First run 128 years ago in a race won by The Deemster, the Coventry Stakes remains one of the highlights of day one of the Royal Ascot meeting. A Group Two contest decided over six furlongs, it’s open to two-year-old horses and carries a respectable prize pot with £85,000 presented to the winner.
Rajasinghe banked the cheque 12 months ago when leading home a pack headed by Headway and Murillo but the Irish colt, trained by Richard Spencer, now moves on to bigger and better things, leaving the door open for a new champion to make a name for himself in Berkshire.
A talented field make up the ante-post list and although the field are yet to be clipped down before we reach the final declarations stage, bookmakers are hot on who they believe will win the race, pricing Sergei Prokofiev as a convincing favourite.
The progressive bay made a decent start to life as a sprinter when ending second on debut at Dundalk back in April in a race won by Skitter Skatter. The runner-up went off a short-priced favourite that day – proving the respect he has in the industry already – but lost nothing in defeat, going down by the narrowest of margins with a lack of racecourse experience to blame.
The penny didn’t take long to drop for Sergei Prokofiev and Aidan O’Brien’s rising star got it right at the second time of asking when seeing off a five-runner field next time out. Thrown back into the thick of it less than a fortnight after his debut, it was obvious connections wanted to get their charge moving and backers who picked up on that would’ve got their money back at Navan when scoring over 5f with silver medallist Pride Of Pimlico failing to land a blow, trotting home a full 7 ½ lengths behind.
He extended his form to two from three when encountering little trouble at Naas at the tail-end of May under the guidance of Ryan Moore. Four lengths was the official winning distance on that occasion in the Rochestown Stakes. Again priced like losing wasn’t an option, he lived up to the hype and then some, hitting the front and showing the turn of foot needed to stretch his rivals out and put the race to bed. That speed will surely see him claim more important prizes in future. Could this year’s Coventry Stakes be the start of them?
The latest horse racing betting has Sergei Prokofiev as jolly but there’s more to get excited about if you fancy sticking with him. The 9/4 available at bet365 is market best and that’s also the first time he has been odds-against on the approach to a race.
Legends Of War lines up as the best of the rest with 5/1 the norm about John Gosden’s second-favourite. He brings to course a 100% record of one start, one win, but this represents a step up in class. Third in line is The Irish Rover who carries double-figure odds but there’s a lot to like about O’Brien’s other runner and he gave a winning effort on his most recent go.