BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE BEST OF TODAY’S ROYAL ASCOT ACTION
THE opening day of Royal Ascot promised two huge battles when the line-ups for the Queen Anne Stakes and St James’ Palace Stakes were confirmed.
Yet the dominant performances of Solow over Able Friend in the former and Gleneagles over Make Believe in the latter served up something of an anti-climax.
Today’s three-way clash between FOUND, Lucida and Ervedya in the Coronation Stakes (4:20pm) should live up to its billing, however.
Aidan O’Brien’s filly Found went into last winter as the ante-post favourite for both the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks, having won the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac in pretty decisive fashion on her final two-year-old start.
But she’s had her fair share of hold-ups since, missing both Newmarket and Epsom this season.
After a relatively disappointing reappearance at the Curragh she bounced back to run a blinder in the Irish 1,000 Guineas when just failing to reel in Pleascach.
Suited by both trip and the decent surface, I expect her to dramatically step up again and provide Ryan Moore with yet another winner at a meeting he has already taken by storm.
My selection’s biggest danger on paper may well be Ervedya, who won the French 1,000 Guineas on her most recent outing, when she held off another of today’s opponents, Irish Rookie.
She has won four of her six career starts. But she was well beaten by Found on a decent surface as a two-year-old and there is no evidence to suggest she has improved past the Ballydoyle filly.
I also have reservations about the surface for Ervedya. Both of her parents seemed at home with plenty of cut in the ground and she may well have inherited those preferences.
Jim Bolger’s Lucida won’t mind conditions and rates a real threat if she stays the one mile trip. She grabbed the 1,000 Guineas by the scruff of the neck when taking over going down into the dip, only to be swallowed up by Legatissimo.
Whether she wasn’t fit enough, hit the front too soon, or simply didn’t see out the trip, only time will tell. She might just have been beaten by a special filly.
Either way, she certainly wasn’t strong at the death – and for that reason I’m sticking with Found at 2/1 with Betway.
FOUND 4.20pm Ascot (today)