The status of Derby favourite proved something of a poisoned chalice this spring, when first Kingsbarns and then Telescope dropped out of the Epsom picture with setbacks. Both are about to start making up for lost time, however, each having been given an exploratory Group Three entry this weekend. Telescope, who made an impressive resumption at Leicester last month, could go to Haydock on Saturday, while Kingsbarns is on course to reappear at the Curragh the following day.
The Ballydoyle colt looked an outstanding prospect when winning the Racing Post Trophy on only his second start, but was derailed by a foot infection after tearing off a shoe in training. Aidan O'Brien, his trainer, says that Kingsbarns has been allowed to feel his way back through the work roster and will decide whether he is ready to roll again after galloping him this morning.
To a degree, even after winning a Group One race just 17 days after his debut, the Galileo colt still relies on the home reputation that underpinned that bold strategy. The Doncaster form has obtained a fairly pedestrian look since, with the one exception – Trading Leather – having failed to show his best on the day, when only fifth of seven. But Kingsbarns certainly retains every right to join Telescope in freshening up the Classic generation in the second half of the season.
The next round of the carousel at Ballydoyle, meanwhile, brings War Command, the stable's devastating Coventry Stakes winner, to the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes on the same card. O'Brien, who has won the Group One race a dozen times already, accounted for half the 10 acceptors but nominated Wilshire Boulevard as the favourite's most likely escort.
The wheels seem to be turning a little faster for Frankie Dettori, who rode a couple of winners at Deauville – including a first for Sheikh Joaan al-Thani, who has the majority of his horses in France – and duly dignified proceedings with a flying dismount. Unfortunately for the Shergar Cup organisers, however, his commitments to his new boss mean Dettori is likely to be required either at Newmarket or back at Deauville on Saturday and so cannot represent the Europe team at Ascot.
It will instead comprise Gerald Mossé, Andrasch Starke and Ioritz Mendizabal. The captains have been named as Mossé, Kieren Fallon (Great Britain and Ireland), Rosie Napravnik (Female Riders) and Gary Stevens (Rest of the World).
Chris McGrath's Nap
Umneyati (2.20 Brighton) Well clear of rest when just foiled last time and looks on a fair mark.
Where the money's going
Moviesta is 7-1 from 9-1 with Ladbrokes for the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York.