Sports

Royal Ascot: Sky Sports Racing’s Kieran O’Sullivan looks at all 27 runners for Saturday’s Platinum Jubilee Stakes

Royal Ascot’s final day features a stunning field of 27 in the Group One Platinum Jubilee Stakes and Sky Sports Racing’s Kieran O’Sullivan has cast his expert eye over every single one.

Of all the top-class races at Ascot, the Platinum Jubilee Stakes (and perhaps the King’s Stand) has become the most targeted race for international horses.

Open to four-year-olds and upwards, it has a history of attracting the best from across the world, especially from the US and Australia.

The latter particularly flourished in Ascot sprints in the noughties, with superstars like Miss Andretti, Takeover Target and Scenic Blast taking out the King’s Stand, while Cape Of Good Hope (albeit for an Aussie based in Hong Kong) won the then Golden Jubilee – and, of course, Choisir who won both in the same year. Oh, and after that there was a certain Black Caviar.

So there was a real sense of deja vu when Nature Strip bolted up on Tuesday, which had the effect of immediately causing a collapse in the price of his much younger stablemate Home Affairs for this.

In recent years, the winner has come from the top end of the market and the low end of the draw. That said, it is notable that the speediest horses for this year’s renewal are drawn mid to high.

A Case Of You

Jockey: Ronan Whelan; Trainer: Ado McGuinness

His form at the Breeders’ Cup hinted that six furlongs on quick ground would be ideal and he did win the Abbaye on heavy in the dying strides. A little disappointing in the Greenlands after an excellent effort in Meydan, but entitled to be in shake-up on his best form. However, the trainer is yet to have a horse placed in 11 efforts at Ascot.

Image:
A Case Of You with jockey Ronan Whelan and trainer Adrian McGuinness after winning the Prix de l’Abbaye

Artorius

J: Jamie Spencer, T: Anthony Freedman

Rated 8lb inferior to the more-fancied Aussie runner Home Affairs, but certainly not without a chance. He boasts a very different profile though, as six furlongs is the short end of what he thrives on as illustrated when flying home for third behind Home Affairs in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington and flying past him in the Newmarket Handicap at the same track last time (albeit in receipt of 11lb). On the latter occasion, he also finished close to Kiwi dual Group One winner Levante as the pair raced away from the pace. He won’t be sighted early, but should certainly be there at the finish.

Creative Force

J: William Buick, T: Charlie Appleby

Charlie Appleby won this with Blue Point in 2019 and Creative Force has given plenty of evidence of his abilities to do likewise. He won twice here last season, and while both were on a softer surface, he has won a couple of times in handicaps on quicker ground. The son of Dubawi returned lame in the Gulf when last seen but has plenty of upside and is lightly-raced for his age.

Diligent Harry

J: Adam Kirby, T: Clive Cox

Fantastic trainer of sprinters, who won this nine years ago. A lack of confirmed form at the highest level is a worry but will gallop all the way to the line and fast ground will help his cause.

Dragon Symbol

J: David Egan, T: Roger Varian

Demoted to second in last year’s Commonwealth Cup on heavy going but proved he wasn’t ground dependent when an excellent runner-up in the July Cup on good to firm. A poor run on seasonal return for new stable but a promising effort over shorter at Haydock suggested a step back up would suit. Has been friendless in the market all week but could outrun his price. The strong pace here should help given his keenness of late.

Dragon Symbol is first past the post in the Commonwealth Cup but Campanelle (near side) gets the race in the stewards' room
Image:
Dragon Symbol is first past the post in the 2021 Commonwealth Cup but Campanelle (near side) gets the race in the stewards’ room

Emaraarty Ana

J: Andrea Atzeni, T: Kevin Ryan

Turned over the July Cup winner Starman to win the Sprint Cup at Haydock on quick ground in September but has only managed a couple poor efforts at Meydan so far this year. He has never raced at Ascot but has plenty of ability if Kevin Ryan can recapture his previous sparkle. Certainly worth watching in the market late on.

