Montiridge the opening day banker for Hannon and Hughes
Montiridge looked certain to win the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot when he loomed up alongside Gale Force Ten inside the final furlong. Aidan O’Brien’s colt pulled out extra in the closing stages to win by a head but it was still a cracking effort from the runner-up.
The son of Ramonti has always been held in high regard by the stable and he carries maximum confidence in the Listed Insure Pink Stubbs Stakes. He had previously been a most impressive winner of the Heron Stakes at Sandown having disappointed slightly on his return to action at Windsor.
His two-year-old form included a fine second to this season’s Irish Derby winner Trading Leather in a Group 3 race at Newmarket. Richard Hughes will be perfectly happy to make the running if necessary in this small field and he will take a lot of beating.
Hannon also saddles Alhebayeb who was a fair fourth in the Haydock Silver Bowl under a big weight. That race usually throws up some quality three-year-olds but this year’s renewal was affected by the very fast ground.
A bigger danger is likely to come from John Gosden’s Ashdan who is yet to race this term. The son of Dansili won his first two races in good style last season before finishing fourth to Dawn Approach in the Dewhurst Stakes.
That form obviously entitles him to the utmost respect here, although several of Gosden’s horses have run as though needing their first outing. Fantastic Moon ran far better than his final placing suggests in the King Edward VII Stakes.
The Solario Stakes winner ran too freely under Kieren Fallon and had nothing left in the closing stages of that mile and a half event. Jeremy Noseda has taken the step of dropping him back to a mile here in the hope that he can recapture his juvenile form.
Andrew Balding’s Race And Status completes a small but select field. His last run was in the French Derby where he seemingly failed to last home and weakened into seventh. He showed plenty of promise as a two-year-old and will have improved for his first start of the new season.