Five things to watch out for at Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot has the ability to define a season for all involved in bloodstock

Royal Ascot gets underway on Tuesday – Photo: George Selwyn

One of the biggest weeks in European racing, Royal Ascot has the ability to define a season for all with an interest in bloodstock, whether they are breeders, stallion masters or pinhookers.

Below is an outline of those for whom the meeting could be particularly fruitful.

SIBLINGS OUT TO ENSURE BAMFORD PRESENCE

Lady Bamford went to 475,000gns to secure Stage Presence, a winning half-sister to Group 3 winner Rum Charger, through Hugo Lascelles at the 2007 Tattersalls December Mares’ Sale. However, as hefty as that price tag was, it has turned out to be money extremely well spent.

At that stage, Stage Presence had already foaled a talented runner in English Ballet, winner of the 2006 Sweet Solera Stakes, but better was to come for her new connections in Star Of Seville, one of the best runners left behind by Duke Of Marmalade who carried Lady Bamford’s colours to victory in the 2015 Prix de Diane.

Lady Bamford (second right) with Sariska and her team of staff – Photo: George Selwyn

Four years on and the daughter of Selkirk is to the fore again, this time as the dam of King Of Comedy and Star Of Bengal, both of whom head to Ascot on Tuesday with major chances in their respective races for John Gosden. Three-year-old King Of Comedy, one of five stakes winners by Kingman this season across Europe, is priced at 5/1 in some places for the St. James’s Palace Stakes following his recent breakthrough in the Heron Stakes at Sandown. As for the year older Star Of Bengal, by Oasis Dream, he lines up in the Wolferton Stakes having won his last two starts.

King Of Comedy is the last registered foal out of Stage Presence, although the mare did visit Kingman again last season. Star Of Seville also remains in Lady Bamford’s ownership and has a two-year-old filly by Deep Impact, named Star Spirit, in training with Gosden.

Other mares who could be double-handed during the week include Wonder Of Wonders, dam of So Wonderful (Queen Mary or Albany Stakes) and Antilles (King George V Handicap,) Tanaghum, dam of Bangkok (Hampton Court or King Edward VII Stakes) and Matterhorn (Queen Anne Stakes), Dialafara, dam of Capri and Cypress Creek (both of whom have the choice of the Gold Cup or Hardwicke Stakes), L’Ancresse, dam of Master Of Reality (Gold Cup) and Eminent Authority (Queen’s Vase), and Zofzig, dam of Zorion (Wolferton Stakes) and Ibraaz (Windsor Castle or Norfolk Stakes).

PRINCESS SERENA ON CUSP OF ANOTHER BIG WEEK

It also promises to be a memorable week for Bobby and Honora Donworth’s Roundhill Stud as the breeders of Zabeel Prince, Queen Power and Summer Romance.

Zabeel Prince and Queen Power were bred by Roundhill out of their wonderful producer Princess Serena, a winning relation to American icon Serena’s Song who joined the stud when purchased for $150,000 at the 2003 Keeneland November Sale.

It was a purchase that came to reap rewards many times over as the daughter of Unbridled’s Song has gone on to produce eight winners, among them Australian Group 2 winner Puissance De Lune and the Listed-placed Majesty.

Perhaps the best, however, are Zabeel Prince, who goes to the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes off the back of his win in the Prix d’Ispahan, and the progressive Queen Power, who is 2/1 favourite for the Ribblesdale Stakes following her victory in the Haras de Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes for Sir Michael Stoute at Newbury last month.

In Queen Power, there is another fine illustration of the mare’s affinity with Shamardal, something initially on show via Puissance De Lune. Zabeel Prince, meanwhile, is one of nine Group 1 winners by Shamardal’s son Lope De Vega.

Another daughter, Serena’s Storm, also foaled Coronation and Queen Mary Stakes winner Rizeena and is now to the fore as the dam of Albany Stakes entry Summer Romance. An expensive breeze-up purchase by Godolphin, the daughter of Kingman made an impressive winning debut at Yarmouth in the same week that Puissance De Lune, now a stallion at Swettenham Stud, was represented by his first winner.

FIRST-CROP SUCCESS

Little can provide as much of an early boost to a young stallion than success at the Royal meeting.

