Ballydoyle, the three-year-old filly trained at Ballydoyle by the great Aidan O’Brien, looks set to be among the market principals for a fascinating renewal of the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on Friday.
It’s a sign of the esteem in which this filly was held before she even set foot on a racecourse, that her billionaire owners decided to name her after the great racing establishment in Ireland from which they have seen so many outstanding horses win major races around the world in their colours.
Ballydoyle, Favorite to Win Coronation Stakes
While she may not currently be No.1 in the fillies’ pecking order – that honour goes to her superb, dual classic winner and stable companion Minding – Ballydoyle has already proved herself a smart filly, winning the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp last October then finishing a fine second to Minding in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.
Given a rest since then, Ballydoyle should be spot on for the Coronation Stakes, and while the opposition looks tough, she may well go there with a favourite’s chance and is currently offered at around 5/2 in the ante-post market.
Nemoralia (3/1), Top Contender
3/1 second-favourite at present is Jeremy Noseda’s smart Nemoralia, runner-up to Ballydoyle in a Newmarket maiden last July before running a tremendous second in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park, New York, in October.
She went on to be beaten just a length into a close third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf at Keeneland and has already shown she has trained on this season when powering to a six-length victory at York last month in the listed Michael Seeley Memorial Stakes.
Noseda is a fine trainer and is reportedly very hopeful his daughter of US sire More Than Ready will again give Ballydoyle plenty to think about.
Top Horses to Win Royal Ascot Friday
Last month’s French 1000 Guineas won by La Cressoniere – who won’t be at Royal Ascot – may nevertheless have a significant bearing on the Coronation Stakes with the possibility of the runner-up Nathrah, the third Qemaah, fourth Besharah, fifth Spectre, and seventh Alice Springs, all meeting again!
Both John Gosden’s Nathrah and Jean-Clause Rouget’s Qemaah are priced up at 8/1, and there should be little between the pair once again. Besharah (16/1) and Spectre (an inexplicably big 50/1) were right behind, and ahead of Alice Springs, offered at just 10/1.
If the ground rides on the soft side then Adrian Keatley’s tremendous Irish 1000 Guineas winner Jet Setting would have to be very seriously considered after causing a sensation when beating Minding at the Curragh in a ding-dong finish, the pair pulling 10 lengths clear of third-placed Now or Never, another who could line up for Friday’s contest and is currently a 14/1 shot.
Offered at 5/1, Jet Setting is due to be sold on the eve of Royal Ascot and will surely make a very fancy price. It remains to be seen whether or not whoever buys the daughter of Fast Company will a) run her in the Coronation Stakes, or b) keep her in training with rising star Keatley.
One other filly worth a mention is the potential northern raider Fireglow, an excellent fourth in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and unlucky to catch a tartar when second to the very exciting So Mi Dar in the Group 3 Musidora Stakes over 10 furlongs at York in May. Dropping back to a stiff mile, Mark Johnston’s filly should be greatly respected and at 14/1 could represent the best each-way value in what promises to be a great race.