One of the season’s highlights, Royal Ascot, kicks off in just a week’s time, and in the run-up to the meeting, we’ve identified the leading contenders from the top stables – with Aidan O’Brien’s best chances next on our list. Check these out below, along with an exclusive new customer offer from FansBet, who are offering an incredible 200% Welcome Bonus Up To £200.
BLACKBEARD – (Coventry Stakes, 3:05pm Tuesday) 4/1
The 270,000 guineas’ first foal out of juvenile winner Muirin, BLACKBEARD is yet to taste defeat in three starts on the track and looks set to go off one of the market leaders in Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes, the first juvenile race contested at Royal Ascot.
Aidan O’Brien’s colt backed up a Dundalk maiden win when claiming Listed honours at the Curragh last month, yet it was his latest victory in the Group 3 Marble Hill back at that venue which really caught the eye.
Sent off the 5/2 second-favourite under Ryan Moore, Blackbeard blasted off in front and was never for catching, ultimately running out a very cosy 3 1/2l winner. The Coventry was reported to be on the agenda after that success, and if able to dominate once again, Blackbeard would be a very dangerous runner.
THE ANTARCTIC – (Windsor Castle Stakes, 5:35pm Wednesday) 6/1 or (Norfolk Stakes, 2:30pm Thursday) 5/1
Aidan O’Brien’s THE ANTARCTIC has a couple of possible engagements at Royal Ascot next week, with the colt towards the top of the betting for both Wednesday’s Windsor Castle Stakes and Thursday’s Norfolk Stakes.
An impeccably bred full brother to the blisteringly fast Battaash, it is no real surprise that The Antarctic went through the sales ring at 750,000 guineas as a yearling.
Sent off the 6/4F on debut at Tipperary in April, The Antarctic showed a good attitude to get up late on, and he supplemented that at Naas next time out when conceding weight to his three rivals. Aidan O’Brien suggested afterwards that it was the Norfolk, rather than the Windsor Castle, which would be on the agenda for The Antarctic at Royal Ascot – he strikes as the type with the scope for plenty of improvement.
KYPRIOS – (Gold Cup, 4:20pm Thursday) 7/2
Aidan O’Brien has trained seven Ascot Gold Cup winners, more than anyone else past or present, and he’ll be hoping that KYPRIOS can bring up number eight next week.
This Galileo colt runs in the silks of Moyglare Stud and has managed to win four of his previous six starts on the track.
An unblemished 2-2 this campaign (both victories coming over 1m6f), Kyprios booked his ticket for the Ascot Gold Cup with a 14l demolition in the Group 3 Levmoss Stakes at Leopardstown last month.
A full brother to the likes of Falcon Eight and Search For A Song, there’s an abundance of stamina in Kyprios’s pedigree, and that would suggest that this dour 2m4f Gold Cup trip could prove right up his street. Although he lacks the race experience of the likes of Trueshan and Stradivarius, some bookmakers have him as the outright favourite to land next Thursday’s feature contest.
STATUETTE – (Albany Stakes, 2:30pm Friday) 9/4
You won’t get many better-bred fillies running at Royal Ascot next week than STATUETTE, who is by American Triple Crown winner Justify and the fifth foal out of 2011 Coronation Stakes winner Immortal Verse.
Statuette is a close relation to last year’s impressive Cheveley Park winner Tenebrism, and she suggested that she could ultimately make up into a Group 1 winning juvenile herself when laughing at her eight rivals in a Navan maiden on debut last month.
Backed into favouritism that day against an Amo Racing filly which had cost 460,000 guineas at the Breeze-Ups and had the benefit of previous race experience, Statuette was merely shaken up to run out a 3l winner, showing just why the market spoke so favourably.
Statuette hit the line there like a filly that would relish the extra half-furlong of next Friday’s Albany Stakes, and it’ll be interesting to see how the market reacts to her chances this time around.
ALFRED MUNNINGS – (Chesham Stakes, 2:30pm Saturday) 11/10
Aidan O’Brien’s assault on the Royal Ascot juvenile races continues into Saturday with ALFRED MUNNINGS, a horse expected to go off a very short price for the opening Chesham Stakes.
A half-brother to the ill-fated three-time Group 1 winner Snowfall, and just the third foal out of a Group 3 winning full sister to the 2016 Arc winner Found, Alfred Munnings is certainly bred for the job and it was no real surprise therefore to see him backed into 8/11F for a Leopardstown maiden on debut last month.
Alfred Munnings could hardly have won more impressively that day, and although the standard of opposition can be questioned, Alfred Munnings showed a smart turn of foot when given a tap of the whip by rider Ryan Moore.
Already as short as 11/10 for the Chesham Stakes on the back of that victory, Alfred Munnings could be set to go off one of the shortest-priced favourites of the entire week.
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