Andy Holding has two fancies for the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Well-touted as one of the stable’s better juveniles prior to making his debut at Goodwood, Mark Johnston’s charge lived up to those lofty expectations in no uncertain terms with an authoritative display at the Sussex venue. Breaking well from the gates, the son of Exceed And Excel was quickly into his stride and once settling down into a nice, even rhythm, it was clear from a long way out he was going to prove far too good for the rest of the field, which included the previously impressive Doncaster scorer, Afandem. Only needing to be nudged out to keep his mind on the job in the latter stages, this imposing colt won with more in hand than the bare form suggests and when you consider he posted the fastest furlong-per-furlong time on a card which included a well-run 7f older-horse handicap and a listed fillies contest, it just shows how good the performance was by this highly-promising youngster.
Set to run at Pontefract as his next assignment, you’d imagine he’d come through that test with flying colours and that run should put him spot on physically and mentally for a tilt at the Royal meeting and coming from a yard that took this prize last year with Buratino, hopes are high that Yalta can repeat the dose.
Another who impressed visually and on the clock recently was CARRAVAGGIO (best price 6/1), and he has to be worth a small interest just in case connections decide to run him here rather than the Norfolk Stakes run two days later. Backed off the boards prior to making a winning debut on the all-weather at Dundalk, Aidan O’Brien’s charge was also the subject of a huge plunge at the Curragh on Irish 2000 Guineas day and even though the ground was far from ideal (changed his legs several times inside the last furlong), the son of Scat Daddy was still good enough to justify that audacious tilt in the ring.
The way he powered clear of a useful field in the latter stages indicates he’s a juvenile of the highest quality and based on that performance alone, you’d imagine he’d have no difficulty in staying an extra furlong. Clearly, there has to be a slight risk backing him for this race as his two performances have been over the minimum trip, but he comes from a yard that have such a terrific record in this race (seven winners since 1997) they would surely prefer to run their best juvenile in the premier two-year-old race of the meeting rather than go elsewhere.