Flying filly Campanelle in good shape for Royal Ascot repeat
Wesley Ward is anticipating a big run from Campanelle as she bids for back-to-back Royal Ascot victories, this time in the Commonwealth Cup.
The three-year-old was triumphant in the Queen Mary Stakes last season and followed that up with a Group One win in the Prix Morny at Deauville.
A bruised heel has prevented Ward from running the bay this season, but the trainer is not concerned by her interrupted preparation and is backing the filly to perform on her first run of the campaign.
“She’s working fantastic,” he said.
“Frankie (Dettori) sat on her the other day and he was happy – once Frankie is happy, I’m happy.”
“We gave her a little time to get those heels back in order and every work she has done since has shown that she belongs in this race, Frankie worked her last Sunday and was all smiles when he got off her.
“The fact she has not had a prep race is no issue at all for me, my sprinters generally come off the bench fresh and fire first time out.
“Everything about this race looks real suitable for her.
“We know she likes the track and the distance, and even if the bit of rain materialises she won’t mind it.”
William Haggas’ Sacred was second behind Campanelle at the meeting last year and the two cross paths once again, although rain could be an obvious problem for the former.
“She could have gone in the Jersey, but had a 3lb penalty against colts so might as well run in the Group One,” said Haggas, ahead of another race in the Qipco British Champions Series.
“She’s an outsider in the Commonwealth Cup, but just needs very quick ground.”
Representing French trainer Francois Rohaut is the unbeaten filly Suesa, who has a perfect record of four victories from four runs at Chantilly.
That form culminated in two comfortable Group Three wins in both the Prix Sigy and the Prix Texanita, with the three-year-old steered to success by Oliver Peslier on both occasions.
Complications caused by Covid-19 mean that Peslier has been forced to hand the Ascot ride to William Buick, who will take to the saddle to guide Suesa through her first run on English turf.
“This has always been the plan for her and everything has gone fine so far, she hasn’t done much wrong,” said James Wigan, racing manager to owner George Strawbridge.
“She’s won on heavy going, but her last win was on better ground and Olivier felt that she appreciated it.”
Clive Cox is set to saddle a trio of runners for the contest, with Middle Park Stakes winner Supremacy seemingly his best chance of a second success in as many years.
The son of Mehmas was disappointing when making his seasonal reappearance in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot in April, but a blood test shed some light on that below-par performance and his trainer is confident that he can bounce back to form.
“I’m very happy that Supremacy has put his Ascot defeat behind him,” he said.
“Although it was nothing major he wasn’t right when he came back and it was enough to take the shine off him.
“He had a high white cell count, and the rain didn’t help on the day, as he definitely prefers summer ground.
“He finished last, but I was pleased anyway when the form of the race worked out well.
“That said, he will be sporting a pair of blinkers as he’s quite a lazy horse at home, we’ve been pleased with his focus in them at home and Adam (Kirby) will ride.”
Cox also has all-weather performer Diligent Harry in the line-up, with the colt taking to grass for the first time after a successful spell on synthetic surfaces that has seen him rack up three wins and a narrow defeat to subsequent Sandy Lane Stakes winner Rohaan.
“It’s a big step for Diligent Harry as this will be his turf debut,” Cox said.
“But he did remarkably well in the spring, when his three wins culminated in the three-year-old all-weather championship at Lingfield.
“He’s only been beaten once, and that was by Rohaan, who has franked the form again and again, so that form is rock solid.
“I’ve been very pleased with him since, and he’s done plenty of work on grass, both at home and away, so the turf won’t be completely alien, although he’s yet to do it in public, having missed a couple of possible races owing to soft ground.
“He’s a very exciting prospect, win, lose or draw, and the fact that it’s three-year-olds only is a massive attraction at this stage of life.”
Cox has also declared Group-winning filly Isabella Giles, but her involvement is likely to depend on the forecast rain falling over Ascot.
“Isabella Giles would need easier ground,” he said.
“But as it’s such an important race and there’s a threat of thunderstorms, so we’ve just left her in there as an insurance.”
Eve Johnson Houghton has a chance in the shape of Group-level debutant Jumby, who was last seen winning a competitive six-furlong handicap at Newmarket in May.
“I’m thrilled with him,” she said.
“He’s a really good horse and hopefully he knows enough, he won really well at Newmarket and the form is working out well so fingers crossed.”
Elsewhere on the Friday card, Alenquer heads the market for the Group Two King Edward Stakes after his victory in bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown.
The colt beat subsequent Derby hero Adayar during that performance, with Godolphin stablemate Yibir, who reopposes, finishing third before his losing efforts in the Listed Dee Stakes and Cocked Hat Stakes.
“If you are Stuart Williams you say ‘Yibir got stuffed, that race was no good’ but if you are Michael Bell you say ‘he beat the Derby winner, he must be a certainty’ – it just depends what angle you take!” Haggas said.
“He’s a nice horse and he’s done well, he had a little issue before the Dante which meant he couldn’t run, but he’s done well since then.
“He’s in good shape, he won’t mind what the ground is and I think he wants the trip – not just that he’ll get it – I think he wants it.
“He’s got a chance but it will be competitive.”
Roger Varian’s Title takes hi chance after his Yarmouth win in late May and Mark Johnston’s Gear Up looks to bounce back to form after finishing down the field in the Dante and the Derby.
There is further Group action in the Group Three Albany Stakes, run over six furlongs for two-year-old fillies.
Richard Hannon’s Sows carries high hopes after winning on her debut in a five-furlong maiden contest at Nottingham.
“She won at Nottingham in very good time,” Hannon said via his Unibet blog.
“She is a very nice filly, who would have needed the run at Nottingham. She will have improved, but she will need to have done.
“We have always liked her a lot and then she just went through a quiet spell, two weeks before we did run her she showed signs she was coming back and she could be a very nice filly.”
Simon and Ed Crisford’s Flotus is well-fancied after her taking victory on debut at Goodwood, with Ralph Beckett’s Hello You another sure to be popular after looking equally impressive on her first career run at Wolverhampton.