Preview: Royal Ascot – Coventry Stakes

Round Two

Jim Bolger’s Round Two (photo) was utterly impressive when beating a smart Ballyoyle prospect at the Curragh recently. The step up to 6f can only be in his favour here, so he’s red hot favourite for all the right reasons. Which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a price to invest in. Slight question marks over the fast ground have to be put to bed before I’d be prepared to dig into 9/4 in a race where so many others make plenty of appeal too.

Wesley Ward has been successful with his printers at Royal Ascot in recent years – can he do it again? He brings over another speedball – Finnegan was only beaten on his debut run, though on Dirt, but didn’t make a mistake second time out, when switched to turf. He’s a really good looking individual with loads of speed. If he can stay the extra furlong he’ll be a big runner.

Aiden O’Brien enrolss only one runner in the Coventry: War Front son Air Force Blue. He got off the mark on debut at the Curragh, despite being green particularly at the start of the race. But he showed plenty of pace and travelled like a dream. He got a bit tired in the end but held on. Clearly a smart individual who should relish the fast ground, he’s a major contender, given that this form works out extremely well.

Buratino is unbeaten over six furlongs in two starts. He won a Listed contest on Derby day in tremendous style. He’ll absolutely love the fast ground ad must be taken very serious. War Department was a fine debut winner at Leicester and can improve. William Haggas’s charge ran to a Timeform rating of 100+ first time out, so is clearly a smart individual.

There are many more interesting colts in the line-up. First Selection is a bigger price to take into consideration. Richard Hannon’s pair of Eltezam and Age Of Empire can’t be underestimated either. Maccus for Brian Meehan looked good at Windsor on debut.

Verdict: There isn’t much form available and it is always difficult to accurately assess the potential each and every individual in this race has. That says, as mentioned before, I’m inclined to take on the favourite, for price and ground reasons. While the US runner might be found out for stamina over the stiff Ascot finish.

But I really like Aiden O’Brien’s Air Force Blue and it looks significant that there is seemingly confidence behind this horse as that is signalled by the fact that Ballydoyle has only this one runner in the field, while theoretically they’d have a whole armada of two year old colts good enough to run. This son of War Front was impressive on debut and looks a tick overpriced here I feel.

Air Force Blue @ 8/1 Coral – 5pts Win

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