Cappella makes appeal
Man On The Spot's verdict for all the races on the opening day of Royal Ascot.
TORONADO recorded his first Group 1 win with victory in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in July. He beat 2000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach and Declaration Of War, who had earlier won this prize, and that form makes him the one to beat on his return to action. Soft Falling Rain has won at the highest level in his native South Africa but has come up short in similar company since, while Side Glance also has a bit to find despite picking up a less competitive Group 1 event at Flemington in November. The latter's stablemate Tullius ran well behind Olympic Glory in the Lockinge at Newbury where Verrazano was well beaten and connections are confident French raider Anodin will run a big race having finished second to Cirrus Des Aigles at Longchamp last month.
The last seven winners have all gone on to taste victory in Group 1 company. Subsequent Dewhurst winner War Command picked up last year's renewal and Ballydoyle are represented by War Front this time round. But the latter blotted his copybook somewhat when only third behind Kool Kompany at Naas last time and a line through the runner-up at Naas brings CAPPELLA SANSEVERO into the equation. He returned the impressive winner of a Listed contest at the Curragh last month and Ger Lyons' unbeaten colt gets the vote to continue his rapid progress and land this. Paul Hanagan prefers dual winner Adaay to Kasb but The Wow Signal beat a couple of subsequent winners by nine lengths at Ayr on his introduction and makes more appeal. Maiden winners Jungle Cat and Portamento are others to note with improvement expected from both while Ryan Moore takes over the reins on the progressive Justice Good.
The first four in last year's renewal take up arms once again. Sole Power beat Shea Shea a neck in 2013 with Pearl Secret and Jack Dexter following them home. The former pair look sure to go close again, despite Olivier Peslier's presence on Pearl Secret who found Hot Streak too good in the Temple Stakes last month. The latter had earlier finished third to Sole Power at Newmarket and should be bang there at the finish. It was 2008 the last time a three-year-old landed this prize but GUERRE was impressive when beating top-class sprinter Maarek at Naas. Admittedly, he was getting plenty of weight on his first start since September but there should be lots more to come from the O'Brien colt and a bold bid is expected. Steps finished ahead of Medicean Man when scoring over track and trip in October, although Ahtoug has beaten both in the past and the Godolphin charge makes more appeal in this.
Night Of Thunder reversed earlier running with the hot favourite KINGMAN to return the shock 40/1 winner of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. The latter has since made amends by landing the Irish equivalent by five lengths and John Gosden's colt gets the vote to take his revenge on the strength of that impressive display. The remainder will do well to get involved on the bare form of their running at Newmarket, though Dewhurst winner War Command and Outstrip are certainly capable of better and make more appeal than Toormore. Away from the Guineas form, Listed winner Prince Of All and maiden winner Yuften have plenty to prove as both take a big step up in class.
No sign of a winning favourite in the last 10 renewals and this year's running is as open as ever. Lieutenant Miller made the frame last year off a 7b lower mark while Perfect Heart made a winning return at Doncaster but would prefer softer going. Ballinderry Boy won over 2m here in October but has been raised 13lb since and Body Language has also taken a hike in the weights since finishing runner-up in the Cesarewitch trial at Newmarket in September. Suraj has slipped down the handicap but hasn't won since 2012 and neither has Sir Graham Wade. Plinth, Agreement and Sardinia have all won over timber this year and Domination also has a chance, while Villa Royale and Sizzler should both go well. But a speculative vote goes to the lightly-raced ASBAAB, who should stay and could go well at a big price if allowed an easy lead under Paul Hanagan.
American trainer Wesley Ward knows what it takes to win this so Keeneland Polytrack winner Hootenanny is worth noting. Mind Of Madness ran well behind Adaay, who was due to run in the Coventry earlier on the card, at Yarmouth a fortnight ago while Mubtaghaa arrives on the back of a win at Nottingham. Roudee has shown plenty of speed in decent company and so has Sarista. MERDON CASTLE ran well at Windsor behind subsequent Listed winner Kool Kompany and has the beating of Bwana, Haxby and Majestic Hero on collateral form. David Elsworth's colt should make a bold bid with Ryan Moore getting the leg-up. Fuwairt came good at Chepstow earlier in the month and Four Seasons scored in heavy ground at Leicester recently while Windsor winner Among Angels is another to consider.