anita Derby and frequently Group One placed subsequently, is very much on course to line up in the Golden Jubilee.
Todd Pletcher has entered three horses for the Royal Meeting – recent Shakertown Stakes winner, STRATFORD HILL, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint fourth, BRIDGETOWN (both in the two sprints) and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner, MORE THAN REAL, a Coronation Stakes possible for celebrity chef owner, Bobby Flay.
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Shakertown third, GREAT ATTACK, is entered for the King’s Stand Stakes for dual Royal Ascot-winning trainer, Wesley Ward, who has also entered HOLIDAY FOR KITTEN, owned by the legendary Ken Ramsey and his wife, who owned 2009 Golden Jubilee runner-up, Cannonball. Ward is also considering the two-year-old Royal Ascot programme for his in form string.
Last year’s Golden Jubilee third, KINSALE KING, is entered for just the King’s Stand this year, with his colourful Irish-born trainer Carl O’Callaghan planning to run the improving dark horse, LEAVING NEW YORK, in the Golden Jubilee.
Kenny McPeek, who saddled three runners at Royal Ascot last year, has entered KATHMANBLU for the Coronation Stakes with a view to a possible run in the UK after the Kentucky Oaks. He will also have two entries in the Ribblesdale Stakes next week – SASSY’S DREAM and NIJI’S GRAND GIRL.
The Asian contingent at Royal Ascot could be strong this year with the highest profile name amongst the entries (Golden Jubilee only) undoubtedly the Singapore-trained ROCKET MAN (Patrick Shaw), who gained a much deserved first Group One outside his home country in the Dubai Golden Shaheen last month.
Compatriot BETTER BE THE ONE (Michael Freedman), a close third in the Al Quoz Sprint on the same Dubai card, is another possible and is in both sprints. Both Singapore horses have the KrisFlyer Sprint, leg four of the Global Sprint Challenge, as their next target.
Two three-year-olds are entered for Japan – last year’s Grade One-winning champion two-year-old, GRAND PRIX BOSS (Yoshito Yahagi), who has the NHK Mile at home as his next target, and MARCELLINA (Hiroyoshi Matsuda), recent winner of the Grade One Oka Sho (Japanese 1,000 Guineas).
The trio is made up of recent Grade Three winning and Grade Two placed COSMO MEADOW (Shigenori Hatakeyama), a fascinating prospect for the Gold Cup.
Completing the Asian entries are a trio from Hong Kong, including SWEET SANETTE (Tony Millard), entered for both Royal Ascot sprints, who had Sacred Kingdom and One World behind her in second and third in the recent Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (Group Three).
John Moore, responsible for Happy Zero last year, has entered SUNNY KING, third to Rocket Man in Dubai and a regular in Group One company in Hong Kong, in the Golden Jubilee, and XTENSION, fourth in the 2,000 Guineas when with Clive Cox, in the Queen Anne Stakes.
Although it looks a case of next year for Black Caviar’s international campaign, the horse that has so far given the great mare most to do, STAR WITNESS (Danny O’Brien), leads a contingent of four entries from Down Under as the Australians seek to add a sixth Royal Ascot victory to their remarkable recent record.
Star Witness was beaten just four lengths by Black Caviar when they met in November’s Group One Patinack Farm Classic, a week after his victory in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes. Trainer Danny O’Brien reports there were valid excuses for his no show in the Newmarket Handicap in March and the horse to be in fine form as they prepare to ship to the UK.
Third behind Star Witness in the Coolmore was SHRAPNEL, for Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Mark Kavanagh and the four-year-old was a Group Two winner on his latest start in March.
EAGLE FALLS (David Hayes) won the Group One Oakleigh Plate in February and represents the stable that sent over last year’s King’s Stand Stakes fourth, Nicconi. In third that day was Black Caviar’s stablemate, HINCHINBROOK (Peter Moody), who is the last of the Australian quartet. The latter is in the Golden Jubilee with the others in both Royal Ascot sprints.
OVERDOSE (Josef Roszival), nicknamed the “Budapest Bullet,” has been entered in the King’s Stand Stakes and is arguably the most fascinating of the European (outside UK) entries, which number 67 from Ireland, 39 from France, 4 from Italy and one from Spain across the seven Group Ones.
Amongst the Irish entry is the formerly Australian trained SO YOU THINK (Aidan O’Brien), who is in the Queen Anne and Prince of Wales’s Stakes, whilst there is no doubt that the star French entry is GOLDIKOVA (Freddie Head), who could bid for back to back wins in the Queen Anne Stakes.
Arguably the race of the meeting last year, the Queen Anne could once again serve up a mouth-watering start to Royal Ascot with CANFORD CLIFFS (Richard Hannon), potentially bidding for a hat-trick of wins at the Royal Meeting following victories at two in the Coventry Stakes and at three in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Nick Smith, Head of Communications and International Racing at Ascot, said:
“We’re obviously delighted to have received such strong entries, from all around the world, in quality and quantity terms for the Royal Ascot Group One races. 22 individual horses from outside Europe, many doubly engaged, is a record at the initial stage, and there are also two in the Ribblesdale and we’re hoping to see some two-year-olds from the USA as well.
“The Americans steal the limelight somewhat but it is also particularly pleasing to see three entries from Japan, as we haven’t had a runner from there since 2006, and of course to see the name of Singapore’s star, Rocket Man, amongst the entries.
“Whilst the sprints, bolstered by the Global Sprint Challenge, have obviously attracted the lion’s share of the international entries, the interest in the three-year-old mile showdowns is encouraging.
“The British, French, Irish and wider European interest in the Royal Meeting remains just as important as attracting runners from outside Europe, of course, and it is worth noting that Godolphin have made 44 entries and Aidan O’Brien has made 35.
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