Royal Ascot Ultimate Guide - 2019-06-06


Auxerre can continue on his upward curve


Tom Collins

Accidental Agent Stable star for Eve Johnson Houghton who provided the trainer with her biggest career victory when denying Lord Glitters under a patient ride from Charlie Bishop in this race last year. Completely underestimated in the market at 33-1 that day, Accidental Agent scythed through the pack and shot to the front to the delight of the bookmakers. He should get his ideal conditions again and may be overlooked in his bid for a repeat victory, despite performing extremely well on his reappearance when taking third in the Lockinge – a race that suited those who raced prominently. This is his main target. Auxerre Gelded and unraced as a juvenile, Auxerre was a comfortably beaten second on his debut at Newmarket last summer and hasn’t looked back since. He has racked up four victories from as many starts and, following impressive successes at Haydock, Chelmsford and Kempton to end his three-year-old campaign, he was all the rage leading up to the Lincoln on his reappearance. Smashed into 5-2 favouritism for one of the biggest handicaps of the seasons, Auxerre was bounced out early by James Doyle and made almost every yard of the running in the style of a Group 1 horse in a handicap. A mile is his trip and he will want quick ground. He just needs to prove he can cope in this grade but I fully expect he can. Barney Roy Having won his only start as a juvenile, Barney Roy proved himself to be an exceptional three-year-old when landing the St James’s Palace Stakes here by a length, before finishing placed in the Coral-eclipse and Juddmonte International behind Ulysses. The ground wasn’t right for him in the Qipco Champion Stakes on his only other start that year, which was supposed to be his final outing on a racetrack. Unfortunately for connections things didn’t pan out at stud and a decision was made to bring him back into training ahead of this season. He returned from a 557-day absence with a decent runner-up effort in a Listed race over this course and distance before scoring at Longchamp at short odds, but significant improvement will be needed to challenge. Hazapour Shamardal colt who looks to be nothing better than a Group 3 horse based on his form and might find this assignment tough unless finding the necessary improvement. Could still be open to progression, though, especially over longer trips, but trainer Dermot Weld seems to think he is better at a mile and he proved he is worth a crack at a race like the Queen Anne with a ready victory at Leopardstown when last seen. Beat the 106-rated Verbal Dexterity that day and will have to step up to feature against much stronger opposition here, but is related to Derby hero Harzand and has been the subject of some ante-post support. Laurens Big, scopey four-year-old filly who has put the Karl Burke stable firmly on the map in Group races over the last couple of years. Winner of the Fillies’ Mile as a juvenile, Laurens took a huge step forward last season with victories in four top-level contests. Her two French wins in the Prix Saint-alary and Prix de Diane exhibited her toughness with battling frontrunning efforts, while she proved she can do it in England and Ireland as well by landing the Sun Chariot and Matron Stakes later in the campaign. However, she disappointed on her sole start at this track when just eighth in the Queen Elizabeth II on her final run last year, which is a worry. Her reappearance second in the Lockinge was encouraging but she has to turn the form around with Mustashry. Le Brivido Unexposed son of Siyouni, who has entered the winner’s enclosure on three occasions from just seven starts, including at this meeting in 2017 when prevailing by a neck in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes. That impressive victory showed he handled the track well, which is a big plus at Ascot, and something you can’t say about his final start for trainer Andre Fabre when just sixth of eight at Newmarket on his sole outing in 2018. Le Brivido joined Aidan O’brien after that effort and has failed to win in two starts, but he has been extremely unlucky on both occasions and if things went his way, he could realistically be entering this race with two wins for the yard. Slowly away on his reappearance before sticking on strongly over 7f, Le Brivido found all sorts of trouble in the Lockinge and needs to be marked up. Strong chance. Lord Glitters Another to have contested the Lockinge on his last start, Lord Glitters had plenty of excuses that day after breaking from the stalls too quickly. That meant regular rider Danny Tudhope couldn’t get cover or deploy the usual hold-up tactics needed for him to run his best race and he was beaten a fair way out. If you put a line through that effort he could look overpriced. A course specialist at Ascot with form figures of 21226 at the track, Lord Glitters finished second in this race last year, will appreciate a strong pace and David O’meara will have him primed for this given it is his main target this year. Mustashry Typical Sir Michael Stoute improver who progressed from his reappearance third in the Earl Of Sefton in April, when he looked pretty burly in the preliminaries, by landing the Group 1 Lockinge in decisive fashion at Newbury when last seen. That was a big step up on anything he has done before and unsurprisingly he recorded a career-best RPR in the process. It wasn’t the strongest race but he threatened to win at the top level with two Group 2 successes last season and eventually fulfilled his potential. He has won over this course and distance and holds several rivals on form. Polydream A daughter of Oasis Dream, Polydream was labelled as a “champion” by Freddy Head as a juvenile following her length-and-three-quarter victory over Laurens in the Prix du Calvados, before running a gallant second in the Prix Marcel Boussac on her final start at two. She picked up an injury in that race and took a while to return to the track, but went on to justify her trainer’s expectations when beating James Garfield in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest towards the end of the campaign last year. Extremely disappointing on her last two outings, though, and has plenty to prove. A mile also looks a stretch, but Head knows what it takes to win this race after victories for Goldikova (2010) and Solow (2015). Verdict Mustashry (Lockinge) and Accidental Agent (this race last year) have the strongest Group 1 form in the book but could be vulnerable to a couple of improvers. The way Auxerre powered clear in the Lincoln suggests he could be a big player here and I think he is worth a punt at the likely prices. The luckless but talented Le Brivido is the best alternative. 1 Auxerre 2 Le Brivido 3 Accidental Agent



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