Condon and Foley target Royal Ascot success with Romanised

Aidan O’Brien pitches a dozen runners at Day One of British racing’s showpiece

Aidan O’Brien:  has 12 of the 23 Irish starters on Day One with runners in every race bar the marathon Ascot Stakes. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Aidan O’Brien: has 12 of the 23 Irish starters on Day One with runners in every race bar the marathon Ascot Stakes. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

 

Ken Condon and Shane Foley will hope Romanised can again beat the odds by giving them a first Royal Ascot success when British racing’s showpiece starts on Tuesday.

The 25-1 ‘SP’ Romanised won last month’s Irish 2,000 Guineas at won’t be available for the St James’s Palace Stakes; a colt who’d previously flown under the radar is on everyone’s screen now.

That that has propelled Condon in particular to the forefront of a lot more attention than before Romanised’s shock classic victory is a major plus for long-time fans of the popular Curragh trainer.

But it doesn’t mean the odds still aren’t against a horse emerging from a 35-strong yard to beat the combined might of Europe’s top bloodstock operations with the eyes of much more than the racing world resolutely focused on this corner of Berkshire.

Both Condon and Foley came close to tasting Royal Ascot success in 2014 when Newsletter was third in the Queen Mary and Romanised’s Guineas success sees him officially rated the superior of all nine of his rivals. 

There remains the sense though, probably reflected in many bookmakers making him just third favourite in ante-post betting, that the Romanised camp are gate-crashing Royal Ascot exclusivity.

They’re not alone in that.

Tip Two Win mocked 50-1 odds in the English Guineas to finish best of all behind Saxon Warrior and his trainer Roger Teal is also something of an interloper at Group One level.  

Both horses are behind the likely favourite Without Parole in the betting despite that unbeaten colt never have competed past Listed class. He can though boast the legendary team of Frankie Dettori and John Gosden in his corner. And fashion famously counts at Ascot.

“The formline of Tip Two Win is the best three year old form in Europe,” Gosden said on Monday. “You’ve got an Irish classic winner in there. So to that extent I don’t understand why our horse is favourite.”

Plenty will be willing to bet too on the evidence of Aidan O’Brien’s 61 career Royal Ascot successes to date that either US Navy Flag or Gustav Klimt will conspire to find a way of reversing Curragh form with Romanised.

Ran wide

And even if managing to once again beat Ballydoyle once again there’s still the bitter prospect for Condon & Co of having to beat racing’s other superpower as well.

Godolphin’s Wootton finished ahead of US Navy Flag in the French Guineas despite almost everything that could go wrong doing so.

He missed the break, ran wide and rank off a stacked up pace, yet still managed to finish fourth to Olmedo who Wootton had beaten on his previous start.

Like Romanised, a strong tempo to aim at will be in Wootton’s favour. At current prices the French hope could be the value option even if it means proving something of a spoilsport in the romance stakes.

There are also French runners in each of the two other Group One features on the first of five days in which the best of European flat racing shows itself to the world.

The international element is highlighted by a trio of US runners as well, including the flying Lady Aurelia who will try to repeat her 2017 King’s Stand triumph and make it three Royal Ascot victories in a row.

Aidan O’Brien has 12 of the 23 Irish starters on Day One with runners in every race bar the marathon Ascot Stakes. Willie Mullins who picks up the slack with a vengeance in that race courtesy of five starters.

The jumps maestro has won the Ascot Stakes three times already, each time with Ryan Moore doing the steering. So it looks significant that the Englishman is on board Chelkar.

This ex-Aga Khan runner hasn’t run since October of 2016 when trained in France by Jean-Claude Rouget. Shortly afterwards he was bought by Australian connections for €160,000 as a prospective Melbourne Cup candidate.

Convincing cases can be made for each of Mullins’s four other runners and the prospect of Christophe Soumillon on Whiskey Sour in particular is intriguing. But Moore’s presence on the unexposed one will sway it for many.

By then Moore’s legion of fans will hope to have  been long since in profit considering Sergei Prokofiev has been billed as the latest flying son of Scat Daddy to have the Coventry Stakes at his mercy.

Caravaggio lived up to such billing a couple of years ago. Sergei Prokofiev’s bare form in two wins isn’t particularly convincing. But no one could argue with the style.

 Royal Ascot: 2.30- Recoletos 3.05- Sergei Prokofiev 3.40- Lady Aurelia 4.20- Wootton 5.00- Chelkar 5.35- Kidmenever

 Sligo: 5.50- The Lords Walk 6.20- Monkeylou 6.50- Ice Storm 7.20- St Brelades Bay 7.50- Bracebridge Hall 8.20- Flindt 8.50- Zoffanyia (Nap)

 Nap and Double- Zoffanyia & The Lords Walk

Day One Royal Ascot Irish Trained Runners

2.30 Queen Anne Stakes

Deauville (A O’Brien).........................14-1

Rhododendron (A O’Brien)................5-2 Fav

3.05 Coventry Stakes

Gee Rex (J Hayden)...........................66-1

Indigo Balance (J Harrington)............12-1

No Needs Never (J O’Brien)..............33-1

Sergei Prokofiev (A O’Brien)...............7-4 Fav

The Irish Rover (A O’Brien)...............10-1

3.40- King’s Stand Stakes

Primo Uomo (G O’Leary) ........................66-1

Washington DC (A O’Brien).....................14-1

Battle Of Jericho (A O’Brien)..................66-1

Declarationofpeace (A O’Brien).............33-1

Different League (A O’Brien)...................12-1

4.20- St James’s Palace Stakes

Gustav Klimt (A O’Brien)........................10-1

Romanised (K Condon)...........................9-2

Threeandfourpence (A O’Brien)...........50-1

US Navy Flag (A O’Brien)......................13-2

5.00- Ascot Stakes

Whiskey Sour (W Mullins)....................10-1

Daybreak Boy (H De Bromhead).........33-1

Chelkar (W Mullins)...........................9-2 Fav

Lagostovegas (W Mullins)..................10-1

Stratum (W Mullins)...........................11-2

Meri Devie (W Mullins).........................7-1

5.35- Wolferton Stakes

Yucatan (A O’Brien)..............................8-1

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