Duke Of Cambridge Stakes preview: I Can Fly fancied in Group 2 at Royal Ascot

Published on: June 18, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
2019 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes preview from Royal Ascot includes I Can Fly

I Can Fly has form in the book which suggests she’s the one to be on in the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes for older fillies and mares run over the straight mile at Royal Ascot on Wednesday (16:20).

Trained in Ireland by the all-conquering Aidan O’Brien, this daughter of Fastnet Rock has won four of her 16 starts.

After landing a Listed contest at Killarney on her second start last season, I Can Fly went on to capture the Group 2 Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown in good style when staying on strongly to account for stable companion Kenya by 1 3/4 lengths.

She was far from disgraced when a 5 1/4 lengths fourth of nine to Karl Burke’s top class filly Laurens in the Group 1 Sun Chariot at Newmarket when getting outpaced two from home before rallying.

I Can Fly then ran the race of her life over this course and distance when finishing off strongly to go down by just a neck to the brilliant Roaring Lion in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

That was a fourth straight Group 1 success for John Gosden’s charge, so it was a tremendous effort by I Can Fly to get so close to such a highly talented sort. The form of that race sets the standard in this.

I Can Fly comes into the race in good nick having shaped really well when a 4 1/2 lengths sixth of 14 to Mustahsry in the Group 1 Lockinge at Newbury, before being beaten just a length when runner-up in a Curragh Group 2.

There is simply nothing not to like about her profile for this, then, and the 5/1 on offer with Coral looks more than fair.

Agrotera a major player

The Ed Walker trained Agrotera is a lightly-raced and progressive sort who has won three of her eight starts. She looks sure to go well under Gerald Mosse who is 1-1 on here.

This four-year-old daughter of Mastercraftsman landed a major gamble at this meeting 12 months ago when bolting up in the 23-runner Sandringham Stakes.

After being steadied at the start and held-up well off the pace, Agrotera sliced through the pack like a knife through butter and showed a smart turn of foot to shoot clear and beat Ortoz by 2 3/4 lengths.

It was an awesome display in such a hot handicap and she went on to run well in Listed company on her next two starts when fourth at Haydock and runner-up at Longchamp.

Agrotera has had just one run this season and looked better than ever when landing the Listed 1m Snowdrop Stakes at Kempton by a length from Preening.

She only had to be nudged out by Mosse to score with far more in hand than the winning margin suggest, and has nothing to fear from the re-opposing runner-up or the third home Rawdaa.

That taking success suggests that Agrotera should be more than capable of winning a race of this nature.

She is clearly going the right way and appeals as the type who should have plenty more to offer; so, at 8/1 with Paddy Power, looks cracking each-way value.
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Veracious another with leading claims

Newmarket handler Sir Michael Stoute has won the race a record four times, courtesy of Favourable Terms (2004), Peeress (2005), Strawberrydaiquiri (2010) and Integral (2014).

He saddles two very interesting contenders this time around in the shape of the aforementioned Rawdaa and Veracious. Preference is for the latter who – on the pick of her form last season – looks leading contender.

Veracious ran well first time-up at this meeting when a 7 3/4 lengths third of 12 to Alpha Centauri in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes, then backed that up with a solid two-length third to Wild Illusion in another top fillies’ event at Goodwood.

The daughter of Frankel then took advantage of a drop into Group 3 company to notch a second career success when beating Awesometank by a cosy length at Sandown.

It’s fair to say that Veracious then failed to fire when sixth of nine to Laurens in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes, and she’s been a beaten favourite on both her starts this season.

However, her third to Anna Nerum last time out in a Group 3 at Epsom when keeping on to be beaten 1 1/2 lengths suggested she could be building up to a big performance.

With the in-form Oisin Murphy now partnering her for the first time, Veracious therefore looks another well worth considering in a wide-open renewal and can be backed at 17/2 with BetVictor.