Royal Ascot 2016

Godolphin's John Ferguson talks attheraces.com through their powerful team for the 2016 Royal meeting that includes Belardo and Toormore in the Queen Anne, plus Emotionless, smart filly Usherette and top Australian sprinter Holler.

John Ferguson
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Godolphin Stable Tour

Godolphin have always maintained that Royal Ascot was one of their most important targets from a team that travels the globe in search of winning opportunities.

In Saeed Bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby they have a formidable two-pronged fork from the domestic training scene but the quest for the acquisition of some of the major prizes in the Racing Calendar sees their armoury strengthened further with Andre Fabre, Eoin Harty, Mick Halford, and John O’Shea all chipping in with some big guns from their stables further afield.

Their team is bigger than ever and John Ferguson, racing manager and chief executive of Godolphin guided At The Races through the team's plans for the five-day jamboree.

ANAMBA (Michael Halford)
Winner of two of her three starts. Scored by two lengths from Hasanpour at Naas (7f) at the end of May when gain her latest victory.
“She is coming over from Ireland and won a listed race at Naas really well last week and the handicapper has given her a mark of 104. She will probably run in the Sandringham Handicap but the Coronation Stakes hasn’t been ruled out either. We have other options in the Sandringham and the decision will be made by Sheikh Mohammed.”

BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE (Saeed Bin Suroor)
Winner of three of her 7 starts. Finished third, beaten two and three quarter lengths, to Simple Verse in the Group 1 Fillies & Mares at Ascot last October. Made a winning reappearance in the Group 2 Middleton Stakers at York (1m 21/2f) in May.
“She will run in the Hardwicke Stakes against the colts. She is very well and is working well and ran a great race on her last visit to Ascot.”

BELARDO (Roger Varian)
Winner of five of his 15 starts. Made a pleasing reappearance in a listed race at Doncaster (1m) in April before disappointing when only fourth to Toormore in the Group 2 Bet365 Mile at Sandown later in the month. Bounced back to winning form when scoring by a length from Euro Charline in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury (1m) in May.
“Ideally, we would like a bit of juice in the ground and the rain has come in time for Belardo in the Queen Anne Stakes and we will run Barchan as a pacemaker. Belardo obviously ran well when winning the Lockinge and we would be looking for another good run from him.”

DRAFTED (Eoin Harty)
Winner of his only start over four and a half furlongs at Keeneland (4 1/2f) in April when beating Spellker two and three quarter lengths.
“Drafted did a good piece of work at Arlington ahead of coming to Britain and he broke the track record at Keeneland albeit on a relatively new surface. Eoin Harty felt that Drafted is a horse that will be suited by the Windsor Castle Stakes or the Norfolk Stakes and he is very happy with him.”

EMOTIONLESS (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of two of his 3 starts. Scored by three and a half lengths from Perkunas in a maiden at Newmarket (7f) last August and followed up with an impressive victory from Ibn Malik in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster (7f) in September. Found to have knee chips when unplaced to Air Force Blue in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket (7f) in October.
“Emotionless will run in the St James’s Palace where Cymric will be employed in pacemaking duties. He showed us what a good horse he was when winning the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster and I thought that was the most impressive performance by a two-year-old last year. He then disappointed us in the Dewhurst but came back lame and had knee chips. He is a very big powerful horse and going into the Spring early doors Charlie (Appleby) was happy with him. Approaching the Guineas, he gave Charlie the indication that he was well but he wasn’t pinging. Charlie spoke to Sheikh Mohammed and we came to the conclusion that the Guineas wasn’t the right thing. Emotionless has been given time and the team couldnot be happier with him now. He looks well and I think he will acquit himself well.”

FLASH FIRE (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of four of his 15 starts. Returned to winning form in the Victoria Cup at Ascot (7f) in May when beating Mutawathea three quarters of a length.
“He won the Victoria Cup at Ascot last month and the Wokingham has been the plan since. He is in good form and these big field handicaps suit him well.”

