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Coventry Stakes preview

My turn to have a go and I do love the juvenile races at Royal Ascot. So many horses coming in off one or two very promising runs, and you know there will be several being backed. I doubt there have been many ordinary 2yos win the Coventry Stakes. To do the form properly on 2yos, I strongly urge you to watch replays - you can get them all for free on AtTheRaces.com for their tracks, and SportingLife.com for the Racing UK courses.

Coventry Stakes

Artigiano- third on debut behind Funk Soul Brother at York, then took a significant step forward with a facile win at Leicester. Not sure what he beat, but it was impressive. In three seasons of training in Britain, Mahmood Al Zarooni's record with 2yos is top notch - strike rate of 19% with a level stake profit of £82.79 (344 runners).

Baddilini - not up to these, as noted in his price.

Cristoforo Columbo - Ballydoyle hype horse, decent win on debut but they did run very slow time for a good track. First choice from a stable with great juvenile stocks, but I don't see value in the price on what I've seen.

Dark Emerald - marked improvement from his debut when running second to Olympic Glory at Goodwood recently. Not from a big stable, will be a massive price, could sneak a place.

Dawn Approach - boom colt from Ireland, and the best advertisement a new stallion (New Approach) can have with his first crop. Hard to line up the quality of what has been behind him, last time he beat Mister Marc, one of Richard Hannon's fleet who is nominated for the Norfolk later in the week. The margin was 2.75L over a horse who beat the aforementioned Dark Emerald by 8L at his previous run. Tennessee Wildcat has run third behind him twice, and he is nothing flash. Drawn the middle, should be ideal.

Englishman - sensational win on debut at Newbury back in April, weaving his way through the field and flying home. Five different winners coming out of that race since, and the second horse, Smoothtalkinrascal runs in the Windsor Castle later in the day - keep an eye on him. This colt was the most impressive of this field from the tapes, but the 60 days off is a concern - surely he'd want a lead-up run for such a high pressure race? Apparently he had a slight setback a few weeks ago, but he still has the stable number one aboard. However, there's a rumour going around that move is a foil to hold up the price on the stablemate...

Funk Soul Brother - wouldn't you love to hear the Royal Ascot racecaller trying to throw in the same lines as Stewart Machin at York... "Right about now Funk Soul Brother makes his challenge...." He won with a bit in hand that day, and the stable have a high regard for him. The runner-up has since flopped, but the third horse was Artigiano who has since gone out a donkey-licked a reasonable field.

Heavy Metal - dual winner (from four starts) by Aussie sire Exceed and Excel. I recall one of James Pyman's theories last season about this breed batting above their average down the Ascot straight. Might have been a shade unlucky at Epsom in the Woodcote, it's a hard track to adapt to, especially if away from the rail and as he was moving up alongside Chilworth Icon down the straight, the other horse was wobbling like a drunken sailor, which could distract an inexperienced colt. Big price.

Indian Jade - has won two from two and trained by the 2yo king of the north, Kevin Ryan. Handy, but can't see him adding another picket to the fence here.

Jubilee Brig - only a length behind Ceiling Kitty at Kempton on debut, but hasn't progressed since. Not for me.

King Dragon - 25/1 on debut, running third in an average maiden. Big step up here.

Leitir Mor - the Irish benchmark, having run second to one of Aidan O'Brien's colts each time. Close up behind Lines of Battle two starts ago, but doubt this one has as much scope to improve.

Lines of Battle - was pushed by Leitir Mor on debut but always looked to have something in reserve. Booking of Ryan Moore suggests they aren't really sure which is the better horse between Lines of Battle and Cristoforo Columbo. This one's a better price.

Living Desert - beaten at Yarmouth on debut in very slow time. No chance.

Master of War - won very easily at Haydock at his second start. Just another of the multi-pronged Richard Hannon attack, this one is no slouch and the price of 100 on Betfair looks ridiculous.

Mrs Brown's Boy - £5k yearling purchase whose owners will be here for a good time, not a long time. No hope.

New Pearl - beaten at 1/6 last time, by Indian Jade in a three-horse race. That was a Class 2 at Pontefract though, decent for this level, but has a lot to improve to be in the finish here.

Olympic Glory - impressive at Goodwood, forging through the field along the stands rail to win clearly. Jockey bookings would suggest he is stable third string.

Party Royal - decent run on debut when didn't like Chester too much, then won with plenty in hand at Ayr. Form not particularly strong out of that, but had a lot left in the tank. One for exotics (if they were available in the UK!).

Sir Prancealot - was hoping this one would line up in another race as I'd found something else in this one, and I seriously rate this colt. Very, very impressive at Sandown, boxed in behind the leaders then found a gap and exploded clear. Drawn the grandstand side if any bias emerges.

The Taj - easy win at Doncaster on debut in quite blustery conditions. Looked impressive, but time slow, probably due to the headwind. Close to Sir Prancealot on the stands rail.

Top Boy - well beaten by Sir Prancealot last time at Sandown, can't see him reversing the form here.

Whitfield - was backed from 4/6 into 1/2 on debut in a Cl6 Auction Maiden race at Newcastle but could only finish third, beaten 5.5L. Have to assume it has been showing something better at home from this stable, but asking a lot here.

SELECTIONS

I nominated Funk Soul Brother at a preview luncheon on the weekend, and despite the inclusion of Sir Prancealot, I'll stick to my guns. Happy to take on the Irish runners, and if you are looking for value in the placepot, Heavy Metal, Master of War and Party Royal could knock a few tickets out.

Funk Soul Brother
Sir Prancealot
Englishman
Heavy Metal
Master of War
Party Royal
The Taj
Lines of Battle
Dark Emerald


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