Ben Linfoot selects 10 sires whose progeny could light up Royal Ascot 2019 as he looks at their meeting and overall course strike-rates ahead of the five-day extravaganza.
- Royal Ascot record: 8/23 @34.78% Percentage Rivals Beaten 77.79%
- Overall Ascot record: 8/26 @30.77% PRB 74.36%
- Scat Daddy progeny: Sergei Prokofiev (King’s Stand), Qabala (Coronation Stakes), So Perfect (Commonwealth Cup, Jersey Stakes), Beatboxer (Britannia)
Scat Daddy blitzed out of the starting stalls when it came to how his progeny acted at Royal Ascot, having eight winners from his first 15 runners at the meeting thanks to the likes of Lady Aurelia, Caravaggio, No Nay Never and Acapulco. Sire of Triple Crown winner Justify, Scat Daddy is sadly no longer with us and he didn’t add to his Royal Ascot tally last year where he was 0/8. His final crop look set to be well-represented at this year’s meeting, however, with Sergei Prokofiev and Qabala likely to be prominent in the King’s Stand and Coronation betting if they make their respective targets. Incidentally, Scat Daddy’s son, No Nay Never, could well enjoy his first Royal Ascot success as a sire with Ten Sovereigns holding the ante-post favourite position for the Commonwealth Cup.
- Royal Ascot record: 2/7 @28.57% PRB 73.81%
- Overall Ascot record: 6/25 @24% PRB 64.72%
- Starspangledbanner progeny: Chasing Dreams (Queen Mary)
It’s nine years since Starspangledbanner took Royal Ascot by storm when he landed the Golden Jubilee on just his second European start for Aidan O’Brien. Already a Group One winner in Australia at the time, he went onto July Cup glory before finishing second in a Nunthorpe. One more start in the Haydock Sprint Cup came and went before he began his career as a stallion, when it soon became clear he was subfertile. An unsuccessful return to the track followed, before trying his luck as a stallion again in Australia. At that point it seemed a career of any sort at stud was unlikely, given his fertility issues, but then two horses from his first crop, The Wow Signal and Anthem Alexander, won at Royal Ascot in 2014. To cut a long story short, those two wins were enough evidence that he was worth persevering with in the breeding world and he’s still standing at Coolmore now for a fee of €17,500. Chasing Dreams is an apt name for a daughter of this sire, then, and she looks to have an excellent chance in the Queen Mary judging by how her debut win at Newmarket is working out. She won by five lengths, easily, from subsequent Marygate winner Good Vibes, while almost eight lengths in arrears was Kemble, who won by five lengths at Windsor on her next start. A 750,000gns yearling and a half-sister to Ascot winner Mrs Gallagher, Chasing Dreams could well be the third Royal Ascot winner for Starspangledbanner.
- Royal Ascot record: 2/8 @25% PRB 60.21%
- Overall Ascot record: 2/17 @11.76% PRB 51.11%
- Camelot progeny: Pink Dogwood (Ribblesdale), Hunting Horn (Hardwicke)
Wins for Arthur Kitt in the Chesham Stakes and Hunting Horn in the Hampton Court at Royal Ascot 2018 ensured a good start for Camelot progeny at the meeting. Hunting Horn has been globetrotting ever since his hugely impressive win 12 months ago, running at Belmont Park (twice), Longchamp (twice), Arlington, Churchill Downs, Gulfstream, Doha and Meydan subsequently. He could well run in the Hardwicke Stakes this year, although he has several options. The most high-profile Camelot kid, though, would be Pink Dogwood if she turns up in the Ribblesdale. Runner-up to Anapurna in the Investec Oaks, she could well bid to follow in the hoofprints of stablemate Magic Wand, who won at Royal Ascot for Aidan O’Brien last year having been beaten at Epsom.
- Royal Ascot record: 2/8 @25% PRB 79.72%
- Overall Ascot record: 2/18 @11.11% PRB 68.36%
- Siyouni progeny: Le Brivido (Queen Anne), Laurens (Queen Anne), City Light (Diamond Jubilee), Maqsad (Coronation), Straight Right (Hunt Cup)
Just eight previous runners for Siyouni at Royal Ascot but a high percentage of rivals beaten tells you that his progeny are well worth monitoring at this meeting. The worst result of all his stock so far has been Straight Right’s seventh-placed effort in the 2017 Commonwealth Cup, a hot race in which Caravaggio beat Harry Angel. Ervedya’s 2015 Coronation Stakes success over Found stands out amongst his progeny while Le Brivido won the 2017 Jersey Stakes when trained by Andre Fabre. He edged out an Aidan O’Brien-trained horse that day, but is now under the care of the great man and could kick off the meeting in style for both sire and trainer in the Queen Anne. Fellow Siyouni Laurens might have something to say about that, while Maqsad (Coronation Stakes) and City Light (Diamond Jubilee) are others that could make a mark in their respective assignments.
