Strong Australian and American Support Among Overseas Entries For Royal Ascot

Artorius | Bronwen Healy

Dual Australian Group 1 winner Coolangatta (Aus) (Written Tycoon {Aus}) is one of the leading runners signed on from foreign climbs for the upcoming Royal Ascot meeting in June. Trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, the G1 Lightning S. heroine is targeting the G1 King's Stand S.

David Eustace said, “Coolangatta galloped yesterday and will have her first proper workout next week. She has improved again physically from the Lightning S. and we feel we are ahead of the game in terms of her preparation.

“We are stepping into the unknown when it comes to international travel but Coolangatta has done a lot of travelling around Australia and is used to being in unfamiliar places. We are hopeful that she will handle that side of things well but you never know until you do it. We think the 1000 metres of the King's Stand, with the uphill finish, looks ideal and genuine fast ground will be to her advantage as well.”

Coolangatta is not the only Australian runner signed on to the royal meeting, as both Artorius (Aus) (Flying Artie {Aus}) and The Astrologist (Aus) (Zoustar {Aus}), who are trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman, and Leon and Troy Corstens, respectively, are both aiming for the G1 Platinum Jubilee S. Artorius finished third in the Platinum Jubilee in 2022, and enters off a victory in the G1 Canterbury S. at Randwick earlier this year. In The Astrologist's case, he ran too good to lose when second by a head in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan at the end of March.

Sam Freedman said, “Artorius had his first improving gallop the other day, having come off a bit of a fresh. He seems to be shaping up really well and will have a couple of trials over here before we put him on the plane.

“I think he is definitely hitting Royal Ascot this year in better form than he was 12 months ago.His form lines are strong and I think you guys over there will see a more tactically versatile horse. He will be able to sit a lot closer, which will be important, whereas last year he was rattling home.”

Troy Corstens said, “We were delighted with The Astrologist's effort in Dubai. He ran to expectations and came very close, which gave us the confidence to continue the journey with him.

“He has settled beautifully in Newmarket–he is a very adaptable horse and enjoys the travel. The plan is for him to have a racecourse gallop this week on the Rowley Mile in preparation for the G2 1895 Duke Of York S.

“He will then head to Royal Ascot for the Platinum Jubilee. We feel that this will be the perfect race for him. He is a renowned straight-track horse in Australia and we feel the testing course of Ascot will suit him immensely.”

 

Strong American Contingent Ready To Go

Twelve-time Royal Ascot-winning trainer Wesley Ward is bringing a slew of Royal Ascot runners, anchored by Love Reigns (Ire) (U S Navy Flag) and Twilight Gleaming (Ire) (National Defense {GB}) for Stonestreet Stables to Royal Ascot. Both enter off of stakes victories at the recently concluded Keeneland Spring Meet, with the former pointing to the King's Stand S. and the latter eyeing both the King's Stand and the G1 Commonwealth Cup S.

Ward said, “Love Reigns and Twilight Gleaming are doing great. They are both coming off nice comeback wins and their owner Barbara Banke [of Stonestreet Stables] is really looking forward to getting them over there. She loves Ascot as much as me and we are all excited.

“I was really happy with Love Reigns in the Limestone S. She had to switch a couple of times in the run but showed a great attitude to get up on the line, while Twilight Gleaming showed a lot of speed in her comeback race.

“Twilight Gleaming will definitely go for the King's Stand S., whereas Love Reigns will have an entry there and in the Commonwealth Cup.”

Besides Ward's older horses, he has at least three juveniles making the trip for the storied 2-year-old prizes in 'TDN Rising Star' American Rascal (Curlin) out of King's Stand and G2 Queen Mary S. victress Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy); Fandom (GB) (Showcasing {GB}), and Bledsoe (Igbaal).

Ward added, “American Rascal has come out of his first race in super shape. The team at Stonestreet really liked him and it was exciting to see him produce a performance like that.

“Fandom looks another good prospect after his debut win on the grass and we also have some nice 2-year-olds to run at Belmont, so we will see what else unfolds in the coming days.

“Bledsoe has already travelled over to England and will run in a novice race at Ascot on 13 May. He won America's first 2-year-old race of the year on the dirt at Keeneland but his mother Shrinking Violet was a multiple stakes winner of the turf, so we are looking forward to getting him on the grass.”

Brad Cox's GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint heroine Caravel (Mizzen Mast) is pencilled in to make the trip, and GI Belmont Derby victor Classic Causeway (Giant's Causeway) for trainer Ken McPeek is a potential starter in the G1 Prince Of Wales's S.

McPeek said, “Classic Causeway had a nice run first time up this year on the dirt at Oaklawn. Then we came back for the [GII] Oaklawn H. and he was off the board, so we have decided to switch back to the turf.

“He is going for a prep race in Kentucky on 3 June in the Arlington S. and, if he runs well there, we will point him towards the Prince Of Wales's S.”

New York Thunder (Nyquist) for trainer Jorge Delgado holds a Commonwealth Cup entry, while Hong Kong runner Wellington (Aus) (All Too Hard) has been nominated for both the Platinum Jubilee and King's Stand.

Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs at Ascot Racecourse, said, “We are very pleased to see entries for Royal Ascot 2023 from across the world including Group 1 winners from Britain, Ireland, France, the USA, Australia and Hong Kong.

“It is particularly exciting to see so many strong entries from Australia, including the Black Caviar Lightning S. winner Coolangatta, who looks set to try and follow Nature Strip's victory in the King's Stand S. It's also exciting to see Artorius is on track to try and go two better than when third in the Platinum Jubilee S. last year.

“Wesley Ward again has a strong team headed by Love Reigns and Twilight Gleaming along with the 2-year-olds while it will also be great to see Breeders' Cup winner Caravel represent America.”

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