Round Two for Ireland in Coventry Stakes
The second race on the opening day of Royal Ascot is the Group 2 Coventry Stakes for two-year-olds over six furlongs.
This race has been won by some top class horses over the years including Chief Singer, Canford Cliffs and 2000 Guineas winners Henrythenavigator and Dawn Approach. The latter was trained by Jim Bolger and ridden by Kevin Manning and they are represented this year by the unbeaten Round Two.
Bolger has been unusually bullish when discussing the colt by Teofilo out of a mare by Kingmambo. He beat Argentero by a length and a quarter on his debut at Naas last month and the runner-up has gone on to win a Listed race comfortably since.
Round Two then went to the Curragh for the Listed Marble Hill Stakes over five furlongs. He was challenged by Aidan O’Brien’s Washington DC but pulled clear to win by two lengths. He holds an entry in the Group 1 National Stakes in September and another win here could easily see him being spoken of in terms of a Guineas prospect for 2016.
Richard Hannon has a powerful team of two-year-olds and looks set to rely on course winner Log Out Island. Like Round Two, he now races in the famous blue of Godolphin and will be partnered by retained rider William Buick. He beat Handytalk by a comfortable four and a half lengths over five furlongs here in April. He could be joined by stable companion Eltezam who was made to work to land the odds at Haydock on his second start.
American Trainer Wesley Ward has mounted successful raids on this meeting with his juveniles in the past and saddles Finnegan here, a colt by Unbridled’s Song out of a Storm Cat mare. He was beaten on his debut but stormed home by five lengths at Pimlico last month.
Aidan O’Brien’s best chance here may rest with Air Force Blue, a colt by War Front. He made most of the running at the Curragh on his debut and held Rockaway Valley by a neck. Mark Johnston’s Buratino will have his supporters after his comprehensive win at Epsom on Derby day. A good run from this colt would further boost the claims of King Of Rooks who runs later in the week. Buratino was slammed five lengths by the Hannon colt in the National Stakes at Sandown.
William Haggas saddles War Department, an easy winner on his debut at Leicester over this trip. The form of the race took a knock when the runner-up was beaten at odds-on next time out.
Round Two – Coventry Stakes (Royal Ascot 3.05 Tuesday) @3.50 Sportsbet