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The Coventry: 20 juveniles, 6 furlongs, straight
by Handicappers ( / Globeform (
Last update: 2007-06-18 08:49:26 (First published: 2007-06-17 16:31:05 )

Royal Ascot Tuesday: The Coventry Stakes (G2), with a full field and lots of talented colts from big stables in England and Ireland, can be a tough race to solve.

Fortunately, we have done quite well in this event over the years, and hopefully our juvenile assemenets will get us off to a good start again. We had Iceman as the best bet of the day when he won this at 5-1 three years ago, made Red Clubs the pick when he scored at 11-2 in 2005 and last year we took home a nice 28-1 exacta as Helvellyn beat Major Cadeaux.

One name sticks out also this time, and heads a group of five in our exacta plan. Yes, the likely favourite, Henrythenavigator, is among the five but included are also two likely to start around 25-1. This is always a very interesting betting race.


Royal Ascot 19 June 2007 – 6 furlongs turf

Horses ranked in handicapper’s preference,
listed with racedcard numbers, sires and riders.

08 – DECLARATION OF WAR (Okawango) R Havlin
16 – PENCIL HILL (Acclamation) P Shanahan
11 – GREEK MYTHOLOGY (Mr Greeley) J Heffernan
12 – HENRYTHENAVIGATOR (Kingmambo) M Kinane
20 – YEM KINN (Dubai Destination) J Bowman
13 – LINDORO (Marju) A Kirby
14 – LUCK MONEY (Indian Ridge) T Quinn
07 – COASTING (Cape Cross) J Crowley
18 – SOUTH DAKOTA (Danehill Dancer) J Murtagh
15 – MOUNT PLEASURE (Mt Livermore) M Dwyer
19 – SWISS FRANC (Mr Greeley) T Durcan
10 – ERNIE OWL (Tale of The Cat) J Spencer
02 – ATHEER DUBAI (Dubai Destination) E Ahern
04 – BOBS SURPRISE (Bertolini) M Hills
05 – BURNWYND BOY (Tobougg) I Semple
01 – AAIM TO STORM (Storm Boot) D Holland
03 – BERE DAVIS (Verglas) D McKeown
17 – RUFF DIAMOND (Stormin Fever) G Baker
06 – CEE BARGARA (Acclamation) R Moore
09 – DUBAI DYNAMO (Kyllachy) J Egan

Declaration Of War is coming off an impressive win in the Woodcote Stakes (LR) at Epsom on Derby day. The Woodcote – Coventry double is most unusual, but in this colt we have a runner of such talent that he may be able to do it. He was ‘drawn to lose’ at Epsom, where a wide post is practically impossible to overcome over 6 furlongs but he still won the race (from post 11 of 13), and won it really well. Still looking like he was running for second at best as the passed the furlong marker, he quickened like a top class horse to get up for a one-length win over Bespoke Boy, with Mount Pleasure back in third. Bespoke Boy had gained a visually impressive 2-length win on his debut at Ripon, while Mount Pleasure had won both his previous starts; at Windsor and here at Ascot. Mount Pleasure is 3lbs better off at the weights with Declaration Of War this time but that is hardly going to be enough for him to have a chance with the Chapple-Hyam trained colt. Declaration Of War beat him by 1 ½ lengths at Epsom, where he was by far the best in a competitive field.

Prior to Epsom, this neat and attractive son of Okawango produced a taking debut when beating Silver Guest by half a length at Newmarket in May. Silver Guest had plenty of experience and was coming off a third to Warsaw (also Ascot bound) in a Listed race in Ireland – and he was a clear favourite at Newmarket. It all looked good for favourite backers as he headed Declaration Of War, but the newcomer fought back gamely and got home by half a length. Declaration Of War was one of the best maiden winners seen out, he moved on in the right direction at Epsom and there is plenty more to come from this colt. A Coventry win cannot be achieved without further improvement but if Declaration Of War has improved as much again from his second to third start, it will take a seriously good one to beat him.

Drawn nine, he will break between Burnwynd Boy (quite speedy colt, also unbeaten in two starts) and Luck Money (made all when winning his only race). Where the best ground will be is impossible to predict and, in a juvenile race, it is also hard to guess where the best horses are drawn.

What makes Declaration Of War a particularly tempting bet is the fact that he was able to win very much against the speed bias, and the draw advantage, at Epsom. He holds a big winning chance.

