Europe’s three major 1,000 Guineas winners clash in Friday’s Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and it’s quite likely none will start favourite.
A murky pecking order among the classic generation appears to be getting more opaque all the time and rather than the Guineas trio it might instead be Threading who springs a surprise in the Day Four highlight.
Mark Johnston’s filly didn’t even contest the classics. But that didn’t prevent Without Parole upsetting the applecart in Tuesday’s St James’s Palace and there’s hardly a standout proposition in this fillies equivalent either.
Rather than Jessica Harrington’s Alpha Centauri (Irish 1,000) the shock 66-1 English Guineas winner Billesdon Brook, or the French heroine Teppal, it is Aidan O’Brien’s Clemmie who has topped the betting in the weeks up to this race.
She could finish only ninth to Alpha Centauri at the Curragh, prior to which O’Brien warned he would be delighted if Churchill’s sister even made the first five on her first run back after a setback.
Truth be told her status in the betting probably has as much to do with Clemmie’s connections as the Group One talent she showed as a juvenile. But even with expected improvement from the Curragh factored in O’Brien has warned she will probably need to step up again for this race.
“She needed the run in the Guineas badly. She ran well and just got tired. She had a little bit of a setback and lost a good bit of fitness but she is coming back. She will come forward more after this,” O’Brien has reported.
Even allowing for proven Group One ability in the locker, scoring again at the top level when not yet at a peak is a major ask of any horse so as likely favourites go there have been some this week with a lot more obvious claims than Clemmie.
Alpha Centauri’s credentials for instance look a lot more convincing. The giant grey provided Harrington with a first classic in fine style at the Curragh. That was on good ground and Alpha Centauri is such a big filly an ultra fast surface may not ideal.
There is no doubting her quality though and Harrington said: “She had to do all the hard work herself (at the Curragh) which is never easy because she had to go and chase and potentially was going to drag the other horses into the race. But they could never get to her.”
Alpha Centauri trumps the other Guineas winners on official ratings although both Billesdon Brook and Teppal will be playing on home ground. So, however, will Threading who could be the value betting option for punters.
Lasts year’s Lowther winner has fluctuating form but was very much on a good day when winning a Listed race on fast ground last time. The surface could be a major plus for in comparison to some more garlanded rivals.
Sioux Nation is the Ballydoyle number one for the day’s other Group One, the Commonwealth Cup, and victory for this Scat Daddy colt will make him a very valuable proposition.
Last year’s Norfolk winner is loaded with pace. But so is last season’s Gimcrack hero Sands Of Mali. Richard Fahey’s runner is two from two as a three-year-old and looked to be idling when holding on in last month’s Sandy Lane Stakes.
Ryan Moore had an abundance of Ballydoyle riches to choose form in the Albany and his decision to opt for Just Wonderful over Fairyland will sway many considering the latter was so impressive in beating colts on her last start.
A Johnston rival could prove problematic here too as Main Edition has been impressive in both her starts to date.
It’s Godolphin’s riding arrangements that might prove key to the Sandringham Stakes with William Buick’s presence on Poetic Charm looking significant considering he has also ridden Dathanna.
Buick is also on Walton Street for Godolphin in the concluding Duke Of Edinburg Stakes while the David Simcock-Jamie Spencer team won the King Edward VII with Balios three years ago and have an interesting contender this time too in Highbrow.