Bringing It Back Home In The Platinum Jubilee

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Campanelle is one of 27 in the Platinum Jubilee on Saturday | Scoop Dyga

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Tuesday's G1 King's Stand S. was a reminder, if it was needed, that Antipodean sprinters operate at an elevated level compared to the majority of their European counterparts and the G1 Platinum Jubilee S. which dominates the closing day of Royal Ascot 2022 could serve to underline that. While he may have been lucky to defeat stablemate Nature Strip (Aus) (Nicconi {Aus}) in the Feb. 19 G1 Black Caviar Lightning, Home Affairs (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}) who had earlier captured the G1 Coolmore Stud S. also at Flemington still represents exalted form as he bids to complete a landmark double for Chris Waller.

“I feel with Home Affairs, after his dominant win in the [G1] Coolmore Stud S., that he is very good over 1200 metres provided he settles and we have done a lot of work with him on that,” his trainer explained. “I loved his jump out at Flemington before getting on the plane–he relaxed very quickly which is what he will have to do to win.”

A Match Made In Heaven

Australia also has last year's G1 Blue Diamond hero Artorius (Aus) (Flying Artie {Aus}), who has 3 1/2 lengths to make up on Home Affairs from the Coolmore Stud S. but is tailor-made for this stiff six furlongs. One of the most familiar sights at Royal Ascot is that of Jamie Spencer sitting chilly behind a wall of horses long after most would dare and his unique style appears the perfect accompaniment to this raider.

“He's a hold-up horse who is usually a bit slow out of the boxes and wants a good strong tempo. He's probably more of a 1400-metre horse, but that should hold him in good stead at Ascot,” Sam Freedman said. “His last 100 metres will be excellent, but his problem is that he can give himself too much to do. He always hits the line hard and just needs to stay in touch. Hopefully Jamie can get him out of the gates a bit better and hold a spot a little closer. We went for him for a reason.”

Getting Reacquainted

One of the intriguing factors in the major sprints is the amount of interplay between the protagonists, with such fine margins separating them and raceday conditions paramount to the outcomes. There was hardly a more dramatic event at last year's Royal meeting than the tussle in testing conditions in the G1 Commonwealth Cup between the dominant pair Dragon Symbol (GB) (Cable Bay {Ire}) and Campanelle (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), with the latter being awarded the race by the stewards. 'TDN Rising Star' Dragon Symbol went on to dance many of the dances in Britain for the remainder of 2021 and it is to be hoped that this season's early form is not a reflection of a decline. Campanelle, who also beat Sacred (GB) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) in the 2020 G2 Queen Mary S., heads here possibly with higher confidence following her cruise in the Apr. 16 Giant's Causeway S.

A Baptism Of Fire

This is an ideal race for fast seven-furlong performers, given the perpetual incline to the line which can find out the pure speedsters and one who looks just quick enough to cope is Cheveley Park Stud's scarcely-seen Sacred. Remarkably, given that she was a busy 2-year-old, she was seen only three times last term and this is her seasonal debut but there is a sense that she has the potential to be as much of a force over six as over that extra furlong. Her defeat of Saffron Beach (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) in Newmarket's G3 Nell Gwyn S. on her 2021 bow stands up to inspection, as does her smooth G2 Hungerford S. win when last seen in August. Fast-ground-dependant, the heatwave has come in time for her and William Haggas has her primed.

“It will be nice to see her again. They're going to go hard, so she will be finishing off well but it's whether they can draw the sting out of her by going so hard–we don't know,” he said. “There isn't a seven-furlong Group 1 until October. There are three seven-furlong Group 2s and they are all within a month, the Lennox, the Hungerford and the City of York, so it's not very helpful.”

Lane One

Saturday also sees the return of the accomplished Hurricane Lane (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), who is unpenalised in the G2 Hardwicke S. despite his trio of victories in the G1 Irish Derby, G1 St Leger and G1 Grand Prix de Paris. Asked to race on ground faster than he has encountered so far in his career, Godolphin's Arc-bound luminary is the first of the Charlie Appleby stable's big Frankels to reappear with the comeback of Adayar (Ire) frustratingly stalled. Both were spoken of last season as being potential improvers at four and there is nothing in their pedigrees to suggest otherwise, so this first sighting of Hurricane Lane is one of the key moments of the meeting.

“What we've seen since he worked on the July Course, we've been very pleased with,” Appleby said. “His constitution as a 3-year-old was phenomenal and on what we've seen early in his 4-year-old career, hopefully we're going to be dealing with the same horse. It's always a question mark, whether it's two to three or three to four, their first run of the season you are hoping you see the same horse but the signs have all been good. We know that his preferred ground is on the easy side of good but it was pretty quick when he won the Irish Derby. If anything, he looks sharper than last year and the team are very excited to see him have his first outing of the year. His programme is working back from the Arc.”

 All Eyes On Alfred Munnings

Aidan O'Brien has made a point of singling out one of his brighter future prospects for the Listed Chesham S. in recent times and it is no different on Saturday, with the easy May 13 Leopardstown maiden winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Alfred Munnings (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) the focus in the day's opener. The half-brother to Snowfall (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) has a big reputation which his trainer has so far not played down, so his performance in a renewal that looks full of potential from elsewhere should provide interesting insight. Amo Racing and Omnihorse Racing's £900,000 Goffs London acquisition Crypto Force (GB) (Time Test {GB}) looked a smart colt when beating Alfred Munnings's unlucky stablemate Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in a Curragh maiden over this seven-furlong trip at the start of June and bids to turn around the fortunes of Kia Joorabchian and trainer Michael O'Callaghan at the meeting.

In The Image Of The Iron Horse

The unusual combination of Shadwell and Saeed bin Suroor is represented in the G3 Jersey S. by the intriguing Monaadah, one of the last of the Giant's Causeways who has impressed so much in his three winning starts at Meydan, Newcastle and Kempton.

Operating under a double penalty in the latter race over this seven-furlong trip at the start of the month, the chestnut shrugged it off to beat 'TDN Rising Star' Audience (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}) with ease and he is one of the meeting's most exciting 3-year-olds. Last year's Listed Flying Scotsman S. winner and G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere runner-up Noble Truth (Fr) (Kingman {GB}) looked to  be clicking with a six-length success allowed to bowl along in front in Newmarket's Listed King Charles II S. Apr. 29 and a repeat of those tactics will be effective on the fast surface.

“Noble Truth is a very headstrong horse and gelding him since he won at Newmarket seems to have settled him down slightly,” trainer Charlie Appleby said. “He won't mind the quick ground and should hopefully be a live player.”

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