Tag Archives: Consort

Preview: Royal Ascot – St James’s Palace Stakes


Would it be foolish to oppose Gleneagles in the St James’s Palace Stakes? Well, you would think so, given how impressive the Aiden O’Brien trained inmate was when he completed the English & Irish 2000 Guineas double. Undoubtedly he is a world class miler; according to his trainer, the best they ever had.

Yet I feel there is the possibility that there are horses capable of improving past him at some point this season – as pointed out on a couple of occasions in the past. He had already eight career starts, was mad busy as a juvenile and didn’t slow down with two tough races this year.

Gleneagles is as short as 1/2 to land the St James’s Palace Stakes – a price so short – I’m happy enough to oppose him, given that this race may well turn into a tactical affair and that he takes on two lightly raced but extremely promising individuals with Consort and Make Believe.

I was keen to see Consort making his seasonal reappearance. He missed the Guineas, but fullfilled the promise shown on his sole start last season when kicking off the new campaign in a good Listed event at Sandown. The manner of his success that day was impressive and no doubt, there is much more to come.

Make Believe in contrast, won both his starts as a two year old, was only beaten by the tightest of margins on his comeback run this year and followed on from there to deliver a first classic success for his prominent daddy Makfi when winning the French 2000 Guineas in style.

He clearly enjoyed the better ground that day when he went off from the front, setting a good pace. Turning for home jockey Olivier Peslier asked him to stretch his legs and he responded promptly. Make Believe produced a stunning change of gear and kicked clear in a matter of strides to win by 3 lengths eased down towards the line. These are the traits of a talented horse.

Verdict: I find it relatively easy to oppose Gleneagles here and think – given the prices on offer – one can’t do much wrong with French raider Make Believe. An improving sort, a Group 1 winner, who should relish the better ground. Consort may well up to this level as well, but has still to prove it.

Make Believe @ 7/2 Ladbrokes – 5pts Win

Preview: Sandown – Heron Stakes

Newmarket Rowley Mile tight finish

It’s massively exciting to see see Consort finally making his long awaited debut as a three year old. He missed the Guineas, though, and that for a reason. It’ll be interesting to see if he is fully wound up tomorrow as bigger targets may be on the agenda. If this is only a prep race, then others must have a chance to land the spoils.

There are Additional question marks whether Consort has trained on and is able to fulfil the promise. It’s important to keep in mind that so far he is only a maiden winner, albeit an impressive one.

Not quite the same – but to an extend at least – the same applies to Johnny Barnes as well, who makes his belated seasonal reappearance. He was a fine runner-up in a soft ground French Group 1 towards the end of last year. Race fitness and quick ground are obvious question marks.

The Makfi colt Ijmaaly was as impressive a debut winner as you will ever find. Questionable what he beat, but the way he did it was simply breathtaking. Eased down half a furlong out and he still won it by 12 lengths. This here represents a dramatic step up in trip and he is unproven on quick ground. But he’s clearly an exciting prospect.

Much more experienced is stable mate Emirates Skycargo. He has gradually improved and argubly his strongest performance to date came on the 2000 Guineas card at Newmarket in a good Class 2 Handicap when he was extremely unlucky to finish only third in a photo finish. He’d have won with a clear run despite giving loads of weight away to smart rivals.

Proven over trip and ground, he set the standard in this race in my mind. He looks capable of stepping up to Listed level and seems a rather big price in my eyes.

Emirates Skycargo @11/2 Coral – 5pts Win