IT’S A POWER START FOR IRELAND: Power by name and power by nature: that’s the double header for Ireland at Royal Ascot today, with Shamrock – aware that Irish racing returns tomorrow – reviewing the Ascot week ahead.
FOUR LAYS IN A ROW: Almadaa (unplaced 4-1) at Roscommon yesterday was Shamrock’s fourth consecutive winning lay. He had eight bets up in one day on Sunday.
TODAY: Sole Power (3.05) was a shock winner of the Nunthorpe Stakes last August at 100-1 and wasn’t even ‘expected’ on his reappearance, when trouncing Kingsgate Native in the Temple Stakes.
It won’t worry Edward Lynam that the horse has failed to capture the imagination in England. Our colourful Meath trainer, who calls Ascot ‘the posh place’, notes that nine horses have done the Temple Stakes and Kings Stand double since the 1970s, and Equiano, who won today’s race last year, was the first winner to be beaten in the Temple since 1988.
Cape Blanco (2.30) and Zoffany (3.45) look booked for second place at best, seemingly punching light against the heavyweights Goldikova and Canford Cliffs, then Frankel.
But I’m taking the plunge (cold shower needed?) with an each-way bet on Zoffany, on the grounds that Aidan O’Brien has already turned around the 2,000 Guineas form with a vengeance with Roderic O’Connor. Zoffany is a crazy 38.0 on Betdaq this morning.
Whatever happens to Zoffany, Ballydoyle has the hot seat in the Coventry, when Power (4.25) has all the credentials in what looks a weak race, having already won a Listed.
The opposition needs to improve merely to reach that level yet this is a Group-2. So he must have a tremendous chance on all known form.
TOMORROW: The Aidan O’Brien trained So You Think (3.45 Royal Ascot) is our star contender on Wednesday in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, which last went to Ballydoyle in 2008 with Duke Of Marmalade.
The ‘Duke’ powered clear by four lengths at even money favourite that day: that much daylight but not that much of a price is envisaged for So You Think, who has spreadeagled his fields in Ireland since coming over from Australia, winning the Mooresbridge by 10 lengths at the Curragh, then following up there with the same change of gears in defeating Campanologist and Famous Name by four and a half and two and a half for the Tattersalls Gold Cup. He was breathtaking.
Jim Bolger has an interesting runner in the Queen Mary (5.00): a Johannesburg filly, Somasach ran very green at Tipperary, being stone last after a furlong, drawn wide. She picked up a treat, once the penny dropped.
Dermot Weld’s Stunning View (4.25) was last on firm ground in a Group 3 recently but that was his first run back and the forecast cut in the ground – he was a good second on soft in a Listed last season – will help his rider, Pat Smullen, in the Royal Hunt Cup.
THURSDAY: Jim Bolger will run that tough-as-a-teak filly Banimpire, three times a Group-3 winner this Spring, if she has recovered from winning Monday’s Noblesse Stakes at Cork.
Kevin Manning reported afterwards that ‘she didn’t have a race’, so the prospects look good for the Ribblesdale Stakes (3.05), the ‘Ascot Oaks’.
Fame And Glory has taken the Yeats route to the Gold Cup (3.45) and is expected to start a hot favourite to land Ballydoyle its fifth triumph in six years. Ireland has taken the prize every year since 2005.
FRIDAY: Maybe it’s also Ballydoyle’s Albany (2.30) with the Galileo filly of that name but readers of this column will know that I was smitten by Teolane, the Teofilo filly, as soon as we met at Naas.
She was too green to do herself justice that day but Jim Bolger has brought her along splendidly to score at Leopardstown (‘never in danger’ says the form book) and back at Naas (‘won readily; reminiscent of Cuis Ghaire’).
The stats say that Together (3.45) has every chance in the Coronation Stakes and Ballydoyle has four in the King Edward, so we should be in the money.
SATURDAY: It’s the Ulster Derby at Down Royal but I shall still have one eye on Ascot, once that multiple-entry-man Mr O’Brien has decided what he’s going to win with! How can they afford all that paper work for entries?
NAP: Power (4.25 Royal Ascot)
NEXT BEST: Sole Power (3.05 Royal Ascot)
OUTSIDER: Zoffany (3.45 Royal Ascot)
DAQ TRIO: Sole Power (3.05 Royal Ascot), Power (4.25 Royal Ascot), Jive Master (8.45 Newton Abbot)