Australian Raiders Coming to Plunder Royal Ascot

Since the Royal Ascot successes of Choisir in 2003, Australian trained runners have consistently performed well in the UK and Ireland, particularly in sprint races.

Choisir was a revelation at Royal Ascot in 2003, winning both the Group Two (Now a Group One) Kings Stand Stakes over five furlongs, before taking the Group One, Golden Jubilee Stakes a few days later over six furlongs. Trained by Paul Perry and ridden by Johnny Murtagh, this horse was an absolute flyer, who was also second in the Group One July Cup over six furlongs a few weeks later.

Choisir has since gone on to have a glittering career after racing, standing at stud and producing some fine progeny. In fact, Choisir was the sire of Starspangledbanner, who, trained by Aidan O’Brien and also ridden by Murtagh, won the Golden Jubilee in 2010 and went one better by also winning the July Cup. He was also second in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at the York Ebor Festival.

Since Choisir’s win in the King Stand Stakes, there has been three further Aussie successes in the race. Takeover Target won in 2006, Miss Andretti a year later in 2008 and Scenic Blast was the last to land the race for the Aussies in 2009.

This year, the Australian horses will be looking for further success Royal Ascot succes with Hinchinbrook, also trained by Perry in the Golden Jubilee and Star Witness, trained by Danny O’Brien in the Kings Stand Stakes.

Hinchinbrook a 4 year old has had to live in the shadow of unbeaten stable mate Black Caviar, regarded as a wonder filly "Down Under" but who didn't make the trip to the Northern Hemisphere. However, connections believe that had Black Caviar raced in the Golden Jubilee she would have won easily, which makes the challenge of Hinchinbrook a genuine one despite the fact that he has only one previous stakes race. His price has been cut from around the 20/1 mark into 14s.

Meanwhile Star Witness, a dual Group One Sprint winner in Australia will be looking to repeat the feat of Choisir by winning the Group One sprint double and as such has been installed as the 6/1 favourite for the Kings Stand Stakes in the latest Ascot Odds and 8/1 for the more preferred target of the Golden Jubilee.

Whilst the Australian sprint stars come to Royal Ascot with big chances,, neither are thought to have as big a chance as So You Think, who has already won twice for the Aidan O’Brien stable since his arrival from Australia.

Regarded very much as a superstar in Australia, he has a longer term aim of winning the Arc de Triomphe later this season, but meanwhile it would appear that he has two Royal Ascot options. The first of those is the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile, where he is likely to face top English miler, Canford Cliffs as well as the brilliant Goldikova or O’Brien could be attempted to run him in the Prince of Wales Stakes over the slightly longer ten furlong trip. Should he go for the latter then he is likely to be up against one or two he is likely to face in the ‘Arc’ later in the year, including current Arc champion, Workforce, a race which could trigger the start of a season long rivalry.

Whatever the outcome, the presence of some cracking horses from Australia always makes the Royal meeting so much more special and with three, all boasting big chances, 2011 could prove another vintage year for the Australian Raiders.

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