Coronation Cup preview: Old Persian the punt in Epsom Group 1Published on: May 29, 2019Author: Jamie Clark
The 1m 4f Group 1 Coronation Cup on Oaks day at Epsom Downs this Friday (15:10) looks a cracker, and Old Persian has a terrific strike rate over the trip for trainer Charlie Appleby.
This Godolphin owned colt is four from five over a mile-and-a-half and tops official ratings from the classy field of 10.
Old Persian progressed throughout last season, starting in handicaps and later winning at both Royal Ascot and the Ebor Festival.
In the first of those success at Group 2 level in the King Edward VII Stakes, he forged ahead before entering the final furlong and only needed to be ridden out to score by 1 1/4 lengths.
Although then only sixth to Latrobe in the Irish Derby, Old Persian was turned out far too quickly (just nine days) after Royal Ascot. This was a free hit for connections as his entry free for that Classic contest was covered.
It paid to put a line through his effort at The Curragh as Old Persian resumed winning ways next time up in the Great Voltigeur at York.
He kept on in really game fashion here, prevailing by a head despite giving stable companion Cross Counter 3lb.
Great Voltigeur form looks key
The runner-up went on to land both the Melbourne Cup in Australia last November and the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan back in March.
Kew Gardens, who was 1 3/4 lengths behind Old Persian in third, came out and scored in the St Leger when upped in trip.
That form has a strong look, then, and the final Classic contest of the season stretched Old Persian’s stamina as he gradually weakened to finish sixth at Doncaster.
As a four-year-old, however, he has since won twice when back down in distance to the 1m 4f of this.
Both of those victories came at Meydan with the latter in the Group 1 Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup night.
Those exploits have earned Old Persian a rating of 122 – which puts him 2lb and upwards clear of his nine rivals here.
As the trip looks tailor-made for this son of super sire Dubawi, he is taken to reverse the Leger form with Kew Gardens.
The Appleby stable is also in fine form and operating at 30 per cent strike rate in the last 14 days at the time of writing.
With James Doyle in the saddle, everything looks in place for a big run. That is why Old Persian appeals most at 7/2 with Unibet for Coronation Cup glory around the undulations of Epsom.
Lightly-raced Lah Ti Dar looks main danger
Newmarket handler John Gosden won this 12 months ago with Cracksman, and has two fillies engaged in this renewal.
Of the pair, preference is for the lightly-raced Lah Ti Dar who was ante post favourite for The Oaks on this card last year.
Injury put paid to the Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber owned four-year-old running in that Classic but, after winning both her starts as a juvenile, she looked better than ever when making a belated reappearance in a Listed contest over this trip at York last August.
Lah Ti Dar simply took apart the seven-runner field to win unchallenged by 10 lengths. It confirmed why she had been talked of as a leading Classic contender and so connections went up in distance for the St Leger.
While it can’t be said that Lah Ti Dar didn’t stay the extended 1m 6f at Doncaster, she never got to Kew Gardens once that re-opposing Irish raider hit the front.
They meet on the same terms her but over more than two furlongs shorter in distance. The reduced trip is the key to this race as many including Old Persian didn’t get home on Town Moor, yet are better suited by a mile-and-a-half.
Scope for even more progress
Lah Ti Dar was then far from disgraced when a 1 3/4 lengths third to the thriving Magical on soft ground in the Group 1 for fillies and mares on British Champions Day at Ascot.
The winner has since come out and notched a hat-trick this season. While she has three-quarters of a length to find on runner-up and stable companion Coronet and now meets her again off 6lb worse terms, that one ran below par on reappearance.
Lah Ti Dar, meanwhile, toughed things out to score by a neck over what looked an inadequate 1m 2f of the Group 2 Middleton Stakes at the York Dante Festival on her return to action.
A step back up to this trip looks sure to suit her based on the way she shaped last time out. It’s also worth remembering Lah Ti Dar has greater scope for improvement than fellow Gosden inmate Coronet.
She also shares a damsire with Old Persian, and is also by Dubawi. Having won four of her six career starts, there still looks to be plenty more to come from Lah Ti Dar over a trip which may prove to be her optimum.
It would be no surprise to see her follow-up at Epsom, and she is a top-price 9/2 with Coral to give connections compensation for missing The Oaks.
Trip may be concern for Kew Gardens
Aidan O’Brien is the most successful trainer in Coronation Cup history saddling six different horses to eight successes.
The Ballydoyle maestro has two engaged this year with the aforementioned Kew Gardens is the clear pick of the pair. While the son of Galileo is a Group 1 winner at the trip, all his best form is arguably over further.
Kew Gardens was a very ready winner of the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot over 1m 6f last season and confirmed the form with runner-up Southern France in the St Leger.
When then dropped back in trip for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, however, he was nearest at the finish and a four-length seventh to Enable.
He now meets Salouen, who finished a neck in front, off 6lb worse terms. Kew Gardens also disappointed when sent off odds-on for his return to action in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes over 1m 5f at the Chester May Festival.
Although penalised for his Classic triumph, he was eight lengths behind the re-opposing Morando. A 4lb swing in the weights here does not guarantee he will reverse that form.
Kew Gardens has shaped as a stayer throughout his career and, while he may well come on for that reappearance on soft ground, he is worth taking on at 9/4 with 888Sport now down in distance.
Morando and Coronet each-way contenders
Salouen almost sprang a shock 12 months ago when making Cracksman really work for victory. This Sylvester Kirk trained front-runner is in much deeper waters this time, however.
Morando represents King Power Racing and trainer Andrew Balding who continues to be among the winners.
This six-year-old remains relatively unexposed over this trip and, having lowered the colours of Kew Gardens last time out, has obvious claims of a place.
The step up to this distance when dead-heating in the Group 3 St Simon Stakes at Newbury on his final start of last season suggests he is well worth a crack at this level.
Although this demands more than that or the Chester race during which Morando acted best on the soft surface, odds of 14/1 with BetVictor say he could have a hand in the finish.
Coronet, meanwhile, has been a pretty consistent filly for Gosden and could well come on a bundle for that below par fourth in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket.
This five-year-old grey has a bit to find with re-opposing first two home Communique and Defoe, but back form suggests she is worth forgiving that reappearance run.
Coronet ran a string of solid races last season, going down a nose in a Group 1 over in France.
She confirmed form with Salouen next time up when a 9 1/4 lengths third to Crystal Ocean in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
Coronet was then runner-up to subsequent Arc second Sea Of Class when back against her own sex in the Yorkshire Oak, and filled the same spot behind Magical on British Champions Day.
A repeat of any of those runs here means odds of 16/1 with betway for Coronet represent real each-way value.