Friday 24 March 2017

Frankel primed for assault on Palace

Frankel after winning The Qipco 2000 Guineas
Frankel after winning The Qipco 2000 Guineas

Thomas Kelly

Frankel tops 13 six-day declarations for the St James' Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot next Tuesday.

Henry Cecil's brilliant English 2,000 Guineas winner is the star turn in a mouthwatering Group One contest that has also attracted Dream Ahead and Wootton Bassett, which were both forced to miss the Newmarket Classic. Dubawi Gold, second in the both the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas, is set to reoppose.

Aidan O'Brien has left in Alexander Pope and Zoffany, while Grand Prix Boss is a fascinating runner from Japan and Temps Au Temps will represent France. Runaway German 2,000 Guineas winner Excelebration, Fury, Neebras, Rerouted and Tazahum complete the field.

Mickael Barzalona is set to take on another starring role at Royal Ascot next week when he rides Delegator for Godolphin in the Golden Jubilee Stakes. It is arguably the most significant jockey booking of the meeting.

Barzalona (19) hit the headlines last Saturday when riding Pour Moi to victory in the Derby at Epsom -- standing bolt upright in the irons and celebrating before crossing the line.

Godolphin moved quickly to secure Barzalona for Delegator when Frankie Dettori was banned for the final two days of the Royal meeting.

Johnny Murtagh, who will partner Bewitched for Charles O'Brien in the Golden Jubilee, is likely to ride for Godolphin in the Hardwicke Stakes.

Trainer Jim Bolger said yesterday it would be a late decision on whether Teolane, his brilliant Teofilo filly, takes her chance in the six-furlong Albany Stakes.

If she appears, Teolane could well be one of the bankers of the week.

An epic clash between Canford Cliffs and Goldikova is on the cards as the pair top eight six-day entries for the Queen Anne Stakes.

Freddie Head's wondermare won the Prix D'Ispahan on her reappearance and will bid for a historic 14th Group One success as she looks to win this race for the second successive season.

Canford Cliffs won the JLT Lockinge Stakes on his reappearance last month and will attempt to repeat his win at the meeting 12 months ago when he beat stablemate Dick Turpin in the St James' Palace Stakes.

The John Manley-owned Dick Turpin is also entered for Hannon, while Goldikova will be joined by her pacemaker Flash Dance.

O'Brien, who won the race in 2008 with Haradasun, will be represented by Cape Blanco, while Godolphin rely on six-year-old Rio de La Plata, third in the Diomed Stakes at Epsom last week.

Edward Lynam is looking forward to running Sole Power in the King's Stand Stakes. The Meath handler is praying for a scorching gallop to give his Nunthorpe and Temple Stakes winner every chance of adding to his major triumphs.

Jamie Spencer is "very hopeful" that Fame And Glory will stay the trip in the Ascot Gold Cup next Thursday. The jockey will ride O'Brien's charge now that his retainer, Mrs Fitri Hay, has bought a significant share in the horse.

The partnership is unbeaten in two starts this season, the latest coming with a workmanlike success in the Seamus & Rosemary McGrath Memorial Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown.

A decision regarding the participation of last year's surprise winner Rite Of Passage in the Gold Cup will be made at the weekend after trainer Dermot Weld admitted on Tuesday night that training problems had raised some doubts about the seven-year-old's ability to defend his crown.

Meanwhile, O'Brien has a strong team among the 41 entries for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on July 23. The master of Ballydoyle has left in a number of his stable stars including Await The Dawn, Cape Blanco, Fame And Glory, Jan Vermeer, St Nicholas Abbey, So You Think and Viscount Nelson.

Derby runner-up Treasure Beach is among the three-year-olds in the midsummer showpiece, along with French Derby winner Reliable Man.

Workforce, a beaten favourite in the race last year, could bid to make amends for that blip this time round.

•Ballydoyle's Belmont Stakes contender Master Of Hounds will have to overcome the inside draw in a field of 12 if he is to land the final leg of the Triple Crown in New York on Saturday.

Irish Independent

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