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Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2)
Won by the great Frankel in 2010, the race has provided a strong mix over the years with Mister Baileys winning a Guineas, Benny The Dip a Derby and more recent winners Elm Park and Foundation both following up in the Racing Post Trophy. Our expert preview for the 2017 Royal Lodge Stakes is below.
Gustav Klimt stepped up massively on his maiden form when landing the Superlative Stakes at the July Meeting. He required all of the seven furlong test there to get the better of runner-up Nebo, so this extra furlong is going to suit him well. He was described as a Dewhurst type in the aftermath by trainer Aidan O’Brien so it will be interesting if they bring him to this race a fortnight in advance as well or instead of. O’Brien is adamant that the horse isn’t short of speed which is understandable from a family for whom a mile is their maximum trip, but he looked more of a stayer than a speed horse when last seen.
Sent off the 4/11 favourite in a Group 3 on just his third start, The Pentagon looks another smart juvenile for Ballydoyle. He looked a little lost up the straight at Leopardstown compared to the horse who ripped a Curragh maiden to shreds. The undulations there would be a worry for a Newmarket bid but he was impressive once he got into his stride. That was over seven furlongs and it was clear for all in attendance that he is a middle distance horse for 2018 as the further he went, the better he looked. The step up to a mile here would be in his favour as would the stiff nature of the track, he would be a short price if turning up.
Tim Easterby looks to have a smart colt on his hands in the shape of Wells Farhh Go, who nailed James Garfield in the shadow of the post when landing the Acomb at York. Both of his wins have come over the same flat seven furlongs so how he reacts to this much more undulating course will be interesting. His dam was a winner over a mile and a quarter and with three siblings who have form over the jumps, he looks nailed on to appreciate this step up in trip. “He’s a big horse and wants time” was the judgement from Easterby after York so he is by no means certain to take up his entry despite looking the ideal type. “Next year will be his year…he’s a very good horse in the making, one day he’ll be a proper horse.”
The lack of race experience just cost Red Mist close home in a Listed race at Newbury on soft ground. The winner that day made every yard of the running, Red Mist on just his second start, lacked a little bit of racing sense to figure out how to go past, hanging a little under pressure before going under by a short head. As a son of Frankel, he will be well supported wherever he goes next and despite this being a significant step up in class from Listed to Group 2, he looks well up to bridging the gap.
Godolphin are strongly represented at this early stage, the best of theirs may be the unbeaten Mythical Magic. He looked green on his Ascot debut, staying on strongly over the six furlongs there to land short odds. He made all the running in a French Listed race on his only other start, winning with a little more in hand than the official margin and beating an Andre Fabre inmate who had looked very smart on his debut. His dam was a winner over ten furlongs on soft ground so this step up in trip should suit but he may be dependant on a bit of cut underfoot.
Mildenberger has done well to win three of his four starts already, especially as his dam was a winner over two miles on the flat. From a middle distance sire as well, that he has already won a Listed race as a juvenile bodes well for him having a strong three year old season, with the Queen’s Vase already a consideration in the back of the mind given his stout pedigree. He needed every inch of the mile at Salisbury last time when justifying favouritism in the Stonehenge Stakes. He has a super attitude as most of Mark Johnston’s horses do, and although he may find others a little quicker for him here, if this turns into a test of stamina, no horse will be as well suited to that as he.