Garrus

J: Ryan Moore, T: Charlie Hills

While not bred purely for speed across his pedigree, he has some decent form. The Acclamation gelding was unlucky not to finish closer than fifth in this last year when running on following some trouble at a key time, although he was drawn favourably as the low numbers dominated the race. Fine run in the Abernant at Newmarket, but this looks significantly stronger.

Glen Shiel

J: Hollie Doyle, T: Archie Watson

It’s been a fine week for the stable already, having won the Coventry and grabbing two big-priced placed efforts to boot. However, although he’s tough, Glen Shiel’s best efforts have come on easier ground, most notably when chasing home Creative Force in the Sprint Stakes here in October and when winning the same race in 2020.

Hollie Doyle will be reunited with Glen Shiel at Royal Ascot next week
Image:
Hollie Doyle will be reunited with Glen Shiel at Royal Ascot on Saturday

Great Ambassador

J: Richard Kingscote, T: Ed Walker

Has gone up 20lb since shifting to Ed Walker’s yard, managing third in the Steward’s Cup and a win in the Garrowby Stakes. However, this is a marked step up, although the ground and distance won’t be an issue.

Grenadier Guards

J: Cristian Demuro, T: Mitsumasa Nakauchida

The Japanese are making a serious impact around the world, but it has mainly been at middle distances and there is a feeling that he’ll need further. He has a Grade Two victory over seven furlongs to his name, but this could all happen a bit too quickly for him. Will be doing his best work late in the day.

Gustavus Weston

J: Gary Carroll, T: John Murphy

Yet to rise from the ashes of his Phoenix win at the Curragh last summer but showed a hint of promise last time out in the Midsummer Stakes over shorter. Will need a serious return to form to feature, but is at least drawn near the pace.

Happy Power

J: P.J. McDonald, T: Andrew Balding

Arguably his best display when finishing best of the near-side group, in spite of meeting trouble in running, in the Sprint Stakes here in October. Has a decent record over course and distance and likes the ground. The trainer is a genius at getting big-priced runners into the frame, as evidenced by the Derby (twice!).

Happy Power's last victory came in the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket in October
Image:
Happy Power wins the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket

Home Affairs

J: James McDonald, T: Chris Waller

Leaps off the page courtesy of his defeat of stablemate and impressive King’s Stand winner Nature Strip back home in Australia, although it should be noted that the latter missed the break completely on that occasion. However, Home Affairs still posted excellent sectionals that day and is clearly the one to beat. If there is a worry, it would be his tame effort in a high-class handicap last time out, although that could be tempered a little by a big weight and being drawn away from the pace for that spin.

King’s Lynn

J: David Probert, T: Andrew Balding

A little unlucky in last year’s King’s Stand but no excuses on Tuesday. The return to 6f may be a positive, although his career best came over five furlongs when winning the Temple Stakes. Trainer more than capable, especially with big-priced runners, as shown in the Ascot Stakes. Also interesting that he turns out so quickly having done the same last year when finishing third in the Wokingham.

King's Lynn and David Probert return in triumph
Image:
King’s Lynn and David Probert

Kinross

J: Frankie Dettori, T: Ralph Beckett

Beat Creative Force over seven furlongs in the Lennox and was unlucky not to be closer over today’s course and distance in October. However, his best form seems to be on a softer surface – has only raced once on good to firm. Eye-catching jockey-booking, but something to find under these conditions.

Minzaal

J: Jim Crowley, T: Owen Burrows

Only three runs since his fine effort in the Middle Park in September 2020, the pick of which was here in October. He was no match for Creative Force that day but has so few miles on the clock that improvement is certainly possible. He was ridden prominently last time and the first-time cheekpieces might suggest a similar tactic once again.

