Royal Ascot Ultimate Guide - 2019-06-06


Class can tell with dual Group 1 heroine


Tom Collins

Crystal Ocean Son of Sea The Stars who has proved a model of consistency throughout his career, winning seven of 14 races and never finishing outside the first three. Yet to land a Group 1, though, having finished in the runnerup spot on all three occasions in top-level contests. Versatile when it comes to trip, Crystal Ocean has dominated small fields on two starts this campaign and was described by trainer Sir Michael Stoute as being “more forward” this season, which gives him an edge on some of his rivals here. Hard to picture him running a bad race and Stoute knows what it takes to win this race as he landed it last year with Poet’s Word. Elarqam One of the most expensive purchases from Tattersalls Book One in recent seasons, costing 1.6 million guineas in 2016, and no wonder given he is by Frankel out of five-time Group 1-winning miler Attraction. Elarqam was understandably held in some regard as a juvenile and proved why when ending his first season unbeaten after two runs. However, he has rather disappointed in Group company. Winless in four starts last year, Elarqam started his season with a creditable fourth in the 2,000 Guineas but didn’t progress and ended up undergoing a wind op over the winter. He wasn’t fit for his return in the Earl of Sefton but made amends for that defeat when bolting up in Listed company at Goodwood last month. He looked well suited by this 1m2f trip and further improvement is likely. Whether he has the class is a different matter. Ghaiyyath It was surprising the Godolphin colt was stuffed on his debut as a juvenile after he was bought for a whopping €1.1m as a foal. However, he hasn’t looked back since and, following two impressive Newmarket victories to end his two-year-old campaign, Ghaiyyath moved to the head of the 2018 Derby contingent at Charlie Appleby’s stable. Unfortunately he picked up an injury and was forced to miss Epsom, but it goes to show how highly they thought of him that he was above Derby winner Masar in the pecking order. He has been campaigned in France since, winning two of three starts, and showed that he needed further when lacking a change of gear over 1m2½f last time. Highly promising and open to any amount of improvement over this trip. Magical The second of three fantastic fillies set to take their chance in this race, Magical, a daughter of Galileo and sister to threetime Group 1-winning filly Rhododendron, represents the powerful Ballydoyle operation who won this race with So You Think (2012) and Highland Reel (2017). A progressive four-year-old, Magical has won all three starts this season, beating stablemate Flag Of Honour into second on each occasion, but this rates a much harder contest. She is as solid as they come, though, with no ground, trip or track concerns to factor in. Masar New Approach colt who looked slightly below top class as a juvenile – he won the Solario Stakes before being well beaten in France and America on his subsequent starts – and was stuffed on his first start at three when beaten 41 lengths in Listed company. Clearly didn’t like the dirt that day and the rest of his Meydan campaign was scratched. Returned to Britain with a nine-length romp in the Craven, before finishing third in the 2,000 Guineas when sent off favourite and causing an upset in the Derby when running out a 16-1 winner under William Buick. Certainly wasn’t the best Derby ever, but you can’t fault the way he did it and the step up in trip clearly worked wonders. Hasn’t been seen since, which is a slight concern. Sea Of Class Unraced as a two-year-old and only started her career in April last season, Sea Of Class moved up the ranks quicker than anyone could have anticipated and ended her three-year-old season as a four-time winner from six starts, with the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks on her CV. Her high cruising speed and ability to quicken from the back of the field marks her as a star filly and further progression is expected this season. An unlucky run and bad draw in the Arc just stopped her from extending her winning streak to five and trainer William Haggas has that race in mind for her this season. However, she will certainly be fit enough to do herself justice on her return to action at Royal Ascot. Study Of Man French challenger who hasn’t quite managed to build on his Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club success. The form of that race hasn’t worked out overly well and although he has only had five starts since – four in Group 1 company, one in Group 2 – he has never really threatened and only put up consistent RPRS in the mid-110s. That wouldn’t be good enough to win this race, so a step up is needed, and he seems to be better on softer ground. A Shin Hikari, also by sire Deep Impact, finished last of six in this race in 2016. Waldgeist Fantastic horse for trainer Andre Fabre over the last few years with three Group 1 wins and he rates the best of the French challengers, especially given he beat Study Of Man by four and a half lengths when last seen. He does carry doubts, though, as he was beaten by Danehill Kodiac on his only start at this track in 2017, seems to be better on a soft surface and doesn’t take travelling to different countries particularly well. Often held up so will need them to go quick enough up front to feature, but has ability and would be a threat if everything went right. Verdict A 3lb fillies and mares allowance looks too hard to overcome for the colts, although I do think Ghaiyyath and Crystal Ocean have the necessary ability to win a race of this nature. Sea Of Class improved at a rate of knots last year, notching two Group 1s along the way, and she can regain the winning thread after a luckless defeat in France’s biggest race. 1 Sea Of Class 2 Ghaiyyath 3 Crystal Ocean



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