Shalanaya sharp enough to bring French fashion to the fore for second day

By starting yesterday with three consecutive Group One races, Royal Ascot sets itself an impossible standard for the rest of the week. The one elite prize offered today, moreover, owes its highly competitive nature to the lack of a truly outstanding operator at this level. Timeform, for instance, rates no fewer than eight of the runners within 4lb of each other, and their marginal best, Twice Over, managed to find three to beat him in a similarly tight field last year.

In fairness, his trainer, Henry Cecil, felt Twice Over blossomed later in the summer, after being dropped in class for a couple of confidence-boosting wins, and he ended up faring best of the European raiders when third in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Nor should too much be read into his failure to replicate that form when resurfacing in the Dubai World Cup, caught wide after running too fresh and keen.

At the business end, however, Allybar was running the race of his life for the local heroes, Mahmood Al Zarooni and Ahmed Ajtebi, just nailed in a three-way photo. He was clearly thriving on the Tapeta surface in Dubai, but it's hard to know whether he can sustain his improvement in this very different environment.

The other Godolphin runner, Cavalryman, in contrast only just looked to be finding his feet on his return to Europe for the Coronation Cup at Epsom. He ran well, short of room in the straight, but is turned out perilously soon over a trip that does not suit him so well. Glass Harmonium looks ready for a longer trip now, as well, while Mawatheeq can be expected to build late in the season upon any foundations he lays with this comeback.

Presvis is always capable of pulling off a task like this, if only he gets going in time. Failing that, the prize is perhaps destined for France for the third time in four years. The progressive Byword is favourite after reaching a new peak against Goldikova at Longchamp last month, rallying to within half a length after initially being brushed aside. Admittedly, the winner is probably at her very best over shorter distances, and was entitled to idle or tire, but Byword opened up a gap of fully 10 lengths on Wiener Walzer.

Byword will certainly ensure that his impressive young jockey Maxime Guyon introduces himself to Ascot with a prominent role. In terms of value, however, preference is for Shalanaya (3.50) at 10-1.

This filly is blessed with the same qualities as Byword, being rapidly progressive in her second season and having resumed with a terrific effort against a top-class rival, in Cutlass Bay. But she also introduces a turn of foot to the equation, having scythed through from last to first in a Group One at Longchamp last autumn. Having previously won only at Listed level, that showed her to be breathlessly on the upgrade and, bred to stay well, she will see out every yard today – no matter how stern the pace. Her trainer, Mikel Delzangles, has of course already confirmed himself a new force on the international stage with Makfi.

The Queen Mary Stakes also looks vulnerable to export, this time to Ireland through Meow (5.0). This filly has a mighty pedigree – by Storm Cat out of a very fast Cheveley Park Stakes winner – and pulverised her rivals by no fewer than seven lengths on fast ground at Tipperary last month. With her molten pace she looks an ideal type to emulate her trainer's breakthrough star, Damson, who won this in 2004. The home defence contains many unexposed alternatives, needless to say, but there is a particularly persuasive word for Maqaasid.

The other Group race for fillies, the Windsor Forest Stakes, features a swift return to the fray for Antara, impressive on her debut for Godolphin at Epsom this month. There is an obvious danger that she could recoil from that effort, however, and Shamwari Lodge (3.05) remains relentlessly on the upgrade.

The Jersey Stakes looks terribly difficult, not least because Godolphin take the same risk with Shakespearean as they do with Antara. One of their discarded inmates, Rainfall (2.30), has made a bright start for his new stable and at least retains scope for improvement.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Exhibition Content Developer

£19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in South Kensington, this prestigi...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established managed services IT...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Recruitment Genius: Plant Fitter - Construction Industry

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This well established construction equipment d...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003