Coronation Cup preview
Flat racing fans will feel like Christmas has come early this week following racing’s resumption on Monday and there is no let-up as Newmarket will host the first Group 1 of the season on Friday.
The rearranged Coronation Cup has attracted a stellar line-up which will see the return of last year’s Epsom Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck, Defoe who defends his crown, the up and coming Ghaiyyath and the people’s champion, Stradivarius.
Coronation Cup runners and odds
1 – ALOUNAK (66/1)
Put in some smart performances in Germany last year, including a Group 3 victory at Baden Baden by a short-head. Ran a good race when fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, a length behind Anthony Van Dyck who was third. Needs major improvement to win this.
2 – ANTHONY VAN DYCK (8/1)
Victorious in the Epsom Derby a year ago but things haven’t gone too well for him since, winless in his last five starts. It is rare to see a Derby winner train on as a four-year-old. He will be the first Derby winner to win the Coronation Cup since Roberto in 1973 if he can pull it off. Ryan Moore has picked him over Broome.
3 – BROOME (12/1)
Ran a cracker in the Derby last year when only beaten half a length behind stablemate Anthony Van Dyck in fourth position. His Irish Derby run is best ignored as he was very sweaty pre-race, played up in stalls and was slowly away. Could improve.
4 – DEFOE (7/2)
Winner of this race last year and followed up with a win in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot. He was given a good prep-run for this when second in a Meydan Group 2 in March and Roger Varian has stated that he is flying at home.
5 – DESERT ENCOUNTER (33/1)
Had a terrific campaign in 2019 with wins in the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood, Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor, Legacy Cup at Newbury and the Canadian International at Woodbine for the second successive year. However, he should be outclassed in this.
6 – GHAIYYATH (6/4)
Front-runner who failed to cut the mustard in the Arc but looked a class act in Meydan, beating Spotify by more than eight lengths and Charlie Appleby will have him 100% ready to roll with the yard always firing early season. He also has an excellent record when fresh.
7 – STRADIVARIUS (10/3)
Champion stayer who went two years unbeaten but was just denied at Ascot in October. This will be the first time he drops back to a mile and a half since his in three-year-old days so it might be a bit on the sharp side for him for all he doesn’t lack speed. He might just need this in preparation for another tilt at the Ascot Gold Cup.
Coronation Cup tip
GHAIYYATH went into a lot of notebooks when winning the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan by more than eight lengths in February. He loves Newmarket with an undefeated record of two from two around this course and with conditions in his favour he gets the vote to land this cracking renewal.