FOLKSWOOD (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of two of his three starts. Scored readily by two and three quarter lengths from Dolphin Vista on his reappearance at Newmarket (1m) in April.”
“He won in decent style at the Guineas meeting and Charlie (Appleby) intends running him in the Britannia Handicap. He is another who is going the right way and can give a good account of himself in one of the most competitive handicaps of the week.”

GALIZZI (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of two of his 9 starts on the Flat and a winner over hurdles for John Ferguson. Made a pleasing return to the Flat when slamming Cotton Club four lengths at Goodwood (2m) last week.
“He won at Goodwood on Sunday and he will run in the Ascot Handicap under a 3lb penalty. He will hopefully be competitive in a very tough handicap.”

HAWKBILL (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of four of his 6 starts. Progressive on the AW last Summer and won a maiden at Lingfield (7f) in July, a handicap at Kempton (7f) by three and a quarter lengths from Powderhorn and a conditions event at Kempton (1m) in September by a head from Steel of Madrid. Made a successful reappearance in the Listed Newmarket Stakes at Newmarket (1m 2f) in April when beating Abdon a length and a quarter.
“Hawkbill could run for us in the Tercentenary Stakes. He won the Newmarket Stakes quite nicely in April and is another who has been working nicely at home for us since.”

HOLLER (John O'Shea)
Winner of four of his 11 starts. Beaten only a short head by Flamberge in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley (6f) in March and had previously beaten First Seal a length and a half in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes at Randwick (6 1/2f) earlier in the month.
“Holler is horse worthy of coming to Royal Ascot and he will be ridden by James McDonald in the Diamond Jubileee Stakes on Saturday. John O’Shea is a realist and understands the scale of the competition but he looks worthy of his place in the line-up.”

JUNGLE CAT (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of two of his 14 starts. Beaten only half a length by Profitable in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket (5f) in April and previously put up another creditable effort in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan (5f) in March when fourth, beaten a length and three quarters, to Buffering.
“He has good form and ran well in the Palace House and we would be hoping for a good run from him in the King’s Stand.”

KANANEE (Saeed Bin Suroor)
Winner of both of his starts. Scored by a length and a half from Monks Stand at Lingfield (5f) in April and followed up with a head defeat of Medici Banchiere at York in May.
“He will probably run for Saeed in the Windsor Castle and he has done nothing wrong in his two starts. He is a capable colt and deserves to take his chance.”

LOG OUT ISLAND (Richard Hannon)
Winner of three of his 11 starts. Returned to winning form in good style in the Listed Carnavon Stakes at Newbury (6f) in May when beating Remarkable three and a quarter lengths.
“We put the hood on him and we saw a different horse in the Carnavon Stakes. He showed real gears and he be out there in the front end in the Commonwealth Cup on Friday. We could also run Lumiere in the race too.”

LOVELL (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of one of his four starts. Beaten only half a length by Stargazer in a handicap at Sandown (1m 2f) in April.
“He could run for us in the King George V Handicap on the Thursday. He stayed on nicely at Sandown and the step up in trip could be in his favour.”

OCEANOGRAPHER (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of three of his 6 starts. Finished fourth, beaten five lengths, to Oasis Fantasy in a handicap at Newmarket (1m 4f) on his reappearance.
“He ran well for a long way on his reappearance at Newmarket and Charlie (Appleby) thought the best option was to return him to ten furlongs in the Wolferton Handicap.”

PENGLAI PAVILION (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of four of his 13 starts. Better known as a hurdler these days and won three of his five starts over timber.
“He did well over hurdled and has been given a nice break he could run in the Ascot Stakes Handicap.”

PURE DIAMOND (Saeed Bin Suroor)
Winner of three of her eight starts. Finished fifth, beaten four and a half lengths, to Blond Me in a listed contest at Goodwood (1m) in April. Had previously won a listed contest at Meydan (7f) in March by four and a half lengths from Comicas.”
“She is one of three entries we have in the Sandringham Handicap. She is in good form at home and deserves to take her chance.”

