Ante-Post Value – The Investec Coronation Cup
Saturday’s Investec Coronation Cup, which will be run for the first occasion in honour of three-time winner St Nicholas Abbey, sees nine horses standing their ground in a bid for Group 1 success at Epsom Downs and it will be a solid renewal of the race should all of them line up at the weekend.
French superstar Cirrus Des Aigles currently heads the market at a best-priced 13/8 and the five-time Group 1 winner has looked right back to something like his best in recent months. His last two outings have resulted in another couple of top-level successes being added to his slate, with the penultimate run seeing him hand a first career defeat to Treve in the Prix Ganay, and there is no surprise to see that market is favouring Corine Barande-Barbe’s gelding over the others.
The drying ground, however, is a potential sticking point, mainly as it will favour some of the others more than it will him, and that being combined with the 1m 4f trip around this unique track is enough to put me off him at the current odds. No doubt, he’s has the most raw talent out of this lot, but conditions can get the better of most animals and he would ideally prefer some ease underfoot. He’ll handle it decent, don’t get me wrong, but will he run to his best? I’m not so sure.
Ruler Of The World, last season’s Derby winner over C&D, is reported to have worked really well lately and the 4-year-old son of Galileo is a worthy second-fav on what is his first British outing since last October. He flopped on the Tapeta over in Meydan, which is completely forgivable (genuinely seemed to hate it), and is clearly a huge player on his Champion Stakes form at Ascot in the Autumn. There, he was a half-length behind Cirrus Des Aigles despite being trapped out wide throughout and racing over a trip that’s a couple of furlongs shorter than ideal, so there’s every reason that he can overturn that form back up in trip and around a venue he clearly has no problem in handling (unlike many). Like the favourite, however, softer ground would probably be ideal for this colt and I would be inclined to think that he’s vulnerable on this occasion, so can’t get excited by quotes of 5/2.
That brings us onto the third favourite and Andre Farbe’s Flintshire (5/1) is the horse in question. The well-bred 4-year-old is my fancy for the race and is yet to taste defeat on good ground (3-3 on it), so I’ll be hoping that the rain keeps away for him. He only got onto the track for the first time in May of last year but didn’t take long to showcase his talents and was well-fancied for the Arc before finishing fourth in the Prix Niel on soft ground in September. Indeed, he took his place in the main event but couldn’t act on the soft ground properly against that calibre of opposition and only managed a mid-division finish. One thing seems to be certain and it’s that he’s far better on a sound surface, which he may get at the weekend. He’ll have no problem in seeing out the trip fully, evidently has a touch of class granted his ground and shouldn’t have too many issues with the track itself. Assuming he’s wound up for what is his first outing since the Arc, I expect a big performance and hopefully it will be big enough to overturn the top two. Quotes of 5/1 are on the appealing side.
Selection for the Investec Coronation Cup (2:40 Epsom; Saturday, 7th June):
Flintshire – 5/1, available generally.
Post by James Boyle.
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