Andrew Balding’s Royal Ascot Team Arrives in Fine Form
The sports world is abuzz with the latest news coming from the stables of trainer Andrew Balding as he heads to Royal Ascot with a string of horses that are currently riding on fine form. In fact, his team boasts an impressive near 20% strike-rate in the last two weeks alone. With leading chances in two of the real showpiece events of the meeting, it’s no wonder why people can’t stop talking about them.
Chaldean Leads The Way For Balding
Balding will be pinning his hopes on Chaldean who was victorious at this year’s 2000 Guineas and has been performing remarkably well ever since. He will take on Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Paddington and unbeaten Cicero’s Gift in what promises to be a mouthwatering St James’s Palace Stakes showdown on Tuesday.
“Obviously, we were thrilled with his Guineas win. That was his main objective for the early part of the season and this will be his second target. This, we always hoped would be the plan,” said Balding.
“He had a little break after Newmarket. He has freshened up well and his work has been as solid as ever and we’re looking forward to it.”
Berkshire Shadow Takes On Queen Anne Stakes
Baldwin’s formidable team also includes Berkshire Shadow who is set to race in this year’s curtain-raising Queen Anne Stakes, the first of three Group One races on the opening afternoon. Despite being a 33-1 chance in many bookmakers’ eyes, Baldwin has faith in him and believes he has an each-way chance.
“He ran well when finishing third in the Lockinge next time,” said Balding. “We think he’d have an each-way chance again.”
Other Contenders In The Team
Balding’s team also includes Dante Stakes winner The Foxes who won’t be racing this year but is still considered one of his top horses. Oaks eighth Sea Of Roses will take her place in the Ribblesdale while Kempton’s Magnolia Stakes winner Foxes Tales and Notre Belle Bete are Balding’s contenders for Wolferton Stakes.
In addition to these runners, Baldwin also runs some two-year-olds such as Imperial Fighter and Sandrine which may surprise us all with their performance at Royal Ascot.
Sandrine: High-Class & Overlooked?
One particularly exciting prospect is dual Group Two winner Sandrine, owned by Kirsten Rausing. She landed the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last July and won the six-furlong Albany on heavy ground two years ago showing that she is equally effective on a quicker surface. Having run over seven furlongs and a mile last season, she dropped back to six furlongs at Salisbury last month where she was beaten by just a length and a half.
Sadly, despite her impressive credentials Sandrine remains overlooked by most punters with bookmakers offering odds of around 16-1 for her chances at winning Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee stakes on Saturday – however trainer Andrew Baldwin refuses to count out this high-class horse just yet.
“Sandrine could be overlooked in the Jubilee, because she is high class. The return to sprinting will suit her,” he said.