- Royal Ascot record: 4/20 @20% PRB 58.54%
- Overall Ascot record: 6/51 @11.76% PRB 47.42%
- Juveniles at Royal Ascot record: 4/8 @50% PRB 68.71%
- Zoffany progeny: Coase (Hugo Palmer), Albigna (filly, Jessica Harrington)
A good record for Zoffany progeny at Royal Ascot can be upgraded to an outstanding one when you drill down to his juveniles. He’s had four juvenile winners at the meeting from eight representatives thanks to Illuminate in the Albany, Waterloo Bridge in the Norfolk, Washington DC in the Windsor Castle and Main Edition in last year’s Albany. Clearly, his juveniles demand respect and if Hugo Palmer’s hugely impressive Carlisle winner Coase turns up for the Coventry Stakes he’d be well worth consideration. However, an even more intriguing runner would be Jessica Harrington’s Zoffany filly Albigna if she’s pointed at the Albany. Harrington was a neck away from winning the Albany with Alpha Centauri in 2017, and, like that filly, Albigna is owned by the Niarchos family. Zoffany fillies are 2/2 in that race, as mentioned above, and Albigna made a big impression in a hot race when winning on debut at the Curragh.
Super Sires: Best Bets
🌟🌟🌟 - ALBIGNA in the Albany Stakes at 20/1
🌟🌟 - CHASING DREAMS in the Queen Mary at 9/2
🌟 - BERINGER in the Royal Hunt Cup at 25/1
SEA THE STARS
- Royal Ascot record: 5/36 @13.89% PRB 50.28%
- Overall Ascot record: 16/84 @19.05% PRB 54.15%
- Sea The Stars progeny: Sea Of Class (Prince of Wales’s) Crystal Ocean (Hardwicke/Prince of Wales’s), Stradivarius (Gold Cup), Beringer (Hunt Cup), Sextant (Duke Of Edinburgh)
Two winners at Royal Ascot last year for Sea The Stars in the shape of Stradivarius and Crystal Ocean and those two will be among his progeny running at the meeting again this time around. They will be joined by Sea Of Class, last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up, in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, so the son of Cape Cross looks to have a very strong team this year, so much so that his Royal Ascot strike-rate could well look more like his overall Ascot strike-rate come the end of the meeting. In the handicaps, Sextant would be a very interesting runner in the Duke Of Edinburgh. A huge son of Sea The Stars, owned by the Queen, Epsom wouldn’t have suited him last time but he ran well from off the pace in fourth in a race that suited those that ran prominently. That Epsom contest also found last year’s Duke Of Edinburgh winner as Dash Of Spice won both races. And finally, a word for Beringer in the Hunt Cup. He’s been in great form this season and Sea The Stars progeny are five from 11 (46 per cent) in mile handicaps with field sizes of 12 or more including a winner at Royal Ascot (Bless Him in the Britannia).
- Royal Ascot record: 4/31 @12.90% PRB 68.74%
- Overall Ascot record: 14/60 @23.33% PRB 68.23%
- Frankel progeny: Dream Castle (Queen Anne), Elarqam (Prince of Wales’s), Mehdaayih (Ribblesdale), Frankellina (Ribblesdale), Mirage Dancer (Hardwicke), Baghdad (Duke of Edinburgh)
Three wins from 18 goes at last year’s Royal Ascot for Frankel thanks to Without Parole, Monarchs Glen and Baghdad. The latter’s success came in the King George V Stakes and handicaps could well be his best route to success this year as established Group One performers look surprisingly thin on the ground. Elarqam bounced back to winning form at Goodwood on his latest start, but that was only at Listed level and it requires a leap of faith to fancy him for the Prince Of Wales’s, if, indeed, he turns up there. Frankel did win a first Classic recently with Anapurna in the Oaks and he had Mehdaayih and Frankellina in behind in that race, too. Perhaps the Ribblesdale will be on the agenda for one or more of those fillies, while Mirage Dancer made a pleasing winning reappearance at Goodwood and his trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, has a magnificent record in the Hardwicke, winning it on 11 occasions.
- Royal Ascot record: 13/105 @12.38% PRB 58.01%
- Overall Ascot record: 53/297 @17.85% PRB 59.72%
- Dubawi progeny: Too Darn Hot (St James’s Palace Stakes), Old Persian (Hardwicke), Ghaiyyath (Prince Of Wales’s), Space Blues (Jersey), Seniority (Hunt Cup).
