Top Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has his team in flying form and Sergei Prokofiev looks a worthy favourite at 2/1 with Coral to provide him with another success in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes run over the flying 5f on 2000 Guineas day at Newmarket this Saturday (14:20).
This son of Scat Daddy had some very smart form as a juvenile last season when winning three times.
After shaping with stacks of promise on debut at Dundalk when he was given a tender ride and went down by a short-head, he duly showed the benefit of that experience when bolting up by 7 1/2 lengths at Navan.
Sergei Prokofiev was then pitched into Listed company at Naas and produced a similarly impressive display when scoring easily by four lengths.
He then ran a blinder in defeat when third to the very smart Calyx in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot when beaten just over a length.
Although Sergei Prokofiev failed to sparkle in next two starts, but bounced back to form in stunning style over this course and distance when easily beating Well Done Fox by 1 1/4 lengths in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes.
After being slowly away and held-up well off the pace, he switched to the outside a furlong from home and showed a smart turn of foot to score with far more in hand than the winning margin suggests.
He comes into this having made a winning return in a Listed contest at Navan and is rated just 1lb below Mabs Cross, the obvious danger and a 6/1 shot with William Hill.
As that rival has to give him 10lb, on adjusted ratings Sergei Prokofiev is undoubtedly the one to beat.
Coronet looks a cut-above Jockey Club rivals
In the 1m 4f Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes (14:55), Coronet looks to hold outstanding claims of making a winning return to action under in-form jockey Frankie Dettori.
This John Gosden trained five-year-old mare, who can be backed at very fair looking 2/1 with Betfred, is a consistent and tough sort who has won four of her 14 career starts and made the frame on six occasions.
After making a winning return to action in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes at York last season, the daughter of Dubawi ran a cracker when going down by just a short-head to top class French colt Waldgeist in the Group 1 Prix De Saint-Cloud.
Coronet then ran slightly below par when a 9 1/4 lengths third to Poet’s Word in the King George at Ascot, before bouncing back and chasing home Sea Of Class in the Yorkshire Oaks when beaten just over two lengths.
Sea Of Class is a filly of the highest order who had previously landed the Irish Oaks and went on to be beaten just a short-head by Enable in the Arc. That gives the form a rock solid look in relation to this lower grade affair.
Last year’s winner Defoe is a 100/30 chance with Unibet to retain his crown, but will need a big step forward to do so after finishing only fourth in a Group 3 at Newbury on return to action.
Of those at bigger odds, Maid Up appeals each-way at 25/1 with Paddy Power, given that she progressed throughout last season when winning four-times and could well have more to offer.
Blonde Warrior appeals each-way in finale
Blonde Warrior looks on a potentially handy mark and decent each-way value at 20/1 with BetVictor in the 1m Qatar Racing Welfare Handicap that brings proceedings to a close on a cracking card (17:20).
This three-year-old hails from Hugo Palmer’s yard and progressed throughout last season as a juvenile when winning two of his five starts.
After shaping with stacks of promise when runner-up on debut at this venue, he won easily by 3 lengths at Yarmouth before following up with a facile 3 1/2 lengths success at Doncaster.
Blonde Warrior then found things too hot when pitched into Group 2 company and finishing eighth of 12 to Dark Vision at Goodwood when sent off just 8/1.
He rounded off the campaign with a cracking neck second to Fox Coach at Chelmsford off an official rating of 94 when attempting to give 3lb to the progressive winner, who earlier in the season had finished runner-up to the now 107 rated De Boitron.
That looks solid form and suggest a mark of 93 for Blonde Warrior is exploitable. Although well beaten on seasonal reappearance at Newbury last month, the soft ground was totally against him that day and better can be expected now returned to a sounder surface.
Andrew Balding’s Fox Leicester ran very well last time out when fourth in the Esher Cup at Sandown and looks sure to go well in what is arguably a less competitive class 2 affair. He can be backed at 5/2 with 888Sport.
Alkaamel, an 11/2 shot with Betfair, has a progressive profile having won three times this year so is another with claims in a wide-open affair.