Top filly Magical is one of 18 entries going forward for the G1 Investec Coronation Cup, worth £425,000, at Epsom Downs on Friday 31st May, Investec Ladies’ Day.
The four-year-old progressed when stepped up to 12 furlongs at the backend of 2018, landing the G1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot in October before pushing Enable all the way in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs,
USA in November.
Magical has returned this season with easy victories in the G3 Alleged Stakes at Naas on 13th April and G2 Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh on 6th May, both over 10 furlongs.
Magical’s trainer Aidan O’Brien has won the Investec Coronation Cup, run over the same 12 furlongs and six yards as the Investec Derby and Investec Oaks, a record eight times and Ireland’s 21-time champion Flat handler accounts for seven of the 18 entries.
The septet also includes Kew Gardens and Flag Of Honour, respective winners of last year’s English and Irish St Legers, plus 2017 G1 Irish Derby and St Leger victor Capri, Cypress Creek, Hunting Horn and Southern France, third behind Kew Gardens at Doncaster.
Europe’s champion stayer Stradivarius is one of three remaining entries for Newmarket-based handler John Gosden, who has taken out Enable. The five-year-old Sea The Stars horse is set to reappear in Friday’s G2 Yorkshire Cup at York. Gosden’s trio is completed by multiple G1 runner-up Coronet and G1 St Leger second Lah Ti Dar, who are both by Dubawi and finished second and third to Magical in the 2018 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes. Lah Ti Dar is the year-older full sister to unbeaten Too Darn Hot, last year’s champion European two-year-old.
Salouen, trained by the in-form Sylvester Kirk in Lambourn, almost pulled off a 33/1 shock in last year’s Investec Coronation Cup, when going down by a head to Cracksman, who ended 2018 as the joint highest-rated horse in the world.
The five-year-old Canford Cliffs horse, often a front-runner, is set for a repeat bid after an impressive seven-length success in the Listed Buckhounds Stakes at Ascot on 11th May.
The 2018 G1 Melbourne Cup runner-up Marmelo is going for the Investec Coronation Cup following a pleasing comeback victory in the G3 John Porter Stakes over 12 furlongs at Newbury on 13th April.
The six-year-old entire is best known as a stayer, with all three of his Group victories prior to Newbury having come over a mile and three quarters or further.
His trainer, Berkshire-based Hughie Morrison, commented: “The Investec Coronation Cup is the plan for Marmelo.
“We gave him a couple of easy weeks after the John Porter and now we are revving him up for Epsom. We felt it was worth having a go over a mile and a half, just to try something different more than anything, especially now he has fully matured. It might be that he is better over further, but we can always go up in trip later on.
“I always thought the Coronation Cup could present a decent opportunity and we are keen to have a go. I have never had a runner in the race and it will be great to be there, provided the ground isn’t too quick.”
Mark Johnston, the most successful British trainer ever, has two contenders in Communique and Mildenberger, who finished first and third in the G2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket on 4th May.
That 12-furlong contest also featured second Defoe (Roger Varian), fourth Coronet, fifth Red Verdon (Ed Dunlop) and sixth Young Rascal (William Haggas), who is owned by Investec’s former managing director Bernard Kantor.
Completing the 18 remaining Investec Coronation Cup contenders is the King Power Racing-owned Morando (Andrew Balding), who relished the testing ground when posting a wide margin victory in the G3 Ormonde Stakes over 12 furlongs at Chester
on 9th May.
The Investec Coronation Cup is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.