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Alenquer wins the Classic Trial at Sandown
Image: Alenquer wins the Classic Trial at Sandown

Alenquer can keep himself near the top of the class among this summer's best three-year-olds with victory in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

A literal reading of the form book is always delivered with a minor health warning, and Alenquer's hard-fought Sandown defeat of subsequently impressive Derby winner Adayar will be viewed by many as a case in point.

He beat Adayar's stablemate Yibir less than a length into third that day, in the bet365 Classic Trial over 10 furlongs - and that opponent then twice came up short in two more Derby auditions last month, and has since been gelded.

There are undoubtedly then, as so often, mixed messages in the form.

It is still hard to get away from the fact that - even allowing for the steep upward curve of the giant Adayar - the most recent racecourse evidence from Alenquer puts him in the same bracket at least as a horse who first ran another fair trial at Lingfield and then went on to win the Derby emphatically by almost five lengths.

William Haggas' German-bred colt had operated well on soft ground in his two juvenile starts, but proved at Sandown that a sounder surface is no problem for him, so whatever the weather throws up he should not be fazed.

The extra two furlongs here are a minor unknown, on pedigree, but not an especially troubling factor - given the way he ground out victory at Sandown after racing prominently throughout.

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He faces a clutch of rivals with similarly unexposed potential - as befits the position in the calendar of this Group Two. But none has yet reached and sustained the level Alenquer has in his three runs, so he must rate the likeliest winner, whatever contrasting views can be taken of his Sandown proximity to Adayar and the reopposing Yibir.

Dragon Symbol is another with compelling credentials, in the Commonwealth Cup.

Archie Watson's sprinter has come a long way in a short time, as a four-time winner in little more than two months between the start of March and May - and then also a meritorious and close runner-up in Group Two company at Haydock last month.

Dragon Symbol was impressive on each of his first three racecourse appearances, over this six-furlong trip, at three different all-weather tracks.

He then proved he could do it on turf, and down to the minimum distance, at Hamilton - before demonstrating more versatility, and ability, when he was beaten just a nose by the prolific Rohaan on rain-soaked ground in the Sandy Lane Stakes.

If the forecast rain arrives again, Dragon Symbol may well cope better than many of his rivals. The likelihood is, however, that Ascot will get nowhere near as soft as Haydock did last month - and that, on his first attempt at Group One level, he will have the speed to come out on top.

Primo Bacio can continue on what has been a rapid upwards trajectory by graduating to Group One class in the Coronation Stakes.

With two Classic winners in Mother Earth and Empress Josephine in the line-up, it looks a tough test for Ed Walker's charge, but she has been making some serious strides in two starts this term.

Her juvenile campaign was nothing to write home about, but she caught the eye when defying odds of 100-1 to finish fourth in the Fred Darling on her seasonal return before upping her game again to win a Listed heat at York.

She triumphed by a ready three lengths on that occasion and the runner up, Creative Flair, has already boosted the form by winning at Listed level herself, while third-placed Snow Lantern has no obvious claims to turning around that defeat here.

Primo Bacio obviously has a bit to find on the bare figures, but she makes plenty of appeal as a fast-improving filly.

George Boughey has enjoyed a fruitful few weeks to say the least with his juveniles and Cachet can prove best of his trio in the opening Albany Stakes.

She trounced her Newmarket rivals by upwards of five and a half lengths on her debut, despite running a bit green in the finish, so that performance could be upgraded slightly.

Warrior Brave can make a swift return to action pay dividends in the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes.

Beaten just under a length by Atalis Bay in a Listed heat at Sandown last Saturday, Warrior Brave was clear of the rest and he lines up here 7lb well in on his revised mark.

Tyson Fury is worth another chance in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes, while Create Belief is the pick in the Sandringham Stakes for Johnny Murtagh.

SELECTIONS:

ASCOT: 2.30 Cachet, 3.05 ALENQUER (NAP), 3.40 Dragon Symbol, 4.20 Primo Bacio, 5.00 Create Belief, 5.35 Tyson Fury, 6.10 Warrior Brave.

DOWN ROYAL: 1.20 Bonarc, 1.50 King's Vow, 2.20 Offaly Star, 2.55 Ricky Langford, 3.30 Wa Wa, 4.05 Now Where Or When, 4.40 Whispering Pines, 5.10 Banntown Girl.

GOODWOOD: 5.40 Quick Breath, 6.15 Fozzie Bear, 6.45 Set Point, 7.20 Flyin' Solo, 7.52 Four Adaay, 8.25 Valley Forge, 8.55 Abrag.

LIMERICK: 4.15 Affable, 4.50 Jarvis, 5.25 Frill, 6.00 Sunchart, 6.35 Glinting, 7.10 Victory March, 7.45 Whyzatt, 8.15 Hook Head.

MARKET RASEN: 12.40 Family Time, 1.10 Fancy Shapes, 1.40 Grove Ash, 2.15 Black Lightning, 2.50 Blood Eagle, 3.25 Getareason, 4.00 Regaby, 4.35 Landacre Bridge.

NEWMARKET: 5.20 Brunel Charm, 5.50 Remedium, 6.25 Sterling Knight, 7.00 Dragon's Fire, 7.30 Bimble, 8.05 Shirbo, 8.40 Liberty Bay.

REDCAR: 1.00 Gaazooo, 1.30 Noble Crusade, 2.05 Boltaway, 2.40 Star Shield, 3.15 Glengarry, 3.50 Maximum Risk, 4.25 Listen Again, 4.55 Big Thanks.

DOUBLE: Alenquer and Dragon Symbol.

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