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Royal Ascot Ultimate Guide - 2019-06-06

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The six-million dollar questions

FRIDAY 3.40 COMMONWEALTH CUP

Can Calyx bounce back? JAMES STEVENS

Last season’s Coventry Stakes winner Calyx rocketed to the top of the Commonwealth Cup market with a dominant win at Ascot on his three-year-old return but he then suffered a shock defeat in the Sandy Lane Stakes. That performance was a tad disappointing but he still finished second and extra racecourse experience will have done him no harm. In the four runnings of this race two winners have been defeated before bouncing back, with Muhaarar, eighth in the French Guineas, scoring in 2015 while last season’s winner Eqtidaar scored after finishing fourth at Newbury. Past runnings suggest a return to winning ways in this competitive sprint is far from impossible, and Calyx certainly has the class to win this. Who could challenge at a big price? Although Calyx and Ten Sovereigns dominate the betting, there are plenty of smart sprinters heading to the Group 1 contest. At a big price the Charlie Hills-trained Khaadem has done little wrong. He knuckled down to win the Listed Carnarvon Stakes on his return at Newbury and is certainly overpriced for the same owner who won this with a 12-1 shot last season. Another at a decent price who could be worth keeping an eye on is Lady Kaya, who ran a superb race to finish a length second to Hermosa in the 1,000 Guineas. That runner subsequently landed the Irish equivalent, which is a big form boost, and the Sheila Laverytrained filly will be suited to stepping down in trip.

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