2020 Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) Preview
Photo courtesy of COBH - China Horse Club Twitter
Courtesy of Michael Adolphson
Race: Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes
Grade: Group 2
Purse: About $130,000
Racecourse: Newmarket Racecourse (UK)
Distance: One Mile
Win and You’re In: $1 Million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1)
· First contested in 1946
· 8 furlongs on a straight turf course with some undulation
· Restricted to 2-year-old colts and geldings
· Named after a royal residence in Windsor Great Park
· Such standouts as Frankel, Roaring Lion, Benny the Dip, Robellino and Shirley Heights have won
· Legendary jockey Lester Piggott has the record of 8 wins
· Trainer Aidan O’Brien, with a victory, will tie the 8-win record (starts Ontario
· Trainer Aidan O’Brien has won his 7 Royal Lodge Stakes with 6 different jockeys
· Trainer John Gosden has won 5 times
· 1994 winner Eltish was 2nd in the 1994 BC Juvenile
· 2005 winner Leo was 9th in the 2005 BC Juvenile
· 2010 winner Frankel has sired 2 BC starters who both placed: East (2nd 2018 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf) & Without Parole (3rd 2019 BC Mile)
· 2011 winner Daddy Long Legs was 12th in the 2011 BC Juvenile
· 2017 winner Roaring Lion was 14th in the 2018 BC Classic
Note: OR (Official Ratings) are provided. To give class context on those numbers, sprint superstar Lady Aurelia and champion Tepin were rated 122, Goldikova topped out at 125 and the great Enable is rated 128.
COBH (Clive Cox / Adam Kirby) – 5/2
China Horse Club International | OR: 105
Carrying the same colors Justify took to Triple Crown glory a few years ago, China Horse Club’s Cobh enters off a hard-fought victory in Salisbury’s Stonehenge Stakes (Listed), an effort that gave the son of Kobi Bear some street cred and backed up his good second to Chindit four weeks prior at Ascot in the Pat Eddery Stakes (Listed). Chindit would go on to win the Champagne (G2) at Doncaster next out and third-placed Naval Crown was a dominant winner at Yorkshire Ebor four weeks later before placing in French G3 company. Trained by Clive Cox, who is quite adept with young horses like him, the Irish-bred is on the improve.
GEAR UP (Mark Johnston / Franny Norton) – 7/2
Teme Valley 2 | OR: 105
Teme Valley 2’s Gear Up has not done much wrong in his two starts. In fact, he has won both and did so despite some bumping last out in York’s Acomb Stakes (G3) over seven furlongs. Stepping up in trip should be useful for the son of Teofilo and being based in the yard of Mark Johnston assures that he will be fit enough to handle the added real estate. It also helps that brother Guaranteed is a G3 winner over nine furlongs and Listed winner over 10 furlongs, while finishing fifth in the 12-furlong Irish Derby (G1) last year. Considering how well this one finished last out, he should have something to say about this race late.
· VIDEO: 2020 Acomb Stakes (G2) – (Racing TV)
NEW MANDATE (Ralph Beckett / Frankie Dettori) – 4/1
Marc Chan | OR: 108
Marc Chan’s New Mandate has the highest rating of all entered in the Royal Lodge and appears one fully capable of moving forward in this wide-open affair. He has earned the return call of Frankie Dettori, which will give many bettors confidence, and enters off an eye-catching win in the Flying Scotsman (Listed) at Doncaster. In said race, he dove up the rail and fought his way to victory in a way that hints that he may well be a serious horse moving forward. With the retaining of Dettori and revisiting of that video replay, it would not be a surprise if bettors pushed the winner of two straight into slight favoritism.
ONTARIO (Aidan O’Brien / Ryan Moore) – 5/1
Coolmore (Magnier, Tabor & Smith) | OR: 105
Coolmore’s Ontario has a lone victory from four starts, winning two back at Galway, but has faced some talented horses in Ireland. Shipping now to the UK, we will see how the two sides stack up for this G2-placed son of Galileo. Trained by Aidan O’Brien and out of the Fastnet Rock mare Timbuktu, the good-looking type was a disappointing 10th on debut at Naas to subsequent G1 winner Lucky Vega before being disqualified from first to second in his second outing—with adjudged victor Reve de Vol going on to finish third in the ‘Win and You’re In’ Champions Juvenile (G2) two weeks ago. After his aforementioned Galway nose victory over soft going he likely did not enjoy, he returned three weeks later on Aug. 22 to finish a good third to Mac Swiney and subsequent Champions Juvenile winner Cadillac in the Futurity Stakes (G2). He is the most class-tested in this race, will be very tough to beat and likely get the quicker ground his pedigree craves.
PLEASANT MAN (Roger Charlton / Jason Watson) – 10/1
Brook Farm Bloodstock | OR: No Rating Yet
The least-seasoned of all is the 1-for-1 Pleasant Man, from the yard of trainer Roger Charlton for Brook Farm Bloodstock. In his lone start, over trying soft conditions, he negotiated the mile distance he will see again Saturday with aplomb, grinding out victory nicely on Sept. 3. A son of Galileo, he likely improves with faster ground. Out of Melito, a G1-winning sprinter in Australia who clashed with the great Black Caviar on multiple occasions, the bay colt appears to be held in high regard, especially with this placement. The $180,000 purchase could wind up looking like a good value to both his owners and bettors by the end of this race.
· VIDEO: 2020 EBF Novice Stakes – (RacingTV)
Synopsis: Wide-open affair! This race, hopefully on good ground, will hopefully be a truly run race with these young horses being tested for their ability to quicken and run to the line. Ontario, being the seasoned vet against top company, could merit an edge, but if New Mandate and Cobh improve again, they will be tough to beat. Lost in the mix could be Gear Up, who has every right to improve and should be trying hard to the line. Never underestimate Mark Johnston. Lastly, there’s the well-bred question mark that is Pleasant Man, who could offer a pleasant surprise for value bettors. This is a really fun race that could and should produce a strong contender for the Grade 1 $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf!
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