Tote Ten to Follow Royal Ascot is now open and it’s time to put your thinking caps on and pull those lists together. Fresh off the back of some brilliant action at Epsom this weekend, we’ve cast our eye over the Classic horses and their likely targets to help you decide whether they should be on your list or not.
St James’s Palace Stakes
2000 Guineas form tends to hold up at Royal Ascot, with a host of Newmarket victors going on to score in the St James’s Palace Stakes in recent years. Poetic Flare will be looking to emulate the likes of Galileo Gold, Gleneagles, Dawn Approach and Frankel this year and we think he’s got an exceptional chance of doing so. A game winner of the first Classic of the season, he proved that was no fluke when just being denied by stablemate Mac Swiney in the Curragh equivalent.
He’s straightforward, can quicken up off a strong gallop and will enjoy the return to quicker ground. One negative, if you can really call it that, is that he’s bound to be a popular choice. With no bonus points on offer in this race, it’s difficult to justify two runners in the race.
St Mark’s Basilica looks likely to take his chance here after scoring in the Prix Du Jockey Club at the weekend. He tanked round Chantilly under a brilliant ride up the inside. A similar performance here would see him go close.
There have only been two 1000 Guineas winners double up in the Coronation Stakes so it’s a slightly less well-trodden route. Mother Earth is respected but we’re just not sure it was good renewal of the fillies’ race. There was only 2l covering the first five home and the time on the clock wasn’t particularly impressive.
Empress Josephine and Joan of Arc are very closely matched on their Irish 1000 Guineas form, with the former reeling in the latter close to home. It would be no surprise to her reverse form here on better ground. We certainly think the form of this race is stronger than the British equivalent and Joan of Arc would be the selection here, as she may just go under the radar with Tote Ten to Follow players.
It sounds like the target will be the Irish Oaks rather than a tilt at Royal Ascot, but if Snowfall does pitch up here she would have to be a shoo-in for your stable. She was simply magnificent at Epsom and could be a superstar.
Regardless of her participation, it’s certainly worth taking a look at those who followed her home in the Oaks, as the last four winners of the Ribblesdale had all ran at Epsom prior without bagging the Classic.
It’s a bit of a leap of faith, but given how highly Aidan O’Brien talks of Santa Barbara’s work at home, it could pay to side with her here. She travelled into the race well before emptying out on the soft ground and we could see a better horse on a faster surface. One of the most popular horses in the season-long game, it could be that she proves to be a shrewd choice here where many will abandon her.
King Edward VII Stakes
This race is still taking shape but, excluding last season where the racing calendar had to be reshuffled, three of the last four winners of this race had run in the Derby on their previous run.
It remains to be seen whether Adayar will rock up here or wait for the Curragh and he was a more than worthy winner on the day. He will obviously be a popular choice should he be declared and rightly so.
Of those who finished in behind him and are looking more likely to turn up here, Mojo Star has to be given all the credit in the world after stepping up from maiden company into the Group 1 contest. You’d have to imagine he’d be open to further improvement and this son of Sea The Stars looks a solid choice.