Tuesday, 16th Jun 2020
The feature race at Royal Ascot on Friday is the 6f Group 1 Commonwealth Cup for three-year-olds (15:35), and Golden Horde has been laid out for it.
Trained by Clive Cox, this Lethal Force colt won three of his first four starts last season. Golden Horde also ran a big race in defeat when beaten only two lengths into fifth at this meeting.
That came in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes over course and distance. Regular jockey Adam Kirby dropped his reins at a crucial stage.
Golden Horde also came out and reversed form with the runner-up, Threat, next time out at Glorious Goodwood. He also finished in front of Coventry scorer Arizona when third in the Prix Morny on desperate ground at Deauville.
As Golden Horde improved on that effort to finish just a neck runner-up to Earthlight in the Middle Park at Newmarket, his juvenile form reads well.
Of all the colts in this year’s Commonwealth Cup, he tops ratings on a mark of 114. If running up to that, then Golden Horde should be involved in the finish.
This is a typically competitive renewal and heading the betting is the unbeaten Pierre Lapin. Trained by Roger Varian for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, the Cappella Sansevero colt won his Haydock maiden going away.
It marked Pierre Lapin out as one to follow, but he only ran again once last season. He made a ready step up unto Group 2 company and followed-up in the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.
The speed Pierre Lapin showed in those two starts means he will be hard to peg back. He is an obvious danger with tons of scope to get even better.
However, both of his outings came on good-to-firm ground. If the rain comes as forecast, then the going is an unknown with this favourite.
Will it blunt the pace of Pierre Lapin? Only time will tell and there are other dangers, including American raider Kimari.
Trained by Wesley Ward, this filly ran a stormer when just beaten a head by Raffle Prize in the Group 2 Queen Mary last year. Kimari has since won three of her four starts.
Two of those have come in black type races on her side of the Atlantic. Ward loves to have runners at Royal Ascot and clearly means business with Kimari as Frankie Dettori now takes the ride.
Master Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien runs four in the Commonwealth Cup. Of the Ballydoyle quartet, the market speaks for Lope Y Fernandez. He is quickly turned out after placing third in the Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh.
Jessica Harrington bemoaned good-to-firm ground denting the Classic bid of Millisle earlier this month. Now back in trip and set to get softer going, this Irish raider is each-way value.
The daughter of Starspangledbanner beat Raffle Prize by 1 3/4 lengths in the Group 1 Cheveley Park at Newmarket last autumn.
This is now a recovery mission for Millisle. She ran no sort of ace in the 1000 Guineas on reappearance and only came seventh.
Harrington replaces Oisin Murphy with Tom Marquand now aboard, and the drop down in distance should suit. It could be worth forgiving Millisle that recent run.
She tops Commonwealth Cup official ratings on a mark of 115. Like Kimari, this filly gets a 3lb sex allowance from the boys.
If running up to that, then Millisle could easily bounce back and hit the frame. Double figure odds are tempting.