Tuesday, 02nd Jun 2020
Master Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has won the 1m 4f Group 1 Coronation Cup a record eight times, so Classic hero Anthony Van Dyck looks a value bet in Friday’s feature race at Newmarket (15:35).
Although usually run on Epsom Downs, this contest switches to the Rowley Mile. In Anthony Van Dyck, Ballydoyle handler O’Brien has a Derby winner that loves ground on the firmer side.
While the four-year-old Galileo colt handled a softer surface when landing the Lingfield Derby Trial on reappearance last term, his trainer is adamant he wants better going.
Anthony Van Dyck followed-up on that with victory in the premier Classic itself. He was twice denied a clear run, but still got up and stayed on for a half-length win over Madhmoon.
The form has taken plenty of knocks since, but Anthony Van Dyck is clearly better on good and good-to-firm ground. In a farcical Irish Derby where likely pacemaker Sovereign had far too much rope, he couldn’t reach the winner.
Anthony Van Dyck didn’t handle softer conditions when a disappointing tenth in the King George at Ascot. He shaped better when third to stable companion Magical when down in trip for the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
As Anthony Van Dyck filled the same spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita, he should confirm form with the re-opposing Alounak. He appeals most in a trappy renewal of the Coronation Cup.
Godolphin and their retained trainer Charlie Appleby have Ghaiyyath running in this. The son of Dubawi has a lightly-raced profile for a five-year-old.
He missed most of his Classic year, but showed he retained plenty of ability with a Group 3 success in the autumn of 2018.
Ghaiyyath has done well overseas and made a winning reappearance at Longchamp in the Prix d’Harcourt on the upgrade last term.
Although beaten by subsequent Arc hero Waldgeist in the Prix Ganay, he did win a Group 1 in Germany by 14 lengths. So commanding was his victory that jockey William Buick eased him down to the line.
However, Ghaiyyath didn’t back it up in the Arc when returning to Longchamp. He has since breezed to an 8 1/2 legnths success in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan.
The Coronation Cup demands more, though. Although Ghaiyyath should confirm Dubai form with veteran Desert Encounter, he hasn’t won back-to-back races in the same season since his juvenile campaign.
Punters should take him on despite his status as favourite here. Anthony Van Dyck looks better value on the pick of their form.
Dual champion stayer Stradivarius gets an outing en route to the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. This is the sharpest trip he has run over in three years, though.
John Gosden’s stable star is a six-year-old now and suffered a narrow defeat by Kew Gardens when last in action. However, Stradivarius is a proven Group 1 performer which precious few of the Coronation Cup field can claim.
A three-time winner of the Goodwood Cup over an easy 2m, he has also won three starts at 1m 6f. This trip is plenty sharp enough for him, but Bjorn Nielsen’s horse has the second highest rating in the seven-runner field.
Stradivarius won’t be given a hard time by regular jockey Frankie Dettori here. This isn’t the target but, against some disappointing and vulnerable sorts, he could run into the frame.
Defoe won the Coronation Cup 12 months ago and followed-up in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. Roger Varian’s grey gelding suffered defeats both subsequent starts, though, and has struggled for consistency.
Other O’Brien runner Broome has the longest layoff to overcome here. It’s for that reason that Anthony Van Dyck over this trip and in these conditions appeals most.