It is hard to believe that 4 years ago, the Commonwealth Cup didn’t even exist. The Group 1 contest over 6f has proved a remarkable success story for Royal Ascot and provides the perfect platform for the speediest, classiest 3yos to strut their stuff on the big stage. This renewal is as good a Group 1 race as we will see in 2018 and as such, there is a host of potential winners and each-way propositions in the melting pot.
This rapid son of Scat Daddy won the Norfolk Stakes in a good time last year at this meeting and he looked to have trained on really well when scoring handsomely at Naas last time out. He could well be a top class sprinter for Ballydoyle, but this race will tell us exactly where he stands in that regard. It’s a tall order and much tougher than his 2yo assignment at Royal Ascot in 2017.
This Charlie Hills trained 3yo looked a real rising force when stretching impressively clear of his rivals at Doncaster last time out, scoring by a leisurely and extending eight lengths over the 6f trip. He looked good visually, but his RPR 108 & Topspeed 88 there does leave him with plenty to find to win here. He may even go off favourite and could be a quickly improving freak of nature, but this is a big rise in class. He’s intriguing, but hard to suggest as a bet in such a deep race.
This imposing and athletic colt is a picture of consistency on the form figures and he looks to have all the tools required to figure very highly here. James Tate’s charge produced a stunning speed figure with impressive sectionals at Ascot two starts back, showing a real zest for the track. He’s versatile in regards to the ground, travels strongly and quickens very well. He could be the one. Top chance.
SANDS OF MALI
Got the better of Invincible Army in the Group 2 Sandy Lane at Haydock last time out and there is precious little between the pair. Richard Fahey’s horse tailed off a bit at the back end of last season, but he’s found a rich vein of form now and comes here on a hat-trick. He’s yet to visit Ascot and may well be a better horse on easier ground, but Sands Of Mali is definitely right in the mix toward the head of the market.
LAUGH A MINUTE
This Roger Varian trained Mayson colt is progressing nicely and although he doesn’t have the pressing form claims or recent wins to make him a really solid contender, Laugh A Minute just looks to be crying out for a big field and a strong pace to bring about the improvement required to show himself to be a Group class sprinter. He has a lot of work on his plate here, but this race should suit and he could be finishing strongly under Andrea Atzeni, who rides this place as well as anyone.
This Kevin Ryan trained sprinter is really useful. He’s yet to win since York last year, but continues to ply his trade to a good level and produce eye-catching speed figures in the process. A return to 6f and a big field marks him down as a horse to respect, and perhaps even throw a few quid at each-way, as he will be a huge price here.
To my mind, this is by some way the strongest Group 1 race – certainly for 3yos – on paper so far in 2018; over any trip, track, anywhere in the World. Sioux Nation might just be a class apart. Equilateral may just be a freak of nature. But INVINCIBLE ARMY gets the vote, bringing a potent blend of experience and top form to the table. At much bigger odds, HEY JONESY is a lovely sort and although he finds himself in really deep water here, he won’t disgrace himself under Kevin Stott.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.
Also published on Medium.