John Hills is anticipating a big run from his exciting juvenile B Fifty Two in Tuesday’s Group 2 Coventry Stakes on the opening day of the five-day Royal Ascot fixture, writes Elliot Slater.
The Lambourn handler hasn’t had many juvenile runners at the royal fixture in the past but feels that B Fifty Two is just the right sort to give a very good account of himself in a race that invariably is contested by colts who go to make a name for themselves later on in the term and very often, as in the case of 2009 winner Canford Cliffs, the following season as well. The Dark Angel colt has always been held in high regard at home but was badly in need of the outing when well down the field on his debut at Newbury in mid-April in the race won by Richard Hannon’s useful Magic City. Those thinking about placing an Ascot bet on him can probably largely disregard this performance.
Clearly having learned a great deal for his initial racecourse experience, B Fifty Two looked much more the real deal when comfortably accounting for Excavator in a Bath maiden a fortnight later, then went on to follow up that success with victory in a hot Newmarket novice event where he got the better of a sustained tussle with Lilbourne Lad, form that received a massive boost when the runner-up won in facile fashion in the Listed Alfred Nobel Rochester Stakes at Naas last week, hacking up by an impressive six-lengths. Anyone following the Royal Ascot betting tips would have been impressed.
Hills acknowledges that Lilbourne Lad’s Irish win has given his team hope that they go to Royal Ascot with a genuine contender for honours and there are plenty of punters who might well feel tempted by quotes of up to 20/1 that are currently available for Gary and Linnet Woodward’s progressive youngster who could prove a solid each-way investment.