Race pundit Alan Thomson has looked across the field for Friday’s Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, live on Sky Sports Racing (4.20), featuring a host of international stars.
This year’s Group One Coronation Stakes, a one-mile race for fillies on the round course, has attracted another cosmopolitan array of horse supermodels.
Jessica Harrington has taken the award to Ireland twice in the last four years thanks to her brilliant duo Alpha Centuri and Alpine Star, and the trainer is represented this year by their Moyglare Stud-winning sibling Discoveries.
However, the fast ground has unfortunately ruled out a performance by Dermot Weld’s Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Homeless Songs.
Nevertheless, much international interest continues with runners from Great Britain, France, Ireland and the United States.
The home side hit the back of the net last year when Andrew Balding broadcast Alcohol Free, and market leader Inspiral is defending its undefeated record for the John Gosden operation this time.
Jockey: James Doyle; Coach: George Boughey
The stable star of George Boughey is still struggling to catch up to Inspiral on their Newmarket run, but her 1,000 Guineas win over Prosperous Voyage and Tuesday should give the owners of Cachet’s Highclere solid grounds for optimism. With 11 runs under her belt, including a trip across the Atlantic for a fourth Breeders’ Cup in Del Mar, she can draw on a wealth of experience.
Shane Foley; Jessica Harrington
Discoveries is a full sister to the brilliant Alpha Centurai and a half sister to Alpine Star, so it’s in the genes. She made little impression (seventh) when tested in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, but may have needed that outing. It’s worth remembering that Discoveries Homeless Songs had a well-beaten fifth-place finish when the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes landed in the Curragh last September. She could be a bit too expensive in this.
Jamie Spencer; John & Thady Gosden
An Ascot winner on his debut and just hit by Fonteyn in a listed match at Dante in York. Very much Gosden’s second string, but open to improvement and an interesting one at a higher price.
Colin Keane; Henry de Bromhead
There was plenty to like about her third in History and Agartha in group three at Leopardstown in early May and although she was still a girl after four starts, she can give a decent record with great odds.
Frankie Dettori; John & Thady Gosden
Frankel, the daughter of the Cheveley Park Stud, has been treated brilliantly and won all four starts as a youngster. She twice defeated the once again opposing Prosperous Voyage, first in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger match and later at the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket, and while the lack of an outing this season could be seen as a negative, those doubts are are not reflected in the bets.
Gerard Mosse; Mikel Delzangles
Pipped Cachet in the French 1,000 Guineas at ParisLongchamp, but it was a messy affair, with two lengths covering the first eight at home. Hit only once in every five starts, Mangoustine would probably welcome a little ease underfoot. Gallic raiders have scored three times in the past seven years via the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained pair of Ervedya and Qemah, plus Watch Me for the Francis-Henri Graffard operation, so the omens are positive.
Jose Ortiz; Christophe Clemens
Pizza Bianca is owned by American celebrity chef Bobby Flay and has been in the stables of Luca Cumani since landing on British soil. She had Cachet back in fourth place when she scored at the Breeders’ Cup in November and proved her training as a three-year-old by winning at Pimlico last month. The mount of the American top jockey Jose Ortiz.
Rob Hoornby; Ralph Beckett
She obviously has some business with Inspiral, but not much, and her close second to Cachet at Newmarket gives Ralph Beckett’s filly the right to respect. A strong end-to-end canter would bring her stamina into play, although the fact that Prosperous Voyage has only had a single win, as she clambered home in Epsom, suggests she could play for a place in this exalted company. .
Throwing the dice
Marco Ghiani; Hilal Kobeissic
A Newbury maiden winner last July, Rolling The Dice formed well in seventh behind Bashkirova in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom, but here is looking from her depth.
David Probert; Andrew Balding
Won her first three starts, all under regular rider David Probert, and her third to Tenebrism at Newmarket can probably be flagged as she was isolated as she came out of booth 2, with high numbers dominated the stands. Sandrine couldn’t get the early pace in the 1,000 Guineas before finishing fifth, so she’s not hopeless here.
William Buick; Graham Motion
Another stars and stripes raider and she remains undefeated after posting wins over Gulfstream (twice) and Keeneland. Spendarella, trained by Englishman Graham Motion, makes an offer to outdo the trainer’s Sharing, Alpine Star runner-up in 2020.
Ryan Moore; Aidan O’Brien
It’s unusual to find an Aidan O’Brien runner so far up the bookmakers’ pecking order, but she was just as mischievous (14/1) when she grouped the Group One Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket last September. 1 won. Ryan Moore’s mount was sent off the favorite for the 1,000 Guineas, but faded to eighth. She could have come in the meantime.
The verdict of Alan Thomson’s great race…
Inspiral brings an unblemished record to this captivating encounter, but she faces a baptism of fire on her seasonal arc. With several companies offering four seats, it may be wise to forgive DISCOVERIES her somewhat disappointing return to action in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Jessica Harrington has a brilliant recent pedigree in this event and while stall 10 isn’t ideal, the Moyglare Stud winner has imagined the pair of Cachet and Prosperous Voyage moored to either side.