Racing: Anthem to stand his ground

ROYAL ANTHEM will be the focus of attention in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot today as he goes on trial for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes over the same course and distance next month.

It was on this card 12 months ago that Henry Cecil's late-maturing colt burst onto the scene with victory in the King Edward VII Stakes. He went on to land a famous triumph in the Canadian International at Woodbine before disappointing in the Breeders' Cup Turf, nevertheless ending his 1998 campaign as many people's idea of the best middle-distance colt staying in training as a four-year-old.

Royal Anthem, a very tall individual, seemed ill-suited by Epsom's switchback circuit on his reappearance in the Coronation Cup at the Derby meeting and, in an unsuitably steadily-run contest, was easily brushed aside by Daylami, the altogether speedier winner of last year's 10-furlong Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.

However, sure to be fitter now and back at one of his happier hunting grounds, ROYAL ANTHEM (nap, 3.05) should go one better. Sea Wave, winner of the Great Voltiguer Stakes at York last summer and another progressive colt expected to do better at four, looks the obvious danger.

Clock watchers will no doubt be keenly comparing the time of the Hardwicke with that of the opening King Edward VII Stakes. The King Edward features a number of promising three-year-olds - notably Manndar and Yaralino - who were too immature to be trained for the Derby but are likely to come into their own as the season progresses. Today, however, they will receive the sternest of examinations from Housemaster (next best, 2.30), who made up an enormous amount of ground in the closing stages to finish fourth to Oath in the Derby at Epsom.

If Wednesday's Royal Hunt Cup is any guide, high numbers will have the edge in the Wokingham Handicap so Further Outlook (3.45), drawn 30 of 30 and in great form since being returned to sprint distances, should not be far away.

If there is a Marwell or a Dayjur lurking among the field of 18 for the King's Stand Stakes, it has, thus far, disguised its outstanding sprinting ability in a manner of which The Scarlet Pimpernel would have been proud.

However, Lujain (4.20), who shaped well when finishing fifth to Sampower Star in the Duke Of York Stakes over six furlongs at the York May meeting, having won the Middle Park Stakes over the same distance at Newmarket last autumn as a two-year-old, is unlikely to find Ascot's stiff five furlongs a hindrance, looks favourably drawn and should go close.

Whoever prevails today has a long way to go to emulate the feats of the flying filly Marwell, who in 1981 won this en route to victory in the July Cup and the Prix de l'Abbaye, still less the mighty Dayjur, who in 1990 went on win the Nunthorpe, the Haydock Sprint Cup and the Prix de l'Abbaye before his luckless trip to the United States where he had the Breeders' Cup Sprint in the bag until hurdling a shadow 50 yards from the line and getting caught by Safely Kept.

There is a strong tip doing the rounds for Rod Millman's Optimaite (4.55) in the Windsor Castle Stakes, while in the closing race of the Royal meeting and the longest Flat race of the year, the Queen Alexandra Stakes over two miles six furlongs and 34 yards, Henry Cecil's thorough stayer Canon Can (5.30) is capable of repeating his 1997 success.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower