Royal Ascot 2015: Coventry Stakes preview (15.05)
Top Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has a tremendous record in the Coventry Stakes, and Air Force Blue can further enhance it with victory in this year’s renewal of this 6f Group 2 juvenile contest at Royal Ascot.
The Ballydoyle handler has saddled seven winners of the race since 1997, and in Air Force Blue has a colt who looked potentially top drawer when making a winning debut at the Curragh in what is traditionally a strong maiden.
Air Force Blue went slightly left as the stall opened, but showed plenty of speed to quickly take up the running and, despite wandering inside the final furlong through greenness, kept on strongly to win by a neck.
It was a most taking performance, especially as O’Brien’s two-year-olds had been needing the run.
Indeed, Air Force Blue was the first youngster to win first time up this season for the yard and the form of the race has also worked out well.
The runner-up Rockaway Valley has since come out and bolted up by 4 1/4 lengths at the Curragh, and the third home Tonkinese also scored next time at the same venue by three lengths.
That suggests it was an above average contest, and Air Force Blue is certain to come on a bundle for the outing.
The well-bred son of War Front also has the services of Ryan Moore in the saddle, and everything points to huge run.
Fellow Irish raider Round Two has won his two starts in good style, and looks sure to make a bold bid to land the hat-trick.
The colt is trained by Jim Bolger, who saddled the brilliant Dawn Approach to win the race in 2012 and, after beating a subsequent Listed winner on his debut at Naas, showed a good attitude to bag his own Listed success in a 5f contest at the Curragh.
Round Two stayed on well to beat Washington DC by two lengths in the latter and the step back up to 6f, over which he scored on dbeut, is sure to suit.
Of the home team, the William Haggas trained War Department could prove strongest.
The colt created a huge impression when landing a 6f contest on his debut at Leicester, travelling strongly throughout before being produced to lead inside the final furlong and quickening clear to score easily by 4 1/2 lengths in a good time.
This represents a big step up in class, but War Department could well be up to it judged on the manner of that success and represents a yard in good form at present.
Coral betting tip: Air Force Blue is well worth a punt to send his rivals to Coventry!