Richard Hannon appears to have assembled his strongest team to date for the pinnacle meeting of the Flat season and he heads into Royal Ascot with his horses in just the form he would have wished.
Any jewels next week would be gratefully accepted but the diamond in the crown would be a victory for Barney Roy in the St James’s Palace Stakes on the opening day when he is due to have his second encounter with the juggernaut that is Churchill.
After failing to act in the Dip at Newmarket in the Qipco 2000 Guineas, Barney Roy finished with such purpose that he was only a length behind at the line and his programme has been tailored to Tuesday’s feature event since that Classic contest.
Hannon won with his first runner at Royal Ascot when Toronado took the Queen Anne Stakes in 2014 and added to that success with Baitha Alga in the Norfolk. The following year there was a brace of winners again with Osaila (Sandringham Handicap) and Illuminate (Albany) but a blank last year wouldn’t have rested well.
However, his juvenile division looks exceedingly strong this time around with the likes of Natural, Out of The Flames, De Bruyne Horse and Denaar, to name but a few, and his older horses and three-year-old handicappers look more than capable of holding their own.
With the Royal Meeting almost upon on us, Richard kindly spoke to Tony Elves of attheraces.com about his leading prospects.