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2015 Royal Ascot news round-up: Al Shaqab purchase King Of Rooks

Al Shaqab have strengthened their Royal Ascot team by purchasing leading Norfolk Stakes hope King Of Rooks.

The Richard Hannon-trained looked a top notch prospect when romping for a five length success over Buratino in the Listed National Stakes at Sandown when last seen in action to make it two wins from three starts.

The runner-up has since gone on to give the form a boost by bolting up in the Investec Woodcote Stakes at Epsom, and Hannon revealed today that King Of Rocks had subsequently been purchased by Al Shaqab.

“King Of Rooks is in great form for the Norfolk, in which he will carry new colours, those of Al Shaqab Racing, having been bought by Sheikh Joaan,” Hannon said on his website.

King Of Rooks now looks Al Shaqab’s strongest chance of Ascot success next week, but the powerful owners also have a couple of other big hopes in the shape of Ayaar (12/1 with Coral for the Royal Hunt Cup) and Ectot who is 7/1 joint-second favourite with Coral for the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.

Classic winners to clash in St James’s Palace Stakes
Make Believe, winner of the French 2000 Guineas, is set to take on English and Irish Guineas victor Gleneagles at Royal Ascot next week after he was supplemented for St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday, June 16th.

The Andre Fabre-trained colt was added to the field for the Group 1 contest for three-year-olds at the latest confirmation stage, and is among 15 that remain in the field.

Make Believe beat stablemate New Bay in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp last month, and that form has been given a massive boost by the runner-up going on to land the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly in impressive fashion.

Coral opened up betting on the race today and Make Believe their 3/1 second favourite. Gleneagles heads the market at 8/11.

Territories, who chased home Gleneagles at Newmarket and is stable companion of Make Believe, is a 7/1 shot along with Sir Michael Stoute’s unbeaten and improving Consort.

Moore set to stay loyal to The Grey Gatsby
Ryan Moore looks set to ride The Grey Gatsby in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot next week, for which he is currently the 7/1 second-favourite with Coral.

The dual champion jockey steered the Kevin Ryan trained grey to victory in the Dante at York, the French Derby at Chantilly and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown last year.

Moore has also been on board The Grey Gatsby twice this year, finishing runner-up to Solow in Dubai and a disappointing fourth in last month’s Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

The Grey Gatsby’s trainer Kevin Ryan said today that they were “nearly sure” that he would be onboard again, adding that it would be a “big bonus”.

Moore could also have partnered Sir Michael Stoute’s Cannock Chase (12/1), who he has ridden in every race so far in his career.

International superstars on course to do battle in Queen Anne
French ace Solow and Hong Kong star Able Friend remain on course for a mouthwatering clash at Royal Ascot next week after starring among 11 confirmations for Tuesday’s Queen Anne Stakes which gets the five-day spectacular underway on June 16th.

Solow was a brilliant winner of the Dubai Turf at Meydan in late March and followed up in similar fashion in last month’s Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp.

He is currently the red-hot 6/4 favourite with Coral to provide trainer Freddy Head with a second victory in the race following Goldikova’s triumph in 2010.

The John Moore trained Able Friend has won 11 of his 16 starts in his homeland, and is the 9/4 second favourite with Coral.

Night Of Thunder looks the main hope for the home team following a successful return in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and can be backed at 5/1.