By royal appointment
Exceed And Excel (pictured) already has two Royal Ascot juvenile victories to his name courtesy of last year’s Queen Mary Stakes winner Best Terms and Flashmans Papers, who won the Windsor Castle Stakes in 2008. At this year’s Royal Meeting the super-fast son of Danehill once again has a host of good-two-year-old representatives.
His daughter Exceptionelle looked as if she has been particularly well named when winning on her debut at Kempton in highly impressive fashion. She is set to contest the G3 Albany Stakes for trainer Roger Varian, who also sends Morawij to the G2 Norfolk Stakes on Thursday, in which he could face his paternal half-brother Bungle Inthejungle.
A pair of Exceed And Excel colts head to the G2 Coventry Stakes: Heavy Metal, who was beaten just a short-head when second in the Listed Woodcote Stakes on Derby day, and Top Boy, while aiming for back-to-back Queen Mary wins for their sire will be the fillies Excel Yourself and Our Diane.
Exceed And Excel is far from just a sire of top-class two-year-olds, however, and in the older-horse division he will have such stars as the Group One winners Excelebration, Margot Did and Helmet running for him.
Excelebration ran in plenty of classy races last season and acquitted himself with credit against the mighty Frankel before landing his own top-level win in the G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp for Marco Botti. Snapped up by Coolmore as a stallion prospect, he has raced on this season at four and, winning at the Curragh on his first start before finishing runner-up, again to Frankel in the G1 Lockinge Stakes. Excelebration lines up for the opening race of the meeting, the G1 Queen Anne Stakes, alongside Australian-bred Helmet – and you know who.
The King’s Stand Stakes has its usual world-class line-up with Australian raider Ortensia and Hong Kong’s Joy And Fun among the entrants. Also bidding for further G1 glory is Exceed And Excel’s petite daughter Margot Did, winner of last year’s Nunthorpe Stakes, as well as G2 winner Masamah.
Solar Deity and Mississippi are engaged in the Jersey Stakes, while Vocational goes up against the outstanding unbeaten mare Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Dubawi is another Darley sire who has already tasted success at the Royal Meeting thanks to his subsequent Dubai World Cup winner Montesrosso, who won the King Edward VII Stakes in 2010. He’s back for more this year, among a strong line-up for the Hardwicke Stakes, which also features his paternal half-brothers Afsare and Hunter’s Light.
Dubawi’s Classic-winning son Worthadd heads to the Queen Anne Stakes, while French-trained Hermival takes in the St James’s Palace Stakes after a good third-place finish in the 2,000 Guineas and Gulf Of Naples is entered for the Gold Cup.
More contenders for Dubawi include Godolphin’s Irish History who bids for G1 glory in the Coronation Stakes, while taking on Solar Deity in the Jersey Stakes is Sheikh Hamdan’s Aljamaaheer.
Hopes will be high for two of Darley’s freshman sires with runners at the meeting. New Approach was the first off the mark this year when his son Dawn Approach won on the opening day of the Irish turf season. He later became his first Stakes winner and the unbeaten colt will be bidding to become his first Royal Ascot winner when he lines up for the G2 Coventry Stakes. The New Approach filly Newfangled also won on debut recently at Newmarket and she heads to the G3 Albany Stakes in company with Lovely Pass, who was the first winner for Raven's Pass.
The tough duo of Opinion Poll and Cavalryman represent Halling in the Gold Cup and Hardwicke Stakes respectively, while Cape Cross has Caucus (G1 Gold Cup), Khawlah (G2 Hardwicke), Amazonas (G3 Albany), Masarah (G2 Queen Mary or G3 Albany), I Love Me and Joviality (G2 Windsor Forest) running for him.
Teofilo has his first three-year-olds this year, which include St James’s Palace Stakes entrant Miblish, while second-crop members Havana Gold, Aseela and Upward Spiral also have Group-race entries for the week.
Royal Applause is another stallion who can be relied upon to be well represented at Ascot and this year is no exception. Among his potential runners are Saigon (G1 St James’s Palace or G3 Jersey), Ocean Applause (G2 Norfolk), Mary’s Daughter (G2 Queen Mary or G3 Albany), Hoyam (G2 Queen Mary), Royal Steps (G3 Albany), Englishman and Party Royal (G2 Coventry).
The Ribblesdale Stakes features Authorized’s first-crop daughter Colima, who was second in the Lingfield Oaks Trial, and Oaks runner-up Shirocco Star, whose sire Shirocco is also represented by Ibicenco in the Gold Cup.
Shamardal colt Van Ellis heads to the Jersey Stakes and the sire also has a juvenile representative, Annaley My Darling, in the Queen Mary. Other Darley-sired juveniles include Kheleyf’s son Jubille Brig (G2 Norfolk) and Zoola, a daughter of Iffraaj (G2 Queen Mary).
Darley stands stallions the world over and at a meeting with the international appeal of Royal Ascot, it’s no surprise to find our sires from all different countries featuring in the proceedings.
Darley's Street Cry, who stands in America, does really well with his runners in Europe and his team for Royal Ascot includes Fencing (G1 St James’s Palace), Falls Of Lora (G1 Coronation), Minidress and Princess Highway (G2 Ribblesdale), and the juvenile colts Jalaa and The Taj (G2 Coventry). Most exciting of all, however, would be victory for the Darley-bred Street Cry colt Carlton House, who runs in the colours of Her Majesty The Queen and is entered for Wednesday’s G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.
Street Cry’s stable-mate Elusive Quality is represented by Elusive Kate (G1 Coronation), New Hampshire (G2 Hardwicke) and Zhuba (G2 Coventry), while Bernardini also has a Coventry runner, Tuffan, and Hard Spun’s runners include Red Duke (G3 Jersey) and Kosika (G3 Albany).