The Coronation Cup had been switched from a Saturday to a Friday, but with this quality field there is very little to complain about. Aidan O’Brien is well-represented, meanwhile the British raiders all boast a strong chance of grabbing the fourth British Group One prize.
Globetrotting Highland could Reel in more glory
Highland Reel winning the King George - Video by Breeders' Cup
Highland Reel is the leading contender and the key danger to every runner in the field.
This experienced five-year-old has enjoyed success in some of the world’s biggest middle distance events, including the Hong Kong Vase and Breeders’ Cup Turf.
He comes here after a sound effort in Dubai, where a burst of rain ruined his chances.
He should be in better form on an ideal surface, and will be well-fancied to take a fifth Group One prize.
Idaho hopes to topple brother Highland Reel
Idaho falling in the St Leger, video by At The Races
The full-brother to Highland Reel is one of his biggest dangers, Idaho. The four-year-old was third at Epsom in the Derby last year, before progressing to almost take the Irish edition on his next start.
He went down to Harzand by half a length, before winning York’s Great Voltigeur on his next start. After unseating his rider, when going well, in the St Leger he went on to run a good race in the Canadian International.
Reports from Ballydoyle are positive, and Aidan O’Brien is expecting a good campaign from him.
John Gosden’s opts to take on the boys with star mare Journey
Journey hopes to extend her winning record, which was capped off by a win at the top level on Champions Day in October.
The five-year-old hasn’t been since winning the fillies and mares at Ascot, and this contest looks a lot tougher for John Gosden’s mare.
She may find it a bit beyond her, and must come back after a long break; however her form is hugely impressive.
Hawksbill leads Godolphin Coronation Cup trio
Charlie Appleby’s Hawksbill aims to build on an impressive performance at Newbury, where the former Eclipse winner enjoyed a two length success at the Berkshire track.
Despite staying over his optimum trip, that victory came on soft ground and the conditions at Epsom may go against him.
“Hawkbill’s participation in the Coronation Cup will be reviewed on Friday,” said Appleby.
“We have declared on good ground and he will take his chance if the going remains genuinely good, but we will take stock if it starts to quicken up.
“He won over a mile and a half last time and we feel that is his best trip this season. We ran him at Newbury to gain some confidence and he has come out of the race very well.
“The one thing he is good at is setting and maintaining a decent gallop. In more testing conditions, he is one of the few horses that can not only maintain a good pace but also quicken.
“We just want to make sure that the ground is safe enough for him to perform on.
Frontiersman was a late entry for the 1m4f Grade One contest, he was last seen winning a handicap carrying top weight over today’s trip.
Charlie Appleby’s four-year-old takes a huge step up in class, but won well at Newmarket and is bred to compete at the highest level.
“Frontiersman was declared to run over a mile and six furlongs in a Listed race at York last week (May 27) but had some swelling after giving himself a knock and we pulled him out of that race.
“He is fine now and you couldn’t fail to be impressed with him at Newmarket, when he won very well off top-weight.
“He has done well since and, as soon as we knew that he was going to miss York, this race was another option for him.
“It is a big step up from a handicap to a G1 race but Frontiersman is rated 109 and has an amazing pedigree. He is a typical son of Dubawi and looks to be on an upward curve.
“If he were to finish in the first three, it could point us down the route of something like the Hardwicke Stakes (G2, 1m 4f, June 24) at Royal Ascot.”
The Godolphin trio is rounded off by Prize Money for Saeed Bin Suroor, he beat Postponed in Dubai before finishing fourth in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic.
Aidan O’Brien’s US Army Ranger, Ralph Beckett’s Air Pilot and Andrew Balding’s Elbereth completes the ten runner line-up.
VERDICT: Highland Reel (2/1) on his day is world class, he’s done it in three continents and has to be fancied to do it once again. However Idaho (7/1) looks to be a really classy contender, with plenty of potential. He’s well thought of, and likely to capitalise if Highland Reel is off his game!