PATIENCE is one of the most important traits for any trainer to have and it is something John Gosden has always been blessed with.
He doesn’t rush his horses, always trying to think long term rather than quick win, but even he can make mistakes.
The two-time champion trainer has been self-critical of his handling of TOO DARN HOT this season, who reappeared in the Dante Stakes at York and then ran in the Irish 2000 Guineas just nine days later.
Everything went so smoothly for the champion two-year-old last year who was unbeaten in four starts, capping off his campaign with an impressive win in the Dewhurst Stakes in October.
A red-hot ante-post favourite for the 2000 Guineas all winter, the son of Dubawi had to miss his intended starting point in the Greenham Stakes because of a splint bone injury and Gosden then ran out of time to get him ready for the Guineas.
It wasn’t an ideal start and the trainer then admitted the colt was only 80 per cent fit when finishing second to Telecaster in the Dante.
A short gap before the Curragh proved too tough an ask for him where he was runner-up again, this time to Phoenix Of Spain who he had beaten in the Champagne Stakes last autumn.
Charlie Hills’ son of Lope De Vega was hugely impressive in Ireland and will be a tough nut to crack in this, but Gosden has said that Too Darn Hot is in the best form he’s been all year.
I cannot erase the memory of how good he looked last season and even though things haven’t gone to plan so far this term, today could be the day he gets his mojo back.
There shouldn’t be much between the top two in the betting and I would rather back Too Darn Hot at 5/2 with Star Sports than Phoenix Of Spain at 15/8.
It is said every year but it is still very difficult to understand why the Coventry Stakes (3.05pm) isn’t a Group One race.
Some brilliant horses have landed this contest over the years and 12 months ago Calyx was a breath-taking winner.
The obvious place to start is Aidan O’Brien who has won it a record eight times and saddles four this afternoon.
Arizona, the mount of Ryan Moore, is likely to go off favourite having bolted up by eight lengths in a Curragh maiden last month.
I’m not convinced by the form of that race, though, so will take on the Ballydoyle battalion with Richard Hannon’s THREAT.
His father won this race in 2009 and 2010 with Canford Cliffs and Strong Suit and I think ‘Junior’ can bag his first this afternoon.
The son of Footstepsinthesand was very impressive when winning a five-furlong maiden at Newmarket on Guineas weekend and he looks certain to appreciate the step up to six.
The yard know when they’ve got a good juvenile and with a handy draw in stall 13, he looks the play at 10/3 with Ladbrokes.
Elarqam is the obvious one in the closing Wolferton Stakes (5.35pm) having a won a 1m2f Listed race at Goodwood last time.
However, WILLIE JOHN, who was second to him off level weights that day may be able to get a bit closer receiving 3lbs today.
He has always been well regarded and looks a fair each-way price at 10/1 with Star Sports.
Threat 3.05pm Royal Ascot
Too Darn Hot 4.20pm Royal Ascot
Willie John e/w 5.35pm Royal Ascot