What are the best bets in the Coventry Stakes?
The Coventry Stakes, run over a straight 6f, is an event with Mill reef and Royal Applause on its roll of honour (albeit 25 years apart) and it tells of class, rather than speed, being the decisive factor.
Aidan O’Brien can boast seven wins in the race, most recently with War Command in 2013, and the fact that Caravaggio is his sole representative this time round is perhaps a tip in itself. The son of Scat Daddy, sire of Prix Morny and Norfolk Stakes winner No Nay Never, has certainly looked the part in winning both his starts over 5f in impressive fashion, including a Listed contest on Irish 2000 Guineas day in a fast time considering the heavy conditions and despite running green. He’s a worthy favourite then at around the 5/2 mark, though he does have his stamina for 6f to prove and connections also had the Norfolk Stakes (5f) in mind for him.
Who else is fancied?
Ger Lyons’ Psychedelic Funk is also 2-2, both wins coming over this trip, and the manner of his latest six-length success at Naas, where he picked up from a furlong out to draw clear on ground considered softer than ideal, marks him down as a high-class juvenile. His sire Choisir memorably completed a Royal Ascot double when landing the King’s Stand Stakes and Golden Jubilee Stakes at the 2003 meeting, and he’s clearly inherited plenty of that horse’s talent.
The British challenge is headed by Richard Hannon’s Mehmas, a most impressive winner over 6f at Newbury on Lockinge day, when easily defeating the highly-regarded Global Challenge. That horse reversed the form in the Listed National Stakes at Sandown, but the drop back to 5f was possibly against the Hannon runner and Ascot’s stiff 6f should be more up his street.
The Mark Johnton-trained Yalta is unbeaten in two starts and absolutely hosed up over Pontefract’s stiff 6f last time, when hardly getting out of second gear to beat three previous winners. This is a huge step up but connections have had this race in mind for him since his debut success at Goodwood in May, and the son of Exceed And Excel has multiple Group 1 entries later in the season.
Any decent outsiders?
Mokarris was a taking winner on his debut at Haydock and this 220,000gns buy is clearly above average, although his action suggests that a proper fast surface (unlikely here) will suit. Kevin Ryan’s Broken Stones is another who impressed when making a winning debut (at York) and that was despite a slow start, jumping the road and changing his legs at halfway. He too might want quicker ground, though, and will require 7f before long.
This looks a huge ask for Wesley Ward’s unbeaten Silvertoni, the only filly in the race.
Choice quote: “Yalta has a lovely physique and is an exciting prospect. I would say he´ll now go for the Coventry at Royal Ascot” – John Ferguson, racing manager.
Who’s going to win?
Caravaggio will be hard to beat but there is not much between him and Psychedelic Funk on a line through Ambiguity, a horse they have both beaten comprehensively, so the Lyons runner is preferred at the prices. However, this prize might be staying at home with YALTA fancied to land the spoils. A big, strong sort with loads of scope and a great attitude, he can give his stable back-to-back wins in the juvenile feature, having taken it with Buratino (who is from the same sire) 12 months ago.
Yalta @ 8/1 bet365
All odds were correct at time of posting.