Coventry Stakes preview: Arizona the answer to juvenile Group 2 at Royal Ascot

Published on: June 17, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
2019 Coventry Stakes preview for Royal Ascot includes two Aidan O'Brien trained horses

Irish handler Aidan O’Brien has a tremendous record in the Coventry Stakes, and Arizona looks a worthy favourite at 11/4 with Unibet to provide him with another winner of the Group 2 juvenile colts’ contest over 6f on the opening day of Royal Ascot (15:05).

The Ballydoyle maestro has won the race a record eight times courtesy Harbour Master (1997), Fasliyev (1999), Landseer (2001), Statue of Liberty (2002), Henrythenavigator (2007), Power (2011), War Command (2013), and Caravaggio (2016).

In Arizona, he has a son of No Nay Never who shaped with bags of promise on debut when a tenderly handled three-length runner-up to Sunday Sovereign at The Curragh, before going on to bolt up in a nine-runner maiden at the same venue.

Jockey Ryan Moore quickly had Aizona disputing the lead and when he asked him to go about his business two from home the response was immediate.

Arizona showed an impressive turn of foot to shoot clear and quickly put daylight between himself and his rivals, eventually winning eased down by eight lengths from stable companion King Of Athens.

It was an awesome display of speed and power, and one which suggested Arizona was a hugely exciting prospect who needed keeping firmly onside.

He also clocked a good time, just 0.03 seconds below standard, so that backed up the visually stunning impact of the success.

There was simply nothing not to like about the performance, and Arizona has bags of scope and potential.

With Moore once again in the saddle, he is strongly fancied to take this en route to even better things.

Threat looks just that

Threat scored in fine style on debut and looks a massive player for trainer Richard Hannon now upped in trip.

That win came in a four-runner affair last month over 5f at Newmarket where the son of Footstepsinthesand showed plenty of pace, before running on strongly to beat Electrical Storm by 2 3/4 lengths.

Threat was well on top at the finish and won going away, so the extra furlong in this is sure to suit, and the time of the race was good.

Electrical Storm, who was sent off the heavily-backed favourite, also went into the race shaped very well on his debut over the same course and distance the previous month.

Path Of Thunder, who was beaten a further 3 1/4 lengths into third, has also since run well to finish runner-up at Ramouthy.

The fourth home Spanish Angel, who was beaten a total of 15 1/2 lengths, went down by only a neck next time up at Goodwood.

That gives the form a solid look and suggests that Threat, who can be backed at 3/1 with Coral, is an above average sort who is well worth a crack at this level.

So, with the in-form Tom Marquand (who partnered him that day), once again in the saddle, a bold bid to follow-up looks assured and Threat this rates the main danger to Arizona.

Guildsman holds solid each-way claims

Trainer Archie Watson has his team in fine fettle and saddles a very interesting contender in the shape of Guildsmana 7/1 shot with William Hill.

This Qatar Racing owned son of Wootton Bassett was highly touted ahead of his debut in a seven-runner novice contest over 6f at Goodwood and got the job done in runaway style.

After dwelling at the start, Guildsman quickly recovered the lost ground and took close order at halfway under a confident-looking Oisin Murphy.

He then took up the running two from home and, despite showing distinct signs of greenness, stretched clear to win by six lengths from Dark Kris.

It was a further five lengths back to the third home Good Earth, so the form may well turn out to be strong.

What could not be questioned, however, was the manner in which Guildsman strode clear to win with any amount in hand.

It was a scintillating performance to the eye and one which suggested he had a big future. With rain also forecast, Guildsman’s proven form on soft ground is a big plus.

So, with Watson operating at an impressive strike rate of 23.5 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing, and enjoying a terrific season so far with his juveniles, the potentially exciting Guildsmanooks looks each-way value at the odds on offer.

Fort Myers a lively outsider

Although Arizona looks the clear pick of four-runners for O’Brien, it would be folly to underestimate the chances of his stable companion Fort Myers.

The stable’s so-called second strings often outrun their odds and cause an upset, and this one can be backed at 16/1 with BetVictor who are paying a fifth of outright odds for four places.

That price looks big given that the son of War Front won nicely on debut at Dundalk and was arguably unlucky to follow-up last time out in a decent quality eight-runner minor event at Newbury last month.

Fort Myers lost vital ground when rearing in the stalls and then got badly bumped inside the final two furlongs when mounting a challenge.

It was to his credit that he then recovered and ran on strongly to go down by just a short-head to Temple Of Heaven.

Given how the race panned out, it was a terrific effort and one which can be upgraded. There is also no real reason why Fort Myers should not confirm the form with the third home Well Of Wisdom.

At the odds on offer, he looks a lively outsider and well worth considering each-way in a wide-open looking renewal of the Coventry.