Naval Crown

J: James Doyle, T: Charlie Appleby

Another to have run Creative Force close here, this time in the Jersey Stakes last summer. Several other runs over seven furlongs have indicated a drop to 6f might suit, and he ran on well behind A Case Of You in Dubai over the shorter trip. Will need the pace to collapse a bit, but that is very possible given the wealth of early zip here.

Run To Freedom

J: Dane O’Neill, T: Henry Candy

Nice return to form at Windsor at Listed level last time, having run well enough in spite of himself in the Abernant. This is a big step up on all previous races though, and he’d need to improve significantly to land a serious blow.

Alcohol Free

J: Rob Hornby, T: Andrew Balding

Sussex Stakes winner who ran well enough behind Baaeed at Newbury, but most of her form is over further and she might find the early pace a little frenetic. However, she has raced freely in the past and the pace of the race could help her to settle. In addition, she won the Cheveley Park over six furlongs on decent ground. If she’s close enough a couple of furlongs from home, she’d be a significant danger.

Murphy parades Alcohol Free in front of the Goodwood crowd after winning the Sussex Stakes
Image:
Oisin Murphy parades Alcohol Free in front of the Goodwood crowd after winning the Sussex Stakes

Campanelle

J: Irad Ortiz Jr, T: Wes Ward

Landed a second Royal Ascot victory when winning the Commonwealth Cup at the expense of Dragon Symbol last year, on ground that most people felt wouldn’t be ideal for her. She was disappointing at Deauville but bounced back in style last time out in Kentucky. Irad Ortiz Jr hasn’t had the greatest of weeks, so has a point to prove.

Double Or Bubble

J: Jack Mitchell, T: Chris Wall

Had a few of these in behind in the Abernant last time, having consistently gone close at that level. This is much tougher though, and she’ll have to post a career best to get involved.

Happy Romance

J: Sean Levey, T: Richard Hannon

Tremendously consistent, likes quick ground, and hit the line running in Meydan for second spot most recently. She was well beaten here last year but the ground wouldn’t have helped. She has a bit to find on bare form with some more fancied runners, but certainly has conditions to suit. Could run into contention late on.

Highfield Princess

J: Jason Hart, T: John Quinn

Raised a few eyebrows when turning over a host of these at York last month, but there didn’t seem to be any fluke about it. She raced close to the pace that day, which may be a tougher ask this time out, but clocked some pretty sharp sectionals in doing so. She has won here over seven furlongs previously and has been well backed during the week.

Sacred

J: Tom Marquand, T: William Haggas

Below par in the Cheveley Park in 2020, she bounced back nicely to win the Nell Gwyn before a decent effort in last year’s 1,000 Guineas. Very good victory at Group Two level last time shows she’s in fine fettle and her close second behind Campanelle here a couple of years ago gives plenty of cause for optimism.

Umm Kulthum

J: Colin Keane, T: Richard Fahey

Dangerous to write off anything from this yard as we saw in the Norfolk, and her Newmarket win confirmed some of the ability she displayed as a two-year-old. There remains a doubt as to whether rattling fast ground would be ideal, but it’s hard to guess where her ceiling may be.

Vadream

J: Danny Tudhope, T: Charlie Fellowes

Seemed one of the unluckiest behind Creative Force here in October, but she can be hard to get right. She was disappointing on her seasonal reappearance but is entitled to come on for that run at York and has an excellent record at Ascot – albeit mostly on easier ground.

Ventura Diamond

J: Joe Fanning, T: Richard Fahey

Nice run here behind Valdream at Group Three level in October but found the step up in class in the Champion Sprint Stakes a little too much a fortnight later. Not a million miles off that day and shouldn’t mind the ground too much.

Kieran O’Sullivan’s big-race verdict…

A whole host of these could run well at likely odds, including Sacred, Minzaal, Emeraaty Ana, Highfield Princess, Dragon Symbol and Alcohol Free, but this race should go the way of the Aussies. Home Affairs has a spectacular profile and collateral form, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if ARTORIUS picked him up late under Jamie Spencer at a decent price.



File source

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button
Close