Most horses with targets at Royal Ascot later this month will be ticking over until the meeting opens on 20 June, but Australian-trained sprinter The Astrologist thrives on racing and will have a late prep for the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes in the John of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock on Saturday.
Troy Corstens, who trains The Astrologist with his father, Leon, felt that the seven-year-old was short of fitness after an eight-week break when he finished down the field on his British debut in the Duke Of York Stakes last month.
Corstens will hope to see something much closer to The Astrologist’s top-class form in March’s Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai when he runs in Saturday’s seven-furlong Group Three. The decision to squeeze in another run will pitch his gelding in against some specialists at the trip, though, and Jumby (3.35) could be primed to take advantage.
He was outclassed when upped to a mile in the Group One Lockinge Stakes last month but he took a seven-furlong Group Two on quick ground with something to spare at Newbury last summer and has an obvious chance on Saturday if he is anywhere close to that form.
Haydock 1.15 Regional and Korker are closely matched on their form when first and second respectively in one of the strongest five-furlong handicaps of the season at York last month. Korker was finishing best of all there after being slow to stride and a price of around 10-1 could look very big if he can get away a little more speedily here.
Haydock 1.50 Mr Wagyu has progressed steadily this year and registered his best run of the campaign so far when third at Epsom last Saturday, form that gives him an obvious chance from the same mark.
Beverley 2.05 Andrew Balding’s juveniles tend to improve significantly for a run and Flora Of Bermuda looks big at around 5-1 to build on a close-up fourth at Sandown on debut.
Haydock 2.25 Top weight Get Shirty has struggled in Group Two company on his last two starts but he showed that he can still be competitive off his current rating over the winter.
Beverley 2.40 Miss Britain was within a length of defying a career-high mark on her debut for Ian McInnes last month and finished a couple of lengths clear of the third, so a 2lb rise may not prevent her going one place better.
Haydock 3.00 Modaara quickened 13 lengths clear of her field when odds-on for a minor contest at Kempton in May and stopped the clock in an excellent time too, suggesting she is more than ready for this step up to Group Three company.
Beverley 3.15 Fusterlandia was only caught late on when a neck second on debut 11 days ago and may not need to improve too much to notch a first success here.
Dettori in for Kingscote on Desert Crown at Ascot
Richard Kingscote, who rode Desert Crown to win the Derby last year, has lost the ride on Sir Michael Stoute’s colt in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. Frankie Dettori will come in for the ride on 21 June at the insistence of the four-year-old’s owner, Saeed Suhail.
Desert Crown was still unbeaten after three starts following his two-and-a-half length victory at Epsom last June but did not run again as a three-year-old. He went down by half a length to Hukum on his four-year-old debut in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown Park in May.
1.50 Mr Wagyu (nap)
2.25 Get Shirty
3.35 Jumby (nb)
4.45 Sparks Fly
1.30 Leap Day
2.05 Flora Of Bermuda
2.40 Miss Britain
4.25 Jewel Maker
5.00 Thornaby Beauty
2.50 Do No Wrong
3.25 Glorious Zoff
4.00 Midnight Jewel
4.35 Pumpkin’s Pride
5.10 Madam Ryder
2.10 Azahara Palace
2.45 Lord Torranaga
3.55 Dunnington Lad
4.30 Ready Freddie Go
6.10 Bo Taifan
6.40 Mexicali Rose
7.15 Cherry Cola
7.45 Magical Mile
8.15 The Jackler
6.20 Crooked Crown
6.55 Jax Edge
7.30 Connie’s Rose
8.30 Fact Or Fable
“He [Suhail] just feels that for Desert Crown to win this race is all-important,” Bruce Raymond, the owner’s racing manager, told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast on Friday morning. “While Frankie is around [before his retirement at the end of the season] he wants to give the horse every chance.
“He believes Frankie is unbeatable around Ascot and that is why. It’s no disgrace for Richard at all, I myself was jocked off Carroll House when he won the Arc.”
Kingscote could still have a big chance to win the feature event on the second day of the Royal meeting as Stoute’s five-year-old Bay Bridge, last season’s Champion Stakes winner, is among the possible rivals for Desert Crown.
The news that Dettori had been booked for Desert Crown saw him move clear at the top of the ante-post betting at around 2-1 (from 5-2), with Aidan O’Brien’s Luxembourg next on the list at 7-2. Adayar, the 2021 Derby winner, is a 4-1 chance with Bay Bridge on 8-1, and it is 9-1 bar the four.