Sunday, 14th Jun 2020
Russian Emperor ran well on his recent reappearance, so can come on for the run and land the 1m 2f Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes for three-year-olds at Royal Ascot on Wednesday (13:50).
Trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien, this son of Galileo has progressed past Iberia after reversing the form of his racecourse debut at The Curragh. He ran green, but stayed on into third over 7f before winning at Naas next time out.
As Russian Emperor needed every yard to get up in the final strides and win that mile maiden on soft going, he wants further this season.
Connections have their eyes on some valuable prizes with him. He only found the front-running Cormorant half-a-length too good in the Group 3 Derrinstown Derby Trial last Tuesday.
Although Russian Emperor kept on well, he just couldn’t reach the enterprisingly ridden winner. The Hampton Court Stakes is no easier, but there is more come from him over this trip.
With top Ballydoyle stable jockey Ryan Moore now on board, everything looks in place for a big run. Russian Emperor can go one better here.
Three colts that ran down the field in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket re-oppose. On that Classic form, the best is fifth home and ratings topper Juan Elcano.
Trained by Kevin Ryan for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, this Frankel colt landed a 7f Haydock maiden with a late run. Juan Elcano has since placed twice at Group 2 level when beaten just a length on both occasions.
He was only four lengths behind Kameko in the 2000 Guineas and ran above his 66/1 starting price. Re-opposing duo New World Tapestry and Kenzai Warrior have plenty to find on their Classic displays.
The Hampton Court Stakes is easier, but there are other dangers. Chief among is the progressive Sir Michael Stoute trained First Receiver.
Owned by Royal Ascot’s patron, the Queen, this New Approach colt left his juvenile runs behind him by bolting up on the all-weather at Kempton by seven lengths on reappearance.
First Receiver was such a ready winner there on 2 June that there’s surely more to come. His royal connections mean business as Frankie Dettori now takes the ride.
That is why First Receiver is also prominent in the betting for this fascinating renewal. Stoute’s stable heads into Royal Ascot in fine form, so a bold bid looks assured.
There was lots to like about Berlin Tango when winning this grade in the Classic Trial at Kempton earlier this month. He looks a solid each-way bet for trainer Andrew Balding and owner George Strawbridge.
Although penalised for that success, the son of Dansili kept on well and was always doing enough. Berlin Tango was 1 1/4 lengths winner over Pyledriver and had some well-regarded sorted in-behind too.
As Group 3 races go, the Hampton Court Stakes is more competitive. Giving 4lb away to all but one of the eight-runner field isn’t easy but Berlin Tango has more to offer at the trip.
Reigning champion Flat jockey Oisin Murphy is back in the saddle, while the Balding stable resumed racing in really good form.
Berlin Tango is the second best horse in this on ratings, so should hit the frame on that basis. The Hampton Court Stakes should leave punters better informed about these three-year-olds and their potential.
Moore and O’Brien could have a supporting race double with Chief Little Hawk in the Listed 5f Windsor Castle Stakes (16:10).
This juvenile contest has a 20-runner field and there is very little form to go on. In Chief Little Hawk, Ballydoyle have an Air Force Blue colt that comfortably won a Navan maiden earlier this month.
He made all after breaking from the stalls well. Punters should be on the lookout for extra places with their bets on the Windsor Castle Stakes.
Another to consider is the Wesley Ward trained filly Sunshine City who has Frankie Dettori aboard in first-time blinkers. The American handler loves having Royal Ascot runners and has won this race twice before.
Other previous winners include Archie Watson’s Mighty Gurkha and the James Tate trained Victory Heights. The Windsor Castle Stakes should provide plenty of clues for the future.