Jamie Lynch

"She makes her debut amid high expectations: the sort that come from having such a pacey and precocious dam and from costing 850,000 guineas." - Sky Sports Racing's senior analyst Jamie Lynch highlights three horses to watch at Ascot on Friday, live on Sky Sports Racing.

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In 1999, on only the second race of her life, Shyrl finished runner-up, beaten just a neck, in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. Twenty years and seven foals later, Shyrl’s daughter, Divine Spirit, makes her racecourse debut, at Ascot, amid high expectations: the sort of expectations that come from having such a pacey and precocious dam, and from costing 850,000 guineas, and from carrying the Godolphin blue. Look out for her in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies Stakes at 2.00.

If the dam is the surface story, the sire might be the genuine gene generator, because Divine Spirit is by Kingman, the star-shooting stallion whose first crop included Calyx. All the data says that Divine Spirit may be something out of the ordinary, magnified by the fact that William Buick is going there to ride her.

This maiden was the starting point for Shades Of Blue in 2018, and she went on to be placed in the Queen Mary, for Clive Cox, who introduces Star Alexander in the race this year, while other newcomers from the stables of Hannon, bin Suroor and Hughes all look good on paper, but Divine Spirit is the one who jumps off the page, perhaps with a return journey already booked to try to go one better than Shyrl did at the big meeting.


That Magna Grecia won the 2000 Guineas makes sense, less so the circumstances, because of the split field and skewed feel, with a 66/1 outsider best of the rest, advantaged, it seemed, by where he raced, alongside the winner. King Of Change may not be so good as Newmarket made him look, but, equally, he’s clearly a cut above a handicapper… and that suddenly shines a bright light upon King Ademar in the one mile Women In Racing Handicap at 4.20.

Having been heavily backed, into 11/8, supporters and indeed connections might have felt a little underwhelmed by King Ademar trailing in second in a novice event at Nottingham last month, but, in hindsight, what chance did he have with King Of Change? None at all, it’s fair to say.

On the figures, at first glance, this handicap looks at the mercy of I’m Available, under just a 6lb penalty for her 8-length blitz 10 days ago. However, the twist in the tale is last weekend’s Guineas, in which we saw King Of Change in a very different light, with the upshot of seeing King Ademar’s mark – of 84 – in a very different light, too. I’m Available has played an Ace, but she’s up against a pair of Kings.


"I just wonder whether he might potentially be a Queen’s Vase horse." It appears Jalmoud has booked his ticket to Royal Ascot, according to Charlie Appleby, as reported on attheraces.com following a grinding, finding win by Jalmoud in a listed race at Longchamp last Saturday. Out of Oaks winner Dancing Rain, Jalmoud is on a roll which gathered momentum in a Newmarket novice in April, a race that looks better by the week.

In third that day was Eightsome Reel, an easy winner at Ripon next time, and splitting the pair at Newmarket was the newcomer Cape Cavalli, who’s strutting his stuff in the mile-and-a-half Karen Millen Maiden at 2.35. He’s got a King Edward VII entry, though so too has John Gosden’s newcomer Swift Wing, who has the King Edward VII in his blood, his brother Eagle Top having won it in 2014.

All the same, Swift Wing is diving in at the deep end, given the power and promise of Cape Cavalli, who in turn reflects the power and promise of Jalmoud. All roads lead to Royal Ascot.   

Jamie Lynch
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