Racing fans are in for a treat today as the Group 1 Coronation Cup, rescheduled from Epsom, takes place at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile and has attracted a stellar field of seven.
Outstanding stayer Stradivarius, who will be running over a mile and a half for the first time since 2017, will be looking to get his season off to a perfect start after being narrowly defeated in the Group 2 QIPCO Long Distance Champions Cup in October.
Opposing the John Gosden-trained entire is last year’s Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck and Aidan O’Brien’s charge will be joined in the Group 1 by stablemate Broome, a son of Australia who hasn’t been seen since finishing down the field in last year’s Irish Derby.
The Roger Varian-trained Defoe, who finally secured a Group 1 payday when landing the 2019 edition of the Coronation Cup, will bid to defend his crown and shaped well in March when second to Loxley in the Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold.
Varian, speaking to British Champion Series, said: “Defoe’s a horse who tells you when he’s right and is giving the right messages. He’s on his racing weight, he’s come good in his skin and he seems to have a bounce with him. He’s tuned-in for the race but it might take a career-best to win because the race looks a touch stronger this year.
“He seemed to really love Epsom last year, when he put it to bed in a few strides and won going away. But, saying that, he’s run well at Newmarket the couple of times he’s performed there, and I don’t think the track holds too many fears for him.”
The field is completed by Group 1 winner Ghaiyyath, the David Simcock-trained Desert Encounter and Alounak, who will be making his first start for Andrew Balding having previously been in the care of Waldemar Hickst.
Newmarket’s card today also features the Group 3 Abernant Stakes and the Listed Paradise Stakes.
Classic clues on offer at Lingfield
Away from Newmarket, all-weather action returns at Lingfield and the track’s nine-race card features both the Listed Oaks and Derby Trials.
In the Oaks Trial Fillies’ Stakes it is the Godolphin homebred Lake Lucerne, a daughter of Dubawi out of the Grade 1-winning Awesome Again mare Round Pond, who catches the eye. Trained by John Gosden, she broke her maiden when landing a 1m2f maiden at Chelmsford back in March.
Her rivals include stablemate Miss Yoda, the mount of Rab Havlin, and the Richard Hughes-trained So I Told You, a homebred for the Niarchos Family.
In the Derby Trial Stakes, the Ed Walker-trained English King will be looking to build on his breakthrough victory at Newcastle in November. Owned by Bjorn Nielsen, English King will be partnered by the in-form Tom Marquand.
King Carney, who recorded two victories in October, lines up in the contest for trainer Charlie Fellowes and owner Susan Roy. The three-year-old son of Australia holds an entry in the Irish Derby.