Old Persian was a sole winner for Dubawi at last year’s Royal Ascot, his win in the King Edward VII Stakes a 13th for progeny of his sire. He could well attempt to win at the meeting two years running if he goes for the Hardwicke, while Ghaiyyath and Space Blues are other Dubawi-bred Godolphin hopefuls. The most interesting son of Dubawi that could run at the meeting, though, is Too Darn Hot in the St James’s Palace Stakes. Beaten into second in both the Dante Stakes and Irish 2,000 Guineas this season, he’ll be hoping to recapture the form that saw him crowned Champion Two-Year-Old in 2018. When it comes to the handicappers, the Queen’s Seniority shaped quite nicely on his first race post-Meydan at Epsom. He wasn’t disgraced in last year’s Hunt Cup when sent off favourite and it’s likely he’ll be pointed at that contest once again.
- Royal Ascot record: 23/217 @10.60% PRB 56.73%
- Overall Ascot record: 53/425 @12.47% PRB 54.41%
- Galileo progeny: Magical (Prince of Wales’s), Hermosa (Coronation Stakes), Japan (King Edward VII Stakes), Pablo Escobarr (King Edward VII Stakes)
There have been just three blank years at Royal Ascot for Galileo since his progeny began racing at the meeting and in the last five years he hasn’t missed with two more added to his overall tally last season. As ever, his big guns are being prepared at Ballydoyle with Magical and Hermosa two fillies with high hopes of gaining Royal Ascot glory next week. Japan is likely to be popular for the King Edward VII if he gets the green light for the race, while William Haggas’ Pablo Escobarr, second to subsequent Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck in the trial at Lingfield, is being aimed at the same contest after he gave the Epsom Classic a swerve. If you think Galileo juveniles might have a poor record at the meeting given their tendency to improve over further at three, think again. He’s three from 12 at 25% with his Royal Ascot juveniles, the winners being Maybe, Cuis Ghaire and Churchill.
- Royal Ascot record: 1/1 @100% PRB 100%
- Overall Ascot record: 2/2 @100% PRB 100%
- Kingman progeny: King Of Comedy, Sangarius (St James’s Palace Stakes), Private Secretary (King Edward VII Stakes), Headman (Hampton Court), Nausha (Ribblesdale)
The new kid on the block, Kingman, has only ever had one runner at Ascot, Calyx, who is two from two at the track after his blistering Coventry Stakes win and his seasonal reappearance victory in the Pavilion Stakes. Unfortunately he won’t be bidding to keep his 100 per cent record in the Commonwealth Cup due to injury, but Kingman is sure to be well represented at the meeting. Headman is particularly one to look forward to after his victory in the always-hot London Gold Cup at Newbury, while Musidora winner Nausha will be eyeing some big scalps in the Ribblesdale after skipping the Investec Oaks.
First-Season Sire To Watch
- American Pharoah progeny: Monarch Of Egypt, Maven
There are few more exciting stallions worldwide than Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner American Pharoah. His first crop are hitting the track this year and a few of them will be heading to Royal Ascot on the back of impressive debuts. $750,000 yearling Monarch Of Egypt looked a colt of immense potential at Naas for Aidan O’Brien and he could be a fascinating contender in the Coventry Stakes. Meanwhile, Wesley Ward’s Maven won the first two-year-old race of the year in New York over four-and-a-half furlongs at Aqueduct and he is reportedly being aimed at the Norfolk.
Three to be wary of….
- Royal Ascot record: 2/77 @2.60% PRB 51.57%
- Overall Ascot record: 21/256 @8.20% PRB 53.17%
- Dark Angel progeny: Battaash (King’s Stand), Khaadem (Commonwealth Cup)
LOPE DE VEGA
- Royal Ascot record: 1/25 @4.00% PRB 53.96%
- Overall Ascot record: 5/73 @6.85% PRB 52.3%
- Lope De Vega progeny: Phoenix Of Spain (St James’s Palace Stakes), Zabeel Prince (Queen Anne)
- Royal Ascot record: 5/109 @4.59% PRB 48.14%
- Overall Ascot record: 22/298 @7.38% PRB 45.67%
- Invincible Spirit progeny: Magna Grecia (St James’s Palace Stakes), Invincible Army (Diamond Jubilee)
There are a few established sires that don’t have a great record at the meeting and I’ve selected three that have some well-fancied horses running at this year’s Royal Ascot. Firstly Dark Angel has won just two Royal Ascot races from 77 runners at 2.6%, a percentage Battaash and Khaadem will be aiming to improve next week. Both of those horses are trained by Charlie Hills who will also saddle up Phoenix Of Spain in the St James’s Palace Stakes. The Irish 2,000 Guineas winner is by Lope De Vega who has won just one race at Royal Ascot from 25 goes. And finally Invincible Spirit is five from 109 at Royal Ascot at 4.59%, with Magna Grecia and Invincible Army two of his high-profile sons that are set to run at this year’s meeting.