Langtry the classic act to upstage showman Ward
Friday 19 June 2009
The Albany Stakes is one of the youngest prizes at the meeting, and is scheduled today merely as an appetiser to the Coronation Stakes. All of a sudden, however, it has the potential to prove one of the more significant races run anywhere in the world this year.
At the start of the week, Lillie Langtry looked the banker of the meeting. Unlucky not to beat the highly regarded Kitty Kiernan at Naas last month, she duly reversed form when they met again in a Group race over the same course and distance. What is more, she did so with a real swagger, and only a slight reservation over her ability to last a mile qualifies her credentials as a Guineas filly already.
But then along came Wesley Ward. When he arrived from California with five two-year-olds, people were touched by his spirit of adventure, but essentially considered him naïve. Not for long. His first two juvenile runners won – the second, Jealous Again, taking the Queen Mary by five lengths. And Ward more or less shrugged and said: "You should see my other filly." And that is what you can do today, when Aegean meets Lillie Langtry.
Like Ward's other runners here, Aegean has a modest pedigree but she beat Jealous Again – admittedly on dirt – at Churchill Downs last time. She had previously won a maiden on polytrack, on which basis she is expected to prove at home on turf.
It is not as if Ward has come here with the elite juveniles of North America. If he can go on and beat a filly as obviously exceptional as Lillie Langtry – by local standards, at any rate – then he may cause not just a sensation, but a crisis. For now, however, anyone who wants to bet must do so on the premise that Aidan O'Brien juveniles cannot suddenly be dismissed as big fish in a small pond. You must remain loyal to Lillie Langtry (2.30), and just be grateful she will be a bigger price than had seemed remotely possible.
Last year's Albany winner, Cuis Ghaire, was ultimately foiled only by Ghanaati in the 1,000 Guineas and that filly leads the home defence in the Coronation Stakes. She did exceptionally well to win on her first start outside maidens, but few managed to get involved from off the pace that day.
One who did finish well was Heart Shaped, despite becoming unbalanced in the Dip, and she has now produced top-class form on both starts over a mile on quick ground. Richard Hughes could suit her well, in the absence of the suspended Johnny Murtagh, and at 18-1 with Coral Heart Shaped (3.45) looks an excellent each-way alternative to Elusive Wave. The French raider, a Classic winner herself, represents a formidable stable and is obviously going to run well, but the odds make that perfectly clear.
O'Brien could have another big day all round, as Black Bear Island (3.05) remains the one to beat in the King Edward VII Stakes despite that disappointing run in the Derby. There is clearly nothing amiss and he had previously shown himself a really talented, progressive colt when surging from last to first in the Dante.
In the Queen's Vase, Dhushan (4.55) looks the sort to improve considerably for such an extreme test, while Sir Michael Stoute has intriguing types for both handicaps in Perfect Stride (4.20) and Seasider (5.30).
Nap: Heart Shaped (3.45 Ascot)
NB: Lillie Langtry (2.30 Ascot)
Latest in Sport
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Winger to report for Liverpool training on today but Reds braced for third City bid this week
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germany in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Manchester City transfer news: City determined to sign Paul Pogba and meet £71m British transfer record
Liverpool to confirm Sean O'Driscoll and Pep Lijnders for Brendan Rodgers' backroom coaching staff
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 1 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 2 What supermodels really think about posing in the nude
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An In-house Graphic Designer is required to wo...
£25000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's premier supplie...
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...