x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Trainer will balance a royal pair in Coronation Stakes

John Gosden will have a difficult job keeping his royal owners on side this afternoon as he runs Joviality and Maqaasid. Riddle's predictions

Trainer John Gosden, centre, has a horse of Princess Haya, right, to be ridden by William Buick and another for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid.
Trainer John Gosden, centre, has a horse of Princess Haya, right, to be ridden by William Buick and another for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid.

ASCOT, England // John Gosden will have a difficult job keeping his royal owners on side this afternoon as he runs Joviality and Maqaasid in the Coronation Stakes.

Joviality is owned by Princess Haya of Jordan, while her rival runs in the royal blue and white colours of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Princess Haya's brother in law.

Both fillies have their attractions, but racing is a pastime where losing is part and parcel of the package and one owner will have to return to Dubai empty-handed.


The two fillies hail from very different moulds. Joviality the tough, guaranteed stayer who has yet to be tested at the highest level, and Maqaasid, the fragile but talented proven Group 1 performer.

Having two shots at the Coronation Stakes is a position that most trainers would be delighted to be in, but the family ties between the two owners makes for a rock and a hard place for Gosden.

Reading between the lines, Gosden, whose finest hour in the UAE came when he saddled Dar Re Mi to victory in the 2010 Dubai Sheema Classic, clearly feels that the unheralded Joviality has a decent shot at recording her maiden Group 1 success.

The Cape Cross filly has improved in each of her three runs, which culminated in a gritty success in the Group 3 Musidora Stakes at York in May.

"Joviality is bred to be a miler and the extra two furlongs of the Musidora was as far as she wants to go," Gosden said.

"She's very tough and I'm glad we sat out the French Oaks as it was a hot renewal. This looks a much more open race."

Whether Maqaasid can handle a strongly-run mile has been well documented, but Gosden added to the debate by suggesting that the round course used in the Coronation would aid Sheikh Hamdan's charge, unlike the straights of Newmarket and Longchamp where she has come unstuck in the past.

"The Pouliches [French Guineas] was a bit of a write-off as she was undone by a bad draw and typically uneven French pace," Gosden said.

"She's got a lot of class and going round a bend should help her to stay the mile better."

Gosden also runs Nathaniel in the King Edward VII Stakes up against Godolphin's Genius Beast.

Nathaniel missed the English Derby because the ground was considered too quick.

At Epsom Pour Moi just pipped Treasure Beach, who had edged past Nathaniel in the Chester Vase on his previous run, which will give hope for a big run today.

"I walked the track at Epsom on the Wednesday and it was perfect, but the combined effect of wind and sun meant it had dried out a bit too much by the end of the week," Gosden said.


Albany Stakes, 1,200m, 5.30pm

The loss of Judy The Beauty to this race is a crushing blow to the American trainer, Wesley Ward. He considered his filly unbeatable, and it leaves the way open for Teolane. Trained by Jim Bolger, who was responsible for 2008 winner Cuis Ghaire, Teolane only needs to find a little improvement to win the Albany and his sire operated on soft going. Sweet Chili and Illaunglass can follow her home. Prediction: 1 Teolane, 2 Sweet Chili, 3 Illaunglass

King Edward VII Stakes, 2,400m, 6.05pm

Known as the Ascot Derby, Godolphin believed Genius Beast, above, to have a good chance, and the rain has arrived in his aid. Nathaniel’s defeat by a head to Treasure Beach looks a very good piece of form after that colt’s second place in the English Derby. World Domination is well fancied and can put away his run behind Carlton House in the Dante Stakes at York, while Glencaddam Gold and Glen’s Diamond fit the description. Prediction: 1 Nathaniel, 2 Genius Beast, 3 Glen’s Diamond

Coronation Stakes, 1,600m, 6.45pm

America is again represented, but where most of their challengers have run on potential More Than Real has the form in the book. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner is one of the most lightly-raced fillies in the field, but the going conditions have gone against her. Immortal Verse, from France, could be in the mix thanks to the rain, while Maqaasid and Brian Meehan’s Theyskens’ Theory can handle any going. Prediction: 1 Theyskens’ Theory, 2 Maqaasid, 3 Immortal Verse

Wolfreton Stakes, 2,000m, 7.25pm

William Haggas scratched Green Destiny from Wednesday’s Royal Hunt Cup for this race on account of the rain. With a feather weight he has a real chance of making that decision come good. Haggas has another live chance in Shamali, while Spanish Duke will relish the conditions. Prediction: 1 Green Destiny, 2 Spanish Duke, 3 Balducci

Queen’s Vase, 3,200m, 8pm

This is a real test of stamina for three year olds and it has paid in the past to stick with trainers who can spot what sort of horse is required so early in their careers. Sir Henry Cecil seeks an eighth victory in this contest with Solar Sky while Mark Johnston’s Namibian or Eternal Heart would be his sixth winner. Aidan O’Brien, however, has won twice in the last four years and can strike with Regent Street. Prediction: 1 Regent Street, 2 Eternal Heart, 3 Solar Sky

Buckingham Palace Stakes, 1,400m, 8.35pm

A specialist distance over a track which, after the rain, could see a significant draw bias. The place to be all week has been on the stands’ side of the course. If that remains the case, David Simcock’s Noble Citizen looks severely underrated on his best course form. Also on that side of the track Decent Fella should be considered while on the far side King Of Jazz could call the tune. Prediction: 1 King Of Jazz, 2 Noble Citizen, 3 Decent Fella.