Greek Mythology makes most appeal of the Aidan O’Brien colts and he is a much bigger price than his stable companion Henrythenavigator. A son of the red hot sire Mr Greeley, Greek Mythology made his debut in a 6-furlong maiden at Newbury in May, and finished third, 2 lengths behind Coasting, who is also in this field. While Coasting had a race under his belt (third) and also looked a more precocious sort, Greek Mythology ran a race pointing at big improvements ahead. Whether that came about or not next time, when he won a 7-furlong maiden at Leopardstown, is hard to say. He was odds-on on and may not have beaten much – but he was much sharper than at Newbury and beat Slaney Rock readily by 1 ½ lengths after racing in the first two throughout. He won with a bit in hand. His runner-up was making his third start, having finished fourth (beaten 12 lengths) behind Henrythenavigor and third (beaten 1 ½ lengths) to Artic Cry. These formlines give Declaration Of War an upper hand (via indirect links to Artic Cry via Warsaw), and they also indicate that Henrythenavigator is the best of O’Brien’s. Maybe he is, but there was plenty to like about the way Greek Mythology broke his maiden and he is the one who has the ‘top notch profile’.

Henrythenavigator has had just the one run, when cruising home by 7 lengths from Dick Morris over 7 furlongs at Gowran in May. He was always in full control, led after two furlongs and simply dominated throughout. It was a taking performance but there are two worries; firstly the lack of match practice – he did not learn much on his debut – and secondly the drop in distance. As son of kingmambo and a half-brother to Queen Cleopatra, he is bred to be a miler. Dick Morris, who hea beat so easily, was a nose behind Artic Cry next time out (see Greek Mythology) before breaking his maiden at Listowel. Hawk Wood, third beaten nearly nine lengths behind Henrythenavigator at Gowran, was 15 lengths behind Greek Mythology at Leopardstwon. As one can see, it is not at all a given fact that Henrythenavigator is the best Irish contender – but he is one we have to consider.

Pencil Hill, an 8,000 guineas yearling by sire of the moment Acclamation, has just as good a chance though, based on what we have seen so far. This is also an Irish raider and, indeed the one with the best credentials. He won by just a nose on his debut over 6 furlongs at Naas (beat the previous winner South Dakota) and the dropped successfully back to 5 furlongs (but climbed in class) in the Morris EBF Stakes (LR) at the Curragh in May. Pencil Hill beat the filly You’resothrilling (won G3 next out, entered in Queen Mary and Albany) by 1 ¾ lengths, with Tuscan Evening third and the odds-on favourite Achilles of Troy fourth. The latter had won in good style at Newmarket on his debut, while Tuscan Evening had been beaten a long way on his only previous start. Achilles Of Troy has been entered for the Windsor Castle and Norfolk Stakes this week.

The Con Collins trained Pencil Hill raced from just a few lengths off the pace in both his races. He was eased close home in the Listed event and was value for more than the bare margin. He has been drawn 19 of the 20 runners, something that means he will be on the far side. That is not a bad place to be, at least he should be avoiding any trouble in running and he will be racing close to Henrythenavigator (drawn 17).

Yem Kinn must also be in with an each-way chance at least, having created such a favourable impression when winning his debut over 5 furlongs here at Ascot just over a month ago. He was up with the pace throughout, grabbed the lead a furlong from home, and ran on well to beat the favourite Fitzroy Crossing by half a length, with Swiss Franc the same distance further adrift in third. Swiss Franc had been a solid odds-on winner at Newmarket (in soft company) on his previous start. Yem Kinn’s runner-up, Fitzroy Crossing had been third on debut and ran too bad to be true when well beaten in a maiden after chasing Yem Kinn at Ascot (a race that has produced two decent winners, including Ruff Diamond).

Luck Money led all the way for an easy 2 ½-length win over 6 furlongs at Newbury, beating Orientalist Star, and this is a colt who looks sure to make a lot of improvement.

Lindoro falls into the same category, as a ‘possible longshot’. He was slow early and fast late when winning on his debut at Goodwood, beating King’s Icon – who went on to win his next race (from the well bred Alsadeek at the same venue next time).




WIN: 8 Declaration Of War

EW (Win & Show): 11 Greek Mythology


A: 8 and 16 reversed / boxed
B: 8, 16 to beat 11, 12
C: 11 to beat 8, 16
C: 8, 16 to beat 20

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