Fillies are the theme at Royal Ascot on Friday. Wesley Ward’s Campanelle tops a terrific group taking on colts in the Commonwealth Cup (G1), while juvenile fillies compete in the Albany S. (G3), and 1000 Guineas (G1) heroine Mother Earth lines up in a contentious Coronation S. (G1).
Here are the primary storylines for the penultimate day of the meet.
Campanelle goes for a Royal Ascot encore
Campanelle will try to become the second Ward trainee to win again at the Royal meeting, following dazzling sprinter Lady Aurelia. After romping in the 2016 Queen Mary S. (G2), the Stonestreet Stables homebred returned the following summer to defeat older males in the King’s Stand S. (G1).
A Stonestreet yearling purchase, Campanelle was likewise successful in the Queen Mary last year. But she has a different target this week, the six-furlong Commonwealth Cup for three-year-olds. In another contrast with Lady Aurelia, Campanelle makes her seasonal reappearance here after missing her scheduled prep. But she’s still the early favorite.
A filly sweep in the Commonwealth Cup?
Fillies have done well in the Commonwealth Cup, with one winner and three placings in just six runnings. That stat could be boosted Friday as several bring fine credentials – unbeaten French shipper Suesa; Sacred, runner-up to Campanelle in the Queen Mary; Miss Amulet; Dandalla, who ran away with last year’s Albany; and Measure of Magic, among others.
The leading colts in the sprint test include Middle Park S. (G1) winner Supremacy, who must bounce back from a last-place disappointment in the Pavilion S. (G3); Dragon Symbol, who lost his perfect record by a nose in the Sandy Lane S. (G2); and all-weather supremo Diligent Harry.
No shortage of challengers to Mother Earth’s Coronation
As the 1000 Guineas winner and runner-up in the French equivalent, Mother Earth has a tenuous claim to leadership of the three-year-old fillies’ mile division. But the Aidan O’Brien pupil will have to fend off a battalion of challengers in the Coronation to consolidate that status.
Joseph O’Brien’s Pretty Gorgeous, who beat Mother Earth in last fall’s Fillies’ Mile (G1), missed Newmarket’s Guineas. But she can reassert herself after a comeback seventh in the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) to the surprising Empress Josephine. Fev Rover, third at Newmarket before regressing in the Curragh’s bog, is another eligible to do better, along with juvenile Group 1 scorers Shale and Alcohol Free. Primo Bacio is on the verge of vying for favoritism in her Group 1 debut, while well-regarded Snow Lantern (out of 2013 Coronation star Sky Lantern) and Potapova also have ambitions.
Albany will have American flavor
Although Ward has entered two, Kaufymaker is reportedly set on Tuesday’s Coventry S. (G2) versus the boys. Golden Bell, herself a blistering debut winner at Keeneland, was long expected to represent him in this six-furlong affair for fillies. Plans have become fluid, however, after she was cross-entered to Wednesday’s Windsor Castle S.
Nevertheless, the Albany will have an American flavor, of sorts, with early favorite Flotus. The well-named daughter of Starspangledbanner spread-eagled the field in her Goodwood unveiling for Simon and Ed Crisford. Hot on her heels in the betting is Ralph Beckett’s Hello You, who romped at Wolverhampton. Ballydoyle’s promising Prettiest, a daughter of Dubawi and Alice Springs, scored at Navan first up. Two from the red-hot George Boughey yard, Woodcote S. heroine Oscula and Newmarket debut romper Cachet, are attracting support as well.
Adayar’s form turns up in King Edward VII
So many sophomores in the King Edward VII S. (G2) are cross-entered that no firm grasp of the field is possible until the week progresses. But two high-profile contenders, with no other options this week, represent the form of Derby (G1) upsetter Adayar. Alenquer was last seen taking the Sandown Classic Trial (G3) over Adayar, while Gear Up wheels back after retreating to 10th at Epsom.