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Wednesday, May 20, 2009



A fascinating renewal of the Investec Coronation Cup is in prospect following the scratchings deadline, which sees 18 high-class horses go forward for the £225,000 Group One event, run at Epsom Downs on Investec Ladies Day, Friday, June 5.

Newmarket trainer Sir Michael Stoute boasts a fine record in the mile-and-a-half contest, having scored on four occasions with Saddlers’ Hall (1992), Opera House (1993), Singspiel (1997) and Daliapour (2000). This year the master of Freemason Lodge has two possible starters with Doctor Fremantle, fourth in last year’s Derby and triumphant on his reappearance in the Group Three Huxley Stakes at Chester, and Ask both still engaged.

Ask also made a winning seasonal reappearance, scoring in the 14-furlong Group Two Yorkshire Cup at York on May 15 on his first start beyond a mile and a half. The Sadler’s Wells horse ran well on several occasions in 2008, most notably when a staying-on sixth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Simon Christian, racing manager to Ask’s owner Patrick Fahey, revealed: “The Investec Coronation Cup is definitely the plan for Ask. He has come out of his victory at York in great form and it was nice to win a Group Two race with him. He was just beaten a short-head in a Group One in Canada (in 2007) and it was nice for the owner to get a big race success with him.

“I think the ground suited him better than some of his rivals at York but he doesn’t go on extremes, like the fast ground he encountered twice last summer at Ascot, but he certainly coped with the good to soft going last week. It was nice to start him off with an easy race.

“We had to be very pleased with a couple of his performances last season - he ran extremely well at Longchamp and won a Group Three over 10 furlongs (at Sandown Park). He was a little unlucky at Royal Ascot and he might well have been placed if he wasn’t bumped turning in and then he didn’t run well in the King George.

“In hindsight, he shouldn’t have gone to Newbury at the end of October, so it was a bit of a hit and miss season. With some luck, I hope that he can win a few more races this year.

“I think Mr Fahey has been very fortunate to have a six-year-old with such a good temperament and who is sound. The owner and the trainer take it one step at a time and we are concentrating on Epsom before eying any targets later in the season.”

Aidan O’Brien has won the Investec Coronation Cup three times with Yeats (2005), Scorpion (2007) and Soldier Of Fortune (2008). The one remaining entry from Ballydoyle is the 2008 Irish Derby scorer Frozen Fire, who recently finished third behind Buccellati in the Group Three Ormonde Stakes at Chester when the race developed into a sprint due to no pace for much of the contest. Another possible Irish-trained starter is Casual Conquest, who finished third when favourite for the 2008 Derby.

The Maktoum family’s Godolphin operation could be represented by Eastern Anthem, successful in the Group One Dubai Sheema Classic at Nad Al Sheba in March, and last year’s King Edward VII Stakes victor Campanologist.

A strong European challenge looks likely with three German-trained entries and one entry from France going forward. Peter Schiergen, who saddled Boreal to success in the 2002 Coronation Cup, has left in Kamsin, a triple Group One winner in Germany and Quijano, who was last seen out when sixth behind Eastern Anthem at Nad Al Sheba. The other possible runner from Germany is Adlerflug, last year’s German Derby winner who was an eye-catching third in the Group One Prix Ganay at Longchamp on his seasonal debut. Alain de Royer Dupre supplies the one remaining French-trained entry, The Bogberry. Formerly trained by Aidan O’Brien, The Bogberry joined the Chantilly-based trainer in the second half of last season and ran his best race for current connections when finishing fourth in the Group One Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin in December.

Other interesting contenders include last year’s Oaks heroine Look Here and Youmzain, who finished the three-quarters of a length runner-up behind Soldier Of Fortune in last year’s Coronation Cup. John Gosden has two contenders with impressive Lincoln handicap scorer Expresso Star and the Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber-owned filly Dar Re Mi, who twice finished runner-up in Group One company last season. Cima de Triomphe landed the Italian Derby in 2008 and was sixth in the Prix Ganay on his first start for Luca Cumani, while Scintillo landed the Group Three Winter Derby at Lingfield in March and took second place last time out at Chester behind Buccellati in the Ormonde Stakes.


The £75,000 Investc ‘Dash’ is sure to be a hugely competitive contest with 36 contenders remaining after the first scratchings deadline.

Run over the fastest five furlongs in the world on Investec Derby Day, Saturday, June 6, the Investec ‘Dash’ could feature the likes of Godolphin’s high-class sprinter Dandy Man, while sprint specialist David Nicholls still has no less than eight to choose from.

Another trainer who does well with his sprinters is Henry Candy and he could be represented by Oldjoesaid, who has run with promise on his two starts this season, while the David Barron-trained Jaconet has won his last two starts over the minimum trip and looks on an upward curve.

There are two Irish-trained contenders, including Croisulatan, a winner at Navan on Sunday.

The next scratchings deadline for both the Investec Oaks and the Investec Derby is on Thursday, May 21, and details will be revealed the same day.


J J The Jet Plane, who holds an entry in the Group One Darley July Cup, will work on The Rowley Mile at Newmarket tomorrow, Thursday, May 21.

Trained by Mike de Kock, the five-year-old gelding is a dual Group One winner in his native South Africa and was successful earlier this season at Nad Al Sheba, Dubai.

Champion jockey Ryan Moore will partner J J The Jet Plane in the workout. The horse is expected to arrive at 8.15am with the gallop commencing at 8.30am.

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