Wednesday 21 March 2018

Fairytale ending on cards in Golden Jubilee Stakes

J A McGrath

Hardened punters don't believe in fairytales, but perhaps an exception can be made for Bewitched in today's Golden Jubilee Stakes as this filly can upstage her higher-profile rivals.

It has been a mixed week for the Magniers, with Fame And Glory's Gold Cup triumph and Power's win in the Coventry two positives to balance the disappointment of seeing So You Think suffer his first European defeat.

Bewitched is owned by Sue Magnier and her mother Jacqueline O'Brien, and it is fair to say that no more appropriate partnership could be welcomed into the winner's enclosure for the race, which was first run in 1868.

Vincent O'Brien remains the most successful in the history of this Royal Ascot sprint, formerly known as the Cork & Orrery, having sent out five winners.

Charles O'Brien, the great trainer's son, will saddle Bewitched, which arrives here in top form after making a winning return over seven furlongs at Leopardstown last month. Johnny Murtagh's mount beat Zoffany by nearly two lengths and the runner-up underlined that form when narrowly denied by Frankel in the St James's Palace Stakes.

The desperate weather has apparently scuppered the chances of Australian visitor Star Witness, which came home so strongly for his second to Prohibit in Tuesday's King's Stand Stakes.

The rain also came at the wrong time for Delegator and it has whittled down the major contenders, but Bewitched will love it and is a confident choice. She will have to be at the top of her game to win but she is a value bet.

It has been a mixed week for the Ballydoyle team, but they can end the Royal meeting on a high, with Await The Dawn fancied in the Hardwicke Stakes.

So You Think suffered a shock defeat in Wednesday's Prince of Wales's Stakes, but Fame And Glory confirmed he is a stayer of the highest order by claiming Gold Cup glory.

Await The Dawn has had very little racing for a four-year-old, running only five times, but he looks sure to make his mark at the highest level before the year is out.

The result of the Golden Jubilee could provide a massive boost for the form of Victoire De Lyphar, which contests the Wokingham Stakes.

Bated Breath, Society Rock and Royal Rock all finished in front of him in a conditions event at Haydock last time and all turn out in the Group One.

Should any of them make the frame in the Golden Jubilee, Victoire De Lyphar is sure to prove a popular choice, particularly as connections admitted the four-year-old was not 100pc ready on Merseyside.

Michael Stoute has had a quiet week by his standards, but Blissful Moment can see him make the winner's enclosure after the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.

In contrast, Mahmood Al Zarooni has enjoyed a career highlight in the last few days as Rewilding landed the Prince of Wales's and recent Doncaster winner Falls Of Lora is expected to fly the flag with honour in the Chesham Stakes.

The Queen Alexandra Stakes brings the curtain down on the meeting and Degas Art can oblige for Perth-based Lucinda Russell.

Winner of his last two starts over hurdles, he was Listed class in his three-year-old days and finished fourth in the King Edward VII Stakes at this meeting back in 2006.

Plenty of water has passed under the bridge since then, but this two-mile-five-furlong affair invariably throws up a well-priced winner.

Meanwhile, Ed Dunlop's Red Cadeaux is capable of defying top weight in the totepool Pontefract Castle Stakes tomorrow.

All types of ground appear to come alike and he should take plenty of beating.

Cosimo De Medici is also worth a look in the Pontefract Cup. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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