Mick Kinane: Royal stamp will be left by Irish contingent at Ascot
All the attention now turns to Royal Ascot and I think we have an absolutely fantastic week to look forward to.
I’d be very hopeful that the Irish trainers will take home more than their fair share of winners. Aidan O’Brien is always going to warrant plenty of respect with anything he sends over but both Dermot Weld and Jim Bolger look likely to have strong representation.
Gleneagles has been the leading light for Aidan this season, winning two Guineas, so he deserves to be favourite for Tuesday’s St James’ Palace Stakes but at the prices I wouldn’t be getting involved.
Gleneagles is just a shade short for my liking as he’d have to improve on his Curragh efforts and Andre Fabre will have a fair line on what is required to beat Gleneagles and French Guineas winner Make Believe could certainly give him a run for his money.
History isn’t an easy think to create, especially at Royal Ascot, but I think Eddie Lynam can achieve it with Sole Power in the King’s Stand Stakes. Obviously, it would have been nice to see him win in Ireland but the drop back to five furlongs, and the ground, bode well for him to win the race for a third year in a row, but it will be heart in your mouth stuff as Hughesie will be coming late and weaving through the field, as has to be done on him.
I think Tuesday’s Queen Anne Stakes will be a cracking race but I have been lucky enough to see Able Friend (pictured) in action in Hong Kong and in my opinion he is the best horse to have ever raced there. While Solow will be very hard to beat, I think Able Friend might just shade it. I don’t see Night Of Thunder beating either of them.
I mentioned Jim Bolger at the start of the column and Round Two looks to be his best chance of the week. He’s a very mature two-year-old and I was very taken by him at Naas. He made a winning debut and I put him down as a Group One horse when I saw him win at the Curragh. He’ll win the Coventry.
Jim also runs Pleascach in the Ribblesdale and Lucida in the Coronation Stakes and they are two fillies who will prove hard to beat.
I get the feeling that connections are willing to let Forgotten Rules take his chance in the Gold Cup once it doesn’t get too quick and it’ll be fantastic to see him line up there, while I’m also excited by Dermot Weld’s other Moyglare horse Free Eagle in the Prince Of Wales Stakes. On his Champion Stakes form he should go close.