Berkshire bids for Royal glory
The Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes may be the first race on Newmarket's card on Saturday but it should prove to be a fine hors d'oeuvres to one of the best racing days of the year.
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The Group 2 contest has historically been one to watch with an eye on the Classics and among its graduands over the last two decades include a couple of Guineas winners in Mister Baileys (1993) and Frankel (2010), while Benny The Dip (1996) went on to later glory in the Derby at Epsom.
It's hard to believe that it is over twenty years since Generous won the Derby and though Paul Cole has had some fair horses in the interim, Berkshire has been part of a welcome renaissance for the Whatcombe handler.
The Mount Nelson colt announced his arrival with victory in the Chesham Stakes and for many form students, the Listed contest at Royal Ascot has proved the race to follow as it has churned out winner after winner.
With a mother that won a Group 1 in France over 1m2f; it's no surprise to see a Derby nomination among his future entries though all bases appear to be covered and tilts at the Racing Post Trophy and the Dewhirst are under consideration.
Richard Hannon has decided not to run Bunker having failed to declare him on Thrusday and he relies upon Washaar.
The Kodiac colt has won two recent starts in Listed company but he would need to reverse Superlative Stakes form with Somewhat.
Mark Johnston's son of Dynaformer had finished fourth in the Chesham and went on to be second in the aforementioned contest on the July course.
A drop in grade worked the oracle in the Washington Singer at Newbury and the formline was given a boost by Be Ready in the Flying Scotsman at Doncaster earlier in the month.
The trainer has often targeted this race with his top juveniles and he was successful last year with Steeler.
Aidan O'Brien could garner a few clues as to the strength of the British juveniles with Kingfisher.
The Killarney maiden winner acted as a pacemaker for Australia in the Breeders' Cup trial at Leopardstown, though one shouldn't dismissed him as a no-hoper on this occasion as the Ballydoyle maestro has sent out four previous winners of the race including Daddy Long Legs (2011) and Joshua Tree (2009).
Sir Jack Leydan is rated just 83 and with guaranteed prize money of £2690 just for completing the course - it has proved a wise decision by connections to keep the Ayr maiden winner entered when others have decided to go elsewhere.