Newmarket Coronation Cup 2020 Preview

Today we will see a small but select field for the Hurworth Bloodstock Coronation Cup at Newmarket. The mile-and-a-half showpiece is traditionally ran at Epsom but due to the impact of the coronavirus shutdown on the regular calendar it has had a venue change to Newmarket. Despite the change, it has still attracted a top-class field, with the likes of Ascot Gold Cup hero Stradivarius.

A look at the competitors…

(Odds correct at time of publishing)

Ghaiyyath – EVENS – click to add to betslip

Racing post – Six wins in just nine career starts, including both starts here and wide-margin successes from the front in a 1m4f Group 1 in Germany last September and excellent return to action at Meydan in February; form pick here on his peak efforts and likely to take a deal of catching.

“He wintered in Dubai and had a prep run in the Dubai Millennium, which he won very well. The plan was to go there and then on to the Sheema Classic. He came back probably about six weeks ago now and looks fantastic. It’s so nice to see these five-year-olds around. We saw what Blue Point did for us last year, it’s just nice to have those older horses in the yard. He’s a horse that we’re very excited to see race this year. He’s got proven form up the Rowley Mile as a winner of the Autumn Stakes as a two-year-old. He’s in great order – he’s an exciting horse.”

Trainer Charlie Appleby

Stradivarius – 10/3 – click to add to betslip

Racing post – Top-class stayer, including winning the last two Ascot Gold Cups, which will be his main target again this season; first 1m4f start for three years but has shown plenty of pace when winning 1m6f Yorkshire Cup on his seasonal debut in last two years and, granted a true pace here, good chance he can show something close to his best; major form contender if he does.

“As I’ve said to everybody, Stradivarius is in good form and we are looking forward to getting him going.It is the shortest trip he has run over for some time, but we need to have a prep race before the Gold Cup.The essential thing is that we have this prep race before he tries to defend the Gold Cup.”

Trainer: John Gosden

Defoe – 5/1 – click to add to betslip

Racing Post – Career highlight when winning this race at Epsom last year while he has had a run already this year, when a good second at Meydan in March, so good chance he’ll be at his peak again today; however, this C&D winner’s overall record suggests he is vulnerable in top-flight company (despite last year’s win) and may come up a tad short.

“Defoe is a horse who tells you when he’s right and is giving us the right messages. He’s on his racing weight, he’s come good in his skin and he seems to have a bounce with him. He’s tuned-in for the race, but it might take a career best to win it because the race looks a touch stronger this year. He seemed to really love Epsom last year, when he put it to bed in a few strides and won going away. But, saying that, he’s run well at Newmarket the couple of times he’s performed there and I don’t think the track holds too many fears for him.”

Trainer: Roger Varian

Anthony Van Dyck – 7/1 – click to add to betslip

Racing Post – Ended last season on a low-key note when well beaten in blinkers (left off here) in Hong Kong; however, would be a contender for sure on his win in the Derby at Epsom last June, even if it was far from a vintage renewal of the premier Classic; won well on last season’s reappearance.

“I don’t know much about the mile and a half at Newmarket, but I would imagine you’d need to get a mile and a half very well to get the trip. We haven’t had a lot of runners over that trip in Newmarket. We just thought soft ground at Ascot (in the King George last year) wasn’t the right thing to do with Anthony Van Dyck, and he paid for it. But he’s in good form now, we’re happy with his work and the plan would be to keep him on good ground. He’s doing everything right at the moment.”

Trainer: Aiden O’Brien

Broome- 14/1 – click to add to betslip

Racing Post – Ended last season with below-par run in the Irish Derby last June; had begun last season with a flourish, winning first two starts before close, staying-on fourth to Anthony Van Dyck in the Derby at Epsom and very much a player if resuming at that level; stays well and a true pace would help.

Alounak – 50/1 – click to add to betslip

Racing Post – Good horse when trained in Germany, including winning a Group 3 last August and second (to Desert Encounter) in the Canadian International at Woodbine in October; however, plenty more needed on that form against the best of these and faces a tough task on stable debut.

Desert Encounter– 50/1 – click to add to betslip

Racing Post – Excellent servant to connections over the years, including when winning the Grade 1 Canadian International for the second year running last year; however, tends to come to himself later in the year and even his peak form leaves this 8yo a bit short here.

(Odds correct at time of publishing)

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Bumpy Johnson

Racing Post – Easy bumper winner in October and did well to finish a close third on his hurdling debut the following month, given how moderately he jumped; needs to have tidied up that area and should go very close if he has.



Champagne Rhythm

Racing Post – Three very consistent displays, the latest pair over C&D, and deserves a change of fortune; very likely to perform up to his best again and high on the shortlist with conditions no problem.



Heart Of A Lion

Racing Post – Emphatic win in Southwell bumper (1m7f, good); runner-up on last two attempts over hurdles; had wind surgery since and now goes handicapping off a lenient-looking mark; top connections; shortlisted.




Racing Post – Came good at the 11th time of asking over fences at Fakenham (3m, good) in March; didn’t jump with much fluency in a competitive Ascot handicap on his reappearance but he wasn’t disgraced in seventh and Kevin Brogan takes a handy 5lb off here.

Returns and odds correct at time of publishing.