Tuesday, 16th Jun 2020
Middleham trainer Mark Johnston and jockey Frankie Dettori teamed up for juvenile success at Royal Ascot last year, so those connections are of interest and behind Eye Of Heaven in the 5f Group 2 Norfolk Stakes there on Friday (14:25).
This Exceed And Excel colt only needed pushing out towards the finish for a three-quarters of a length victory at Newmarket earlier this month.
As with other juvenile races at the meeting, there is very little form to go on. The market sides with Eye Of Heaven, but a case can made for a few.
Lippizzaner is still a maiden after two starts for Aidan O’Brien, but the Irish trainer is known for developing his two-year-olds.
He only got headed near the finish when stepped up to 6f last time out. Lippizzaner went down fighting by half-a-length. That experience could be key for the Norfolk Stakes.
Impressive Yarmouth winner The Lir Jet made virtually all on his sole start over the trip. Trained by Michael Bell for Qatar Racing, he came clear in the final furlong.
The Norfolk Stakes is obviously a step up on that, but The Lir Jet should have nothing to fear from the re-opposing third.
Trainer Archie Watson has resumed racing in Britain in fine form, so Jojo Rabbit is one to consider each-way.
This Due Diligence colt has progressed on the all-weather and now switches to the turf. He came on for his racecourse debut at Lingfield when second by going one better at Wolverhampton.
Jojo Rabbit led when travelling well two out and only needed pushing out before scooting 4 1/4 lengths clear. The ready nature of his victory there suggests he is well worth his place in the Norfolk Stakes.
At double figure odds and some bookies paying an extra place, Jojo Rabbit looks worth backing to make the frame.
In the other juvenile contest, the 6f Group 3 Albany Stakes for fillies (13:50), American raider Flying Aletha appeals.
Trained by Wesley Ward who targets Royal Ascot, this daughter of Tiznow made all and bolted up by 5 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream Park on her sole start.
That runaway success over a stable companion sent off odds-on suggests that Flying Aletha is above average. The Albany Stakes requires further progress, but these fillies should all come on for their past runs.
Mother Earth, meanwhile, represents the O’Brien stable over from Ireland. She was a running on second to Frenetic in a Navan maiden last week.
The daughter of Zoffany is not the usual Coolmore bloostock. There is no Galileo in her pedigree, so speed rather than stamina is what Mother Earth should have to offer.
Other previous winners include Golden Melody. Trained by William Haggas, the daughter of Belardo only needed pushing out by James Doyle for victory in a Haydock maiden.
That came on good-to-soft ground which may be the best going she can hope for at Royal Ascot with rain forecast.
Golden Melody scored by 2 1/4 lengths, so these conditions shouldn’t be a problem for her.
She looks a solid each-way bet in a wide-open renewal of the Albany Stakes. If stamina comes into play, then Roger Varian second string Undertake could also make the frame.
An all-weather winner at Lingfield earlier this month, the Cheveley Park Stud owned Kodiac filly led towards the finish.
While the stable also have Setarhe in the line-up and Andrea Atzeni aboard that one, David Egan is now aboard. Undertake is a double figure price for the Albany Stakes and may hit the frame.