ThoroughBred Racing

Coolangatta and Cannonball well beaten at Royal Ascot

Coolangatta and Cannonball well beaten at Royal Ascot

Another royal Australian procession in the King’s Stand Stakes (Gr 1, 5f) was not to be as both Coolangatta (Written Tycoon) and Cannonball (Capitalist) struck out in an eventful renewal of the five-furlong Group 1 sprint on yesterday’s opening day of Royal Ascot.

The race, which was dominated by the Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip (Nicconi) a year ago, was claimed by the Archie Watson-trained Bradsell (Tasleet), last year’s Coventry Stakes (Gr 2, 6f) winner, who was supplemented at the six-day declaration stage, and had to survive a stewards’ enquiry after the Hollie Doyle-ridden three-year-old was alleged to have interfered with 7-4 favourite Highfield Princess (Night Of Thunder) in the closing stages.
The challenge of both Coolangatta and Cannonball took a hit in the early hours of the morning at Ascot, as nine millimetres of rain soaked the already watered course which downgraded the surface to Good from Good to Firm prior to the first race.

The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace trained Coolangatta found her chances further hindered by her pre-race misdemeanours, as she paraded on her toes and became animated by an exuberant cheer from Australian supporters as she passed in the parade ring. That behaviour continued behind the barriers, with rider James McDonald describing her as ‘fizzy’ on the way back to scale, as she reared up with the raucous occasion seemingly overawing the diminutive filly.
The race started positively for the Australian charge, as Coolangatta jumped on terms and travelled prominently on the far side of the track alongside the American raider Twilight Gleaming (National Defense), while Cannonball led a group of three that moved towards the stands’ side. However, both Coolangatta and the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Cannonball were found wanting with more than two furlongs to travel, as both came off the bridle and under heavy pressure with challengers looming in their slipstream.
Bradsell and Highfield Princess burst clear soon after to end Coolangatta’s bid for Royal Ascot glory, the filly dropping back through the field to finish 11th, six and a half lengths from the race winner, while Cannonball faded to finish last of the 17 runners, beaten 11 lengths at the line. The Kia Ora Stud-owned Mooneista (Dandy Man), an 850,000gns buy from last year’s Tattersall’s December Broodmare Sale, finished 13th.
 Ciaron Maher, who had been bullish over the chances of 4-1 chance Coolangatta leading into the race, could not disguise his disappointment at the performance. “She was a bit agitated in the stalls, which is uncharacteristic for her,” Maher told TAB Radio’s Andrew Browne. “She reared up [before the start], but she was quick away, and travelled good. “James said the ground was quite testing, and she just came off the bridle a fraction earlier than expected.
Maybe it was the ground, maybe her attitude, but it just wasn’t her day today.” Connections of the James Harron-owned Cannonball, who drifted to a starting price of 28-1 having been as short as 8-1 on Monday evening, had hoped the horse’s unknown quality after two progressive performances in Australia under the guidance of Peter and Paul Snowden would see the three-year-old prove a threat against European opposition, but Cannonball failed to measure up to the challenge, as his chance dissipated early in proceedings, not aided by the split in the field which left him in a lonely group of three, and the softened surface.
However, his trainer was not too disheartened despite the colt trailing home at the tail of the field, and did not rule out another tilt at Royal Ascot in future years.
“He just raced a bit fresh. He’s an inexperienced horse,” Peter Snowden told ANZ Bloodstock News. “We brought him over here on potential and he’s got potential. He needs a bit of solid grounding and some hard racing to toughen him up. “He raced too freely through the middle part of the race and on his own. He needs to be behind horses to switch him off and shut him down a bit, but he got run down having gone too hard, too early.
He’ll learn a lot from that. “He’s been a brilliant horse to bring over. He travelled so well. He’ll go for a spell now and his ability will come. “I’m sure he’ll be a Group 1 winner in his own right back home, and if that’s the case we’ll have a look at coming over once more.” Victory for Bradsell was sweet redemption for Watson, who was left aggrieved at the royal meeting two years ago when his Dragon Symbol (Cable Bay) was demoted to second by stewards in the Commonwealth Cup (Gr 1, 6f). “I am delighted.
When Dragon Symbol had the race taken away, it was terrible, and I didn’t want to do too much celebrating, but I am just delighted for everyone. I know we’re seen as a big yard, but for a yard like us to be winning a Group 1 here is the best thing on the planet,” said Watson, who said plans to race the son of Tasleet (Showcasing) in the furlong-further Commonwealth Cup were shelved after his fading third-placed performances over six furlongs at both Ascot and Haydock this year, leading to connections supplementing the colt for the King’s Stand Stakes at a cost of £35,000 (approx. AU$65,8012).
 “There was dread when that ‘bing-bong’ [of the stewards’ enquiry] happened, especially having just been chinned in the Coventry, but it’s amazing and I’m so pleased for everyone involved.” Bradsell could next show up at Newmarket’s July Cup (Gr 1, 6f) next month, where he could meet the Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained Artorius (Flying Artie), who takes on Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes (Gr 1, 6f), a race in which he dead-heated for third last year, before filling the same position at Newmarket.
Bradsell, who takes his record to three wins from six starts, is one of two stakes winners for his sire Tasleet and the first elite-level scorer for the Shadwell stallion, who stands at Nunnery Stud for a fee of £6,000 (approx. AU$11,285). He is the third named foal out of the Listed winner Russian Punch (Archipenko), with the mare and Bradsell the only stakes winners within the first five dam’s of the colt’s pedigree. Bradsell was a 12,000gns Tattersalls Somerville Yearling Sale graduate, before selling for £47,000 at the Goffs UK Breeze-Up Sale to Blandford Bloodstock.

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