No fewer than 13 of Europe’s first-crop sires boast entries this week, namely Brazen Beau, Cable Bay, Due Diligence, Gleneagles, Gutaifan, Hot Streak, Ivawood, Make Believe, Muhaarar, Mustajeeb, Night Of Thunder, Outstrip and Sidestep.

The Coolmore-based pair of Gleneagles and Ivawood are among the better represented with three entries apiece. However, none of them can touch the numerical strength of Cable Bay, Europe’s leading first-crop sire with seven winners to his credit. Highclere Stud’s son of Invincible Spirit has six Royal Ascot entries at the time of writing led by Liberty Beach, who holds a range of engagements following her win in the Hilary Needler Trophy at Beverley.

Meanwhile, another potential representative, Electric Ladyland, will become the third two-year-old from as many foals out of Conversational to compete at Royal Ascot should she take up either of her engagements – a remarkable record for a mare who once cost just 6,500gns.

WARD BATTALION CARRYING HOPES OF AMERICAN STALLION MASTERS

There’s no doubt about it – if you are an American stallion master, you want Wesley Ward on your side.

So far this season, Ward has sent out the first winners by American freshman sires Carpe Diem, Constitution, Fast Anna, Frac Daddy, Karakontie, Palace Malice and The Big Beast. He also saddled an important first North American scorer for Ashford Stud’s American Triple Crown hero American Pharoah in the form of Aqueduct victor Maven.

Now several of those youngsters will bid to enhance their respective sire’s burgeoning profile at Royal Ascot as part of Ward’s powerful raiding party.

There is the Ward-bred Maven, an entry to the Goffs London Sale on Monday who bypassed the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park in favour of a crack at the Norfolk Stakes. Should he line up, he will bid to become an anticipated first stakes winner for American Pharoah, so far the sire of two winners from seven starters.

Meanwhile Anna’s Fast, a $470,000 two-year-old purchase by Breeze Easy LLC and a first winner for her sire, the Medaglia d’Oro stallion Fast Anna, when romping at Keeneland in April, holds entries in the Queen Mary, Windsor Castle and Norfolk Stakes.

The Norfolk could also be the destination for another pricey Breeze Easy juvenile acquisition in Karak, a daughter of the Niarchos’ Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Karakontie.

There is also a good word for the prospects of Nayibeth, the wide-margin winner of her debut at Keeneland who is slated for the Albany Stakes. From the first crop of WinStar Farm’s Carpe Diem, a Grade 1-winning son of Giant’s Causeway, she was bred by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings out of the Coronado’s Quest mare Le Relais.

Le Relais earned her own slice of history back in 2010 as the dam of Soldat, who became the first stakes winner of War Front’s illustrious stud career when capturing Grade 3 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga – can Le Relais repeat the trick with Carpe Diem?

COOL SILK AMONG THOSE HUNTING £100,000 WINDFALL

Tattersalls Ireland took the decision to attach a lucrative bonus to their Ascot Breeze-Up Sale this year as they sought to alleviate the challenges arising from a tricky breeze-up season the spring before.

The bonus stands at a mighty £100,000 should any graduate of the sale go on to taste Royal Ascot success in the same season. It might sound ambitious but The Wow Signal, who won the 2014 Coventry Stakes just weeks after selling for £50,000 to Sean Quinn, proved that it is winnable and indeed, several of this year’s catalogue head to this year’s meeting with a big chance of providing their owners with a major payday.

Leading the charge is The Cool Silk Partnership, who have no fewer than five entries across the juvenile events. All are breeze-up graduates and include Summer Sands, the recent Brian Yeardley Trophy winner, and Nottingham debut winner Flaming Princess. Both were sourced with Stroud Coleman Bloodstock out of Ascot.

Victory by Summer Sands would be a popular result within the breeze-up community given he was pinhooked by Robson Aguiar for just 2,000gns as a yearling before reselling in April for £80,000. Flaming Princess, meanwhile, was sold to the team by Dunsany Stables for £60,000 and heads to Ascot as an important flag-bearer for her young sire Hot Streak.

Also potentially in pursuit of the bonus is Michael O’Callaghan’s Lorelei Rock, a debut winner at Leopardstown who holds entries in the Queen Mary, Albany and Windsor Castle Stakes. The daughter of Camacho was sold by Tom Whitehead’s Powerstown Stud for just £10,000 to her trainer.

 

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