QUALITY TIME (Saeed Bin Suroor)
Winner of one of her three starts. Highly creditable third to Ashadihan in a Group 3 event at Lingfield (7f) in May.
“She is one of two entries Saeed has in the Sandringham and, as with Pure Diamond, she has every right to take her chance. She is another who has been training well and is progressing with experience.”

RARE RHYTHM (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of two of his 4 starts. Impressive four length victor from Not Never at Newmarket (1m 4f) last September.
“He’s a nice horse by Dubawi who has plenty of ability and he will take his chance in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap.”

RIBCHESTER (Richard Fahey)
Winner of one of his 5 starts. Landed the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes by a length and a quarter from Log Out Island at Newbury (6f) last September and highly creditable third, beaten three and a half length, to Galileo Gold in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket (1m) in April.
“Ribchester worked last week and has a great chance in the Jersey Stakes on Wednesday. He was third in the 2000 Guineas and Richard Fahey is very, very pleased with him so we are looking forward to that.”

ROMANTIC VIEW (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of one of her two starts. Runner-up, beaten two and a quarter length, to Camargue on her debut at Ascot (5f) in May and impressed when going one better at Goodwood (6f) later in the month when accounting for Pepita by two and three quarter lengths.
“She is a nice filly who could go for the Albany Stakes on Friday.”

SECRET BRIEF (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of four of his 18 starts. Placed at Meydan (1m) in February and went onto beat Bravo Zolo a neck in the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster in April.
“We will probably run Secret Brief in the Royal Hunt Cup. He won the Lincoln earlier in the year and he’s in great form and we would hope he would run well.”

THUNDER SNOW (Saeed Bin Suroor)
Winner of his only start. Scored by a length and a quarter from Parys Mountain at Leicester (6f) at the end of May.
“Thunder Snow won well first time out and he has come on for the run. Saeed is keen to give him a spin the Coventry Stakes and he is forward and seems ready.”

TOORMORE (Richard Hannon)
Winner of seven of his 18 starts Made a winning reappearance in the Group 2 Bet365 Mile at Sandown (1m) in April and finished fifth, beaten four and three quarter lengths, to Belardo in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury (1m) in May.
“He won the Bet365 Mile and then ran well in the Lockinge and we are looking forward to a good run from him in the Queen Anne.”

TRYSTER (Charlie Appleby)
Winner of nine of his 13 starts. High class horse who was successful six times on the AW and is now translating that form to the turf. Winner of the Group 1 Jebel Hatta at Meydan (1m 1f) in March when beating Farrier a length and a half and finished a creditable third, beaten two and a half lengths, to Real Steel in the Group 1 Dubai Turf over that course and distance later in the month.
“He goes for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and he is in very good form. As he showed in Dubai he is a horse with some serious acceleration and he handles a flat track very well. Ascot is very different and it is going to be a huge ask to beat A Shin Hikari but he has been working well and we will give it a go. He goes there in great form.”

USHERETTE (Andre Fabre)
Winner of five of her 6 starts. Looks an improved performer this term beating Apres L’Amour at Deauville (7 1/2f) in March, Kenouska at Chantily (7f) in April and landing the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket (1m 1f) in May by a length from Arabian Queen.
“Andre Fabre is an extraordinary judge which come from years of experience and being a great talent. He does have a very high opinion of this filly. The Duke of Cambridge Stakes on Wednesday is a nice race for her even though she has won over nine furlongs as you really need to stay at Ascot. She has the quality for the Duke of Cambridge and it is the most appropriate race for her at Royal Ascot.

VAN DER DECKEN (Paddy Twomey)
Winner of his only start. Made a winning debut at the Curragh (6f) in May when beating Magnification two and a quarter lengths.
“Van Der Recken is a colt we bought from Paddy Twomey and he was impressive when winning on his debut at the Curragh. He will take his chance in the Coventry Stakes.”

YATTWEE (Saeed Bin Suroor)
Winner of two of his 3 starts. Gained his latest success when beating Sir Robert Cheval a neck in a handicap at Newmarket (6f) in May.
“Yattwee has done nothing wrong in three starts and Saeed has him in the Britannia Handicap. He is stepping up in trip but he’s in good form and deserves to take his chance.”