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Monday 18 December 2017

Oxx expects a Sea change

Born looks ready to put Guineas woes behind him at Ascot

BORN To Sea will try again to uphold family honour at the top level when he lines up for the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

The half-brother to the 2009 champion three-year-old Sea The Stars failed to make the frame in both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas.

However, he finished with real purpose when fifth to Power in the latter Classic at the Curragh, and trainer John Oxx reports the Invincible Spirit colt to be in fine shape for this Group One assignment.

The opposition could include the four horses that finished ahead of him last time - Power, Foxtrot Romeo, Reply and Daddy Long Legs.

"He's in and there's a lot of others still in there," said Oxx.

"He's in good shape, he's had a good preparation since the Guineas at the Curragh.

"All's well with him and I couldn't be more pleased with the way things have gone."

Power's trainer Aidan O'Brien is responsible for six of the 22 horses at the confirmation stage along with Daddy Long Legs, Reply, Requisition, Vault and Wrote.

French trainer Mikel Delzangles has two possibles in Dragon Pulse and Hermival, third to Camelot in the Newmarket Guineas, but only sixth at the Curragh.

Other interesting entries include the unbeaten Heron Stakes winner Cogito, Fencing, Most Improved and Nine Realms.

The field was boosted by two supplementary entries - Richard Fahey's Gabrial and the Francois Rohaut-trained Lucayan, the surprise winner in a bunch finish to the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp.

Gabrial runs in the colours of increasingly prominent owner Dr Marwan Koukash, and was last seen winning the Silver Bowl at Haydock on firm ground off a handicap mark of 91.

Dr Koukash said: "I parted with £25,000 (to supplement) and hopefully he will take his chance on Tuesday.

"He's still a baby, he still thinks it's game but we still believe he is a Group One horse.

"I wanted him to take his chance and hopefully with better quality horses around him he will learn more and hopefully run a good race.

"I don't think ground is an issue, as long as it's not extremes."

Frankel has been installed as the long odds-on favourite after 12 horses stood their ground for the Queen Anne Stakes at the same meeting.

Henry Cecil's brilliant colt has swept aside everything put before him, and seeks to take his unbeaten run to 11 in the Group One over the straight mile that brings the curtain up on the five-day meeting.

Excelebration, who has been well-beaten four times by Frankel, including in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last month, takes on his nemesis again.

His trainer, Aidan O'Brien, has also left in multiple Group One winner So You Think at the five-day stage, as well as Windsor Palace.

Coral make Frankel a 1-8 chance, with spokesman David Stevens saying: "We've always been huge fans of Frankel and have never looked to take him on, and we can't see anything other than win number 11 in the Queen Anne Stakes, with Excelebration once again most likely to chase him home.

"We're betting on the winning distance as an alternative to the prohibitive race odds on offer, with a 10-length romp on offer at 10-1."

Betfred quote Frankel at 1-5, with Excelebration at 5-1 and So You Think a 9-1 chance.

Spokesman George Primarolo said: "Frankel is a very short price for the Queen Anne and while most people won't be backing him in a single to win the race, plenty of punters will have him in doubles with Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee. That particular bet promises to cause serious damage to the betting industry should they both oblige."

Frankel's half-brother and regular galloping companion Bullet Train is among the dozen, as are Strong Suit, Premier Loco, Side Glance and Red Jazz.

Andreas Wohler's Indomito represents Germany while Worthadd and Helmet make up the entries.

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