With Royal Ascot now looking increasingly likely to go ahead, in theory it is just a month until we see a host of top class horses – many for the first time this season.
David Jennings from Racing Post & Upping The Ante has picked out five horses to watch, including a “terrific value” 12/1 antepost chance.
Battaash (King’s Stand Stakes)
Blue Point has beaten Battaash in the last two runnings of the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, but the Godolpin-owned sprinter has been retired since his famous double at the meeting last year and that should leave the door open for the Charlie Hills-trained speedster to make it third time lucky at the Royal meeting.
Battaash is now the highest-rated sprinter in the world and his breathtaking performance in last year’s Nunthorpe at York was arguably the most memorable performance of the entire season.
Battaash has made a winning start to his season for the last two years in a row so he obviously runs well fresh. He should take some stopping at Ascot this year and, while his King’s Stand odds of 3-1 might seem skimpy, he looks a rock-solid favourite.
Kew Gardens (Gold Cup)
The thrilling tussle between Stradivarius and Kew Gardens in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot last October was one of the highlights of the entire campaign and a rematch in the Gold Cup is something to really look forward to.
Kew Gardens won the battle last October by a nose and he can repeat the feat on the biggest stage of all.
Aidan O’Brien believes we have yet to see the best of Kew Gardens. He suffered a mid-season setback which ruled him out of last year’s Gold Cup but odds of 5-1 about him making up for lost time make plenty of appeal.
Japan (Prince Of Wales’s Stakes)
After a sluggish start to the last campaign, Japan got his act together to win three in a row in 2019.
The highlight of his season was a narrow win over Crystal Ocean in the Juddmonte International at York, and he enhanced his reputation with a fine fourth to Waldgeist in the Arc at Longchamp, where he was only beaten four lengths.
Japan looks the type to blossom as he gets older and a successful season looks in store. He could be the one to beat in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes with encouraging homework reports coming out of his training base at Ballydoyle. There are certainly worse 6-1 shots around.
Threat (Commonwealth Cup)
Threat was a busy two-year-old, running six times. He won three of those outings and was runner-up in two more. He could be a star sprinter in the making and six furlongs would look his ideal trip so odds of 16-1 available about him winning the Commonwealth Cup are worth taking.
He was unlucky in the Coventry Stakes over the same course and distance last year when second to Arizona and could gain compensation in 2020.
Roseman (Queen Anne)
There is no superstar miler in training at the moment and Roseman could make a real name for himself over that trip in 2020.
Roger Varian is a very patient trainer and Roseman did not make his first racecourse appearance until mid-April last year as a three-year-old. He was not seen at two. Given his late arrival to the scene, the fact that he was such an easy winner of a Listed event at Newmarket in November stamped him down as a high-class colt. One worth following.
Roseman is now rated 114, very high for a horse with such little experience, and there should be lots of improvement to come from him as a four-year-old.
He looks terrific value at 12-1 in what looks a wide open Queen Anne Stakes on day one of Royal Ascot.
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