The mile-and-a-quarter Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes scheduled for day three of Royal Ascot, June 16, is a race that offers a significant stepping stone for horses who may have failed to stay 12 furlongs at a high level, or are stepping up from a mile to middle-distances.
Blue de Vega, trained in Ireland by Michael O’Callaghan, falls into the latter group and looks a very interesting contender.
Blue Vega (7/1), Favorite Contender
Currently rated at around the 7/1 mark, the Lope de Vega colt who won last season’s Group 3 Killavulan Stakes at Leopardstown, began this term by chasing home subsequent Irish 2000 Guineas winner Awtaad in the listed Tetrarch Stakes at the Curragh in early-May.
Three weeks later he stepped up to a mile for the first time and finished third behind old rival Awtaad in the colts’ classic, keeping on at the one pace but being by no means disgraced.
There’s plenty to suggest in Blue de Vega’s pedigree that he could improve again for the extra two furlongs of Thursday’s race, and having already placed in a classic it’s not too hard to argue that this drop in class combined with a step up in trip could prove an irresistible combination.
The first, second, and third home in the listed Havana Gold Newmarket Stakes at HQ on 2000 Guineas day could all meet again in the Tercentenary Stakes.
Charlie Appleby’s Hawkbill (10/1) stayed on well under William Buick to beat the Sir Michael Stoute -trained Abdon (10/1) by a length-and-a-quarter, with William Haggas, favourite Sky Kingdom (12/1) staying-on all too late to be third.
At this stage of their career many three-years-old improve out of all recognition so it would come as no surprise if the placings of the three concerned in the Newmarket finish are somewhat different this time around. None of the trio has run since and the betting market should again act as a barometer to the respective expectations of the connections of each of these three potential improvers.
Firnas (10/1), Value Bet
Firnas could be the dark horse in the race after bolting home in what looked a decent Newmarket maiden last month. Charlie Appleby apparently holds this son of Dubawi in some regard and he could appeal to some punters at 10/1.
Other Horse Selections
It would be a surprise if Roger Charlton’s Imperial Aviator turns up for this race having beaten only one home in the French Derby at Chantilly on June 5 when strongly fancied.
He had previously looked a horse to follow with eye-catching wins at Leicester and Newbury, and can’t be discounted on the back of one run in what is always a rough and tumble contest in France. His powers of recovery would have to be special though for the current 12/1 chance to run again, and run well, so soon.
And it’s a similar story for David Simcock’s likeable colt Algometer (14/1), winner of the listed Cocked Hat Strakes at Goodwood last month and not disgraced last week when seventh behind Harzand in the Investec Derby at Epsom where he appeared to not see out the 12 furlong race. The two furlong drop back in trip should help, but again, he may not yet have recovered from his tough race in the Derby.
In the News
 skysports.com, Hawkbill primed for Tercentenary, 2016