International entries continue to figure prominently in Royal Ascot’s two Group One Sprints following the 25 May forfeits deadline.
Kinsale King (Carl O’Callaghan) is set to follow up his victory for the USA in the Dubai Golden Shaheen back in March with an ambitious raid on the Golden Jubilee Stakes.
Hong Kong is expected to be doubly represented in the Golden Jubilee Stakes with Joy And Fun (Derek Cruz), winner of the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai, and Happy Zero (John Moore), successful in the Group One Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup at home in March and second to Good Ba Ba in the Group One Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile in December.
The duo warmed up for their Royal Ascot challenge in the Group One KrisFlyer International Sprint at Kranji, Singapore, on May 16 with Happy Zero finishing a flying third and Joy And Fun coming home sixth on unsuitably soft ground.
Australia’s principal contender for the Golden Jubilee Stakes is Alverta (Paul Messara), following victory in the Group One Coolmore Classic in March.
Compatriot Nicconi (David Hayes), winner of the Group One Coolmore Lightning Stakes at Flemington in January, the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, has the King’s Stand Stakes as his primary target but remains in the Golden Jubilee.
Australia’s third planned Royal Ascot representative, Gold Trail (Gary Portelli), winner of the Group One Railway Stakes at Ellerslie in January, looked to have stolen the Kris-Flyer International Sprint but faded to fourth over the six furlong trip and is expected to go very close in the shorter King’s Stand Stakes.
Australian import, Starspangledbanner, fourth to Nicconi in the Lightning and a subsequent winner of the Group One Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield, remains a possible Golden Jubilee Stakes runner for Aidan O’Brien.
He finished fifth to Prime Defender (Barry Hills) in the Group Two Duke Of York Stakes on his European debut and also still has the Queen Anne Stakes as an option at Royal Ascot.
A total of five French-trained horses remain engaged across the two sprints, including 2008 Darley July Cup winner, Marchand D’Or (Mikel Delzangles), whilst Sweden could be represented in the King’s Stand Stakes by Alcohuaz (Lennart Reuterskiold), a winner of a Listed race in Germany in October.
Fleeting Spirit (Jeremy Noseda), entered in both races, found only Scenic Blast too good in last year’s King’s Stand Stakes before going on to win the July Cup. Kingsgate Native (Sir Michael Stoute), winner of the Golden Jubilee Stakes in 2008, was the impressive winner of the Group Two Temple Stakes at Haydock Park on 22 May, when he had the 2008 King’s Stand Stakes victor Equiano (Barry Hills) half a length back in second.
Dual Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes winner Borderlescott (Robin Bastiman) finished third in that contest and is still engaged in the King’s Stand Stakes.
Away from legs two and three of the Global Sprint Challenge at Royal Ascot, other entries in the Group One races from outside Europe are made up of the South African-trained Mourilyan (Herman Brown) in the Gold Cup and the American-trained Noble’s Promise (Kenny McPeek) in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Kenny McPeek is no stranger to Ascot, having sent over Hard Buck from America to finish second in the 2004 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Noble’s Promise was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year and ran a good race to finish fifth of the 20 starters in this year’s Kentucky Derby on his latest start on 1 May.
His presence against the very best European-trained three year old colts in the St James’s Palace Stakes will provide a fascinating transatlantic head to head.
Wesley Ward, responsible for a pair of two year old winners at last year’s Royal Meeting and Golden Jubilee Stakes second Cannonball, is planning another visit this year.