The two year old races at Royal Ascot are always something to look forward and that will certainly be the case with the Albany Stakes next month (18th June). During the last few days, there have been a couple of noteworthy displays by first time out juveniles.
Flotus was sent off 7/4 favourite for her racecourse bow at Goodwood on Saturday and the Simon and Ed Crisford trained filly didn't disappoint. Contesting the six furlongs fillies' maiden, the daughter of Starspangledbanner was partnered by Silvestre De Sousa and was given plenty of light on the outside. Taking over with a couple of furlongs to run, she quickened away in the manner of a smart filly to win unextended by nearly five lengths. Purchased for £125,000 as a yearling, she was providing her stable with their first two year old winner of 2021 (only had 3 runners) and looks set to play a major role in the Albany Stakes.
However, she is expected to face stiff competition from the equally impressive Hello You. Trained by the in-form Ralph Beckett and owned by Amo Racing, the Invincible Spirit filly shot clear to win a six furlongs fillies' novice stakes at Wolverhampton on Monday. Positioned in midfield by Rossa Ryan, she made steady headway turning for home before hitting overdrive and powering clear to set up a tilt at the Royal meeting. A half-sister to William Haggas Ajyaall (Top 40 Prospects), she was an expensive purchase costing €350,000 at the Arqana Yearling Sales last September. She, too, looks well above average and regardless of what Wesley Ward has got waiting in the wings in the US, they will have to be pretty good to beat either Flotus or Hello You.
Switching to the older horses, I thought Count D'Orsay ran an encouraging race in the five furlongs handicap at York on Saturday. A four times winner since joining Tim Easterby from Ireland, the five year old has been in and out this campaign producing two decent efforts accompanied by a couple of dismal performances. Runner-up behind Jabbarockie at Chester earlier this month, he stayed on well at the Knavesmire over the weekend. Beaten three lengths by Pendleton, he is eight pounds higher than when beating subsequent Group 3 runner-up Came From The Dark at Haydock in September. However, he is capable of being competitive off 99 and I wonder if he may be given an entry in the Epsom Dash on Derby day (5th June).
I don't think the Top 40 Prospects in AOTF could have made a worse start - indeed I can't remember them doing so badly since the first edition in 1997. On Monday, I contacted Ralph Beckett regarding his promising filly Twisted Reality, who holds an entry in the Cazoo Oaks. Unfortunately, the daughter of Fastnet Rock won't be heading to Epsom early next month, which sums things up at the moment. Hopefully, she will win a big prize later in the season because she is a talented filly who wasn't suited by the steady early gallop on her reappearance at Newbury this month.
Finally, congratulations to James Couldwell and everyone at ValueRacingClub.co.uk following the success of Boundless Power at Nottingham on Sunday. Bought privately out of Johnny Feane's yard in Ireland when rated 75, the four year old has won 2 out of 4 since joining Mick Appleby and was scoring off 86 at Colwick Park. I must admit I wasn't enamoured by the son of Slade Power's attitude or head carriage when he managed to get beaten on his UK debut at Chelmsford in April. However, it is possible the trip stretched him, plus he needs to be delivered late. There is an argument to say he could have won all four of his races this year in different circumstances. Unfortunate not to get up close home at Thirsk, he was delivered to perfection by Oisin Murphy at the weekend as he reeled in the well supported Stake Acclaim, conceding eighteen pounds in the process. I spoke to James afterwards and suggested the five and a furlongs handicap at York's Ebor Festival or the Portland Handicap at Doncaster in September as possible long-term targets. The intermediate trip looks ideal coming off a strong gallop. Either way, he has been another shrewd acquisition by VRC.
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