| 8.1°C Belfast

Khaloosy can provide value by showing class

 

Close

High hopes: Roger Varian is gunning

High hopes: Roger Varian is gunning

Getty Images

High hopes: Roger Varian is gunning

Stradivarius is highly likely to claim an historic third successive Gold Cup - but those seeking value will doubtless be looking at alternative events on day three of Royal Ascot.

There is little reason to dissuade anyone from supporting John Gosden's brilliant stayer at inevitably short odds, if that is their bag.

Among those to catch the eye at bigger prices elsewhere on a high-class card, however, is Khaloosy in the Britannia Stakes.

An all-weather grounding is an increasingly legitimate route to the very top on turf, and it should not detract from Khaloosy's achievements to date that his only two starts have come at Newcastle and Wolverhampton last October and November.

The grey son of Dubawi has a fine pedigree in terms of connections too, in the shape of trainer Roger Varian and owner Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Retained jockey Jim Crowley will ride him for the first time, replacing Jack Mitchell, who was on board for a promising debut second over seven furlongs and then a most impressive victory at the second attempt up to around this trip.

That form is hardly out of the ordinary, but the manner of Khaloosy's success was - and it was no surprise to discover he held an initial Derby entry, before coronavirus put paid to such published engagements and the best-laid plans of all at the start of this curious Flat season.

Nonetheless, a rating of 94 provides Khaloosy with a belated opportunity to demonstrate that high hopes remain well-founded to progress beyond handicap company.

Stradivarius is already in the most exalted company and by the time Khaloosy takes his next baby step, the dual Gold Cup winner's standing among the all-time greats may well be significantly enhanced with a third straight win in the showpiece.

Gosden's superstar faces seven worthy opponents, but ought to claim centre stage again.

Few can have been concerned by his predictable inability to match strides with the brilliant Ghaiyyath and last year's Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck at a mile short of this favoured distance in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket this month.

Tapped for pace there, Stradivarius' exertions told late on, but Gosden is a proven master of equine preparation, and on the day that matters most it is easy to envisage Frankie Dettori having a little up his sleeve from the four-year-old improvers Nayef Road and Technician.

Earlier on the stellar card, Molatham has fine prospects of initiating a possible high-profile double for the Khaloosy camp.

Another Varian three-year-old, Molatham returns at Group Three level in the Jersey Stakes on the back of a juvenile campaign more active, and productive, than his stablemate's.

It began when he was only narrowly held here over six furlongs. After his own maiden win, Molatham took the notable scalp of Wichita at Doncaster and was then far from disgraced in fourth when stepped up in class and trip on soft ground for Newmarket's Autumn Stakes.

ASCOT: 1.15 Highland Chief, 1.50 Fox Tal, 2.25 Molatham, 3.00 Bright Devil, 3.35 Stradivarius, 4.10 KHALOOSY (NAP), 4.40 Huboor.

FAIRYHOUSE: 4.35 Aliyza, 5.10 Colour Sergeant, 5.45 Earls, 6.15 Above Us Only Sky, 6.45 Silk Cravat, 7.15 Spelga, 7.45 Memorabilis.

NEWMARKET: 1.00 Charming Spirit, 1.30 Master Of The Seas, 2.05 Burford Brown, 2.40 Kannoor, 3.15 Slade King, 3.50 Arabic Welcome, 4.25 Trinity Girl, 5.00 Fox Vardy.

REDCAR: 4.20 Locket, 4.50 Diamond Haze, 5.25 Sibaaq, 6.00 Magical Effect, 6.30 Ginger Max, 7.00 Dream Location, 7.30 Geetanjali, 8.00 Zoran, 8.30 Imperial Focus, 9.00 Kensington Art.

DOUBLE: Khaloosy and Molatham.

Belfast Telegraph