Britannia Stakes preview: Velorum weighted to strike on handicap debut at Royal AscotPublished on: June 19, 2019Author: David Metcalf
The Britannia Stakes is a fiendishly hard puzzle to solve, but Velorum could well have got in lightly on handicap debut and looks the one to be on at 10/1 with BetVictor in the straight mile contest at Royal Ascot on Thursday (17:00).
This beautifully bred Godolphin owned son of Derby winner Sea The Stars shaped with enormous promise on his sole start as a juvenile when runner-up to Skardu in a hot 14-runner maiden at Newmarket.
After being awkwardly away, Velorum made good headway two from home and kept on nicely under tender handling to be nearest at the finish and beaten two lengths.
The winner is a very smart sort who is now rated 111 after finishing third in the 2000 Guineas and an excellent 1 1/2 lengthS fourth of 11 to Circus Maximus in the Group 1 St James’s Place here on Tuesday.
Estihdaaf, who came third, has since landed a Group 3 to be rated 106 and the fourth, fifth and seventh have also gone on to taste success. That gives the form a very strong look and suggests at opening marK of 96 for Velorum could well underestimate his ability.
Charlie Appleby’s charge also comes into the race having won both his starts this season in good style. In the last of those at Yarmouth, Velorum asserted close home to beat Auduraya by a cosy length.
The runner-up, to whom Velourm was giving 7lb, is a well-regarded sort who had previously chased home subsequent Listed placer and now 104 rated Twist N’Shake.
That is again strong form and Velorum looks a pattern performer in the making who could potentially be thrown-in at the weights.
Motafaawit bidding for hat-trick
A case can be made for plenty in a fiercely competitive race in which a maximum field of 30 are set to go to post, but Motafaawit makes more appeal than most given his progressive profile.
This Richard Hannon trained three-year-old has shown improved form since being gelded at the end of his juvenile campaign which saw him win one of his three starts.
He made a winning return to action on handicap debut at Beverley when staying on strongly from off the pace to get up in the final stride and beat King Of Tonga by a short-head off a mark of 90.
Motafaawit got put up 7lb for that, but showed a willing attitude to follow-up when sent off the 11/4 favourite and gamely fending off the late challenge of Awe to land a competitive class 2 handicap over 7f here by half-a-length.
It was a most taking display and Awe has won since. The pair also pulled 4 1/2 lengths clear of the third home, so that gives the form a solid look and suggests a further 6lb rise in the weights for Motafaawit is more than fair.
The son of Intikhab also now meets the runner-up on 4lb better terms and is therefore entitled to come out on top again.
Motafaawit now tackles a mile for the first time, but his breeding suggests that it should be within his compass.
He also appeals as the type who should have even more to offer and looks a solid each-way contender at 12/1 with William Hill, who are paying a fifth of outright odds for five places.
Awe can’t be discounted
Despite being worse off at the weights with Motafaawit, the aforementioned Awe looks capable of a bold bid and appeals each-way at 16/1 with Coral, who are offering enhanced place terms of a fifth the odds on the first six.
After that clash here, this William Haggas trained son of Bated Breath shaped far better than the bare result suggests when a 5 1/4 lengths eighth of 14 to Beatboxer in the valuable Silver Bowl over 1m at Haydock when encountering plenty of trouble in-running.
Awe has since gained compensation for that luckless effort in landing a 12-runner affair over 7f at Newmarket by a length from Blown By The Wind off a mark of 88.
He was always handy at Headquarters and, after being produced to take up the running a furlong from home, ran on strongly to go clear towards the finish.
The way in which Awe hit the line hard suggested that he would have no problem stepping back up to the mile trip of this.
He also showed a willing attitude that day and is clearly on the improve, so a revised rating of 94 should not be beyond him.
Awe should be up to making his presence felt under crack Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy and, at the odds on offer, looks overpriced given his upwardly mobile profile.