There is an old saw in racing that the 2,000 Guineas is effectively the last of the previous season’s big juvenile events before more slowly-maturing three-year-olds come into their own. It will be put to the test in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday when Coroebus, this year’s Guineas winner, takes on several lightly-raced opponents.
Coroebus was a smooth winner at Newmarket – though perhaps also slightly assisted by his draw – but has yet to race around a bend and faces three interesting new rivals on Tuesday in My Prospero, Maljoom and Mighty Ulysses.
Tom Marquand, William Haggas’s main rider, is aboard My Prospero but that has improved the odds about stable-companion Maljoom, who has just as solid a chance on paper.
Maljoom (4.20) is unbeaten in three starts and clocked an impressive time in a four-runner race at Kempton in April despite a slow start. He then fell out of the stalls in the German 2,000 Guineas last time and still had plenty to do turning in, but found an excellent turn of foot to catch a rival who had gone clear in the straight. At around 11-1, he is a very interesting each-way alternative to the favourite.
Royal Ascot 2.30 Baaeed is an exceptional miler and should have little trouble extending his unbeaten record to seven races.
Royal Ascot 3.05 An open race for the Coventry Stakes after Noble Style, the ante-post favourite, was ruled out over the weekend and Bradsell catches the eye at around 8-1. His nine-length win at York on debut was backed up by the clock and he looks sure to be a big player on that form.
Royal Ascot 3.40 A fascinating duel in prospect between top-class sprinters from north and south of the equator. Golden Pal looked to have improved again on his return to action at Keeneland and though he weakened late on in the Norfolk here two years ago, quicker ground could give him the edge over Nature Strip on Tuesday.
Royal Ascot 5.00 The big jumping yards are well-represented with Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Dan Skelton all fielding live runners with hurdling experience, but Surrey Gold could give them all something to think about at around 20-1. He has yet to race beyond 14 furlongs but looked a likely stayer when second at Goodwood last month and Hughie Morrison has gone close in this race with several similar types in the past.
Royal Ascot 5.35 Cadillac was back to his best in a three-and-three quarter length win at Leopardstown last time and will take all the beating on that form.
Royal Ascot 6.10 Juan De Montalban was a ready winner here in May and could well improve further for this step up in trip.