3 Royal Ascot Match-Ups That Could Light Up The Week

3 Royal Ascot Match-Ups That Could Light Up The Week
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It's nearly time for Royal Ascot, which is the jewel in the crown of flat racing and here are three match-ups that could light up the week.

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Coroebus v My Prospero - St James’s Palace Stakes, 16:20 Tuesday

If the ball had hopped a little more kindly for Coroebus last season, he would still be unbeaten.

After easily landing a novice stakes at Newmarket’s July Course last August on his racecourse debut, the Godolphin colt was sent off as favourite for the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile a month later.

And it looked like he had the race in the bag when he went clear two furlongs out. But he idled once in the clear, and Royal Patronage got up to beat him by a neck.

Charlie Appleby’s colt did get his group race win in the bag as a juvenile when he ran out an impressive winner of the Autumn Stakes in October, on the back of which he booked his place in the line-up for first colts’ Classic this season, the 2000 Guineas.

He wasn’t the choice of William Buick in the Guineas – Buick really had to ride the unbeaten Native Trail – but, even so, betting sites took no chances with Coroebus, sending him off as the 5/1 third favourite.

Ridden by James Doyle, he kept on well to win the Guineas. He had three parts of a length to spare over his stable companion Native Trail, who added ballast to the form by winning the Irish Guineas at the Curragh three weeks later.

My Prospero has been a slower burn. Beaten in a Newmarket novice stakes on his only run at two, William Haggas’ horse kept on well to win his maiden at Newbury on his debut this season, despite showing signs of greenness.

Sent off as joint favourite with last year’s Solario Stakes winner Reach For The Moon for the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown on the back of that run, he was impressive in winning, keeping on well to get the better of his main market rival inside the final furlong, and going on to win by over a length.

A son of Sea The Stars and a half-brother to My Oberon, he is going to have to improve again if he is going to get up to Coroebus’ level, he has 7lb to find on official ratings, but he is progressive, and the stiff Ascot finish should suit him well.

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Kyprios v Stradivarius - Gold Cup, 16:20 Thursday

Stradivarius is back for more. John and Thady Gosden’s remarkable eight-year-old was thwarted in his bid to emulate the mighty Yeats and land a fourth Ascot Gold Cup last season, when he didn’t have a great run through the race.

But he bounced out of that defeat last season to land the Lonsdale Cup at York for a third time, and the Doncaster Cup at, well, Doncaster, for the second time.

He proved his wellbeing at the age of eight when he stayed on well to win the Yorkshire Cup at York (for the third time) on his debut this season.

If he can win the Gold Cup again on Thursday, in what will probably be his penultimate race, he will do what no other horse has ever done in the 215-year history of the race: winning it three times, then losing it, then winning it again.

In Kyprios, however, he faces a talented whipper-snapper. Half the age of Stradivarius – he was four weeks old when Stradivarius won his first Gold Cup – Aidan O’Brien’s colt was impressive in beating his sister Search For A Song in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan on his debut this season.

He also easily landed odds of 1/10 with horse racing betting sites in the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown last time.

The Moyglare Stud’s horse has never been beyond a mile and six furlongs before in his life, his stamina is not assured, but he is bred to stay.

He went to the line strongly in the Vintage Crop Stakes at the end of a mile and six furlongs, up Navan’s hill. Trained by a man who has won the Gold Cup more often than any other trainer, Kyprios is a worthy favourite.

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Homeless Songs v Inspiral - Coronation Stakes, 16:20 Friday

We haven’t seen Inspiral since she won the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last October, and hopefully she makes it to the Coronation Stakes on Friday where she is the current ante-post favourite, because, if she does, her clash with Homeless Songs will be fascinating.

The Cheveley Park Stud’s filly couldn’t have done any more than she did last season. She stepped up in grade as she progressed, from maiden to listed race to Group 2 May Hill Stakes and on to the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile, and she won all four races that she contested. She looked more and more impressive as she progressed, winning her four races by an aggregate of 11 lengths.

It is a pity that a setback ruled John and Thady Gosden’s filly out of the 1000 Guineas, for which she was favourite over the winter, and connections have had to be patient, but hopefully their patience will be rewarded. With luck we will get to see the unbeaten Frankel filly race again on Friday.

Inspiral will probably have to be at her very best though if she is going to lower the (Moyglare Stud) colours of Homeless Songs. Dermot Weld’s filly was seriously impressive in winning her maiden on her racecourse debut at Leopardstown last July, coming two lengths clear of subsequent Debutante Stakes winner Agartha.

Beaten in her next two races last season, she bounced back to form in the Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on her debut this term, and she was brilliant last time in winning the Irish 1000 Guineas.

Held up towards the rear of the field that day by Chris Hayes, she quickened up like a top-class filly when her rider asked her to, and she saw out the mile well - finishing five and a half lengths clear of Tuesday, who enhanced that form by winning The Oaks at Epsom 12 days later.

Very fast ground would not be ideal for Homeless Songs, but on good, safe flat racing ground, she is the one they all have to beat. She could be a superstar.

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