Minimise Risk (far left) finished seventh of nine in the Investec DerbyPICTURE: Getty Images
Minimise Risk could roll on to Royal Ascot
BONFIRE will not be ready for Royal Ascot consideration, trainer Andrew Balding said on Monday, but his stablemate Minimise Risk, who finished one place behind him in the Investec Derby at Epsom last weekend, could well be.
Seventh of the nine runners behind Camelot and half a length adrift of his much better-fancied stablemate, has the Queen's Vase as a target, with the countdown to the royal meeting quickening up this week, notably through the arrival in Britain of Black Caviar.
Balding said: "Minimise Risk lost only four kilos and is as fresh as a daisy. Bonfire is sound but lost a bit more weight, though everything is fine otherwise. We will have to regroup with him.
"Minimise Risk could be a Queen's Vase candidate. Bonfire is in the Eclipse. That would be a possible target but I will have to have a discussion with Harry [Herbert, owner's representative] about it."
Highland Knight, who won the Investec Mile Handicap for the stable, was on Monday taken out of the Royal Hunt Cup, for which he was a general 20-1 shot.
"We decided we are not going to run him in handicaps and are going for a Listed race instead," said Balding.
Also very likely to miss Royal Ascot is Parish Hall, who had the St James's Palace Stakes as a possibility. Trainer Jim Bolger said: "I don't think he'll make it. He has a small wound on his leg where the infection broke out and it'll take time."
The Dewhurst winner was a late withdrawal from the Irish 2,000 Guineas and missed the Derby as well when his leg became infected the night before the Curragh Classic.
There was better news on the royal meeting front for Bolger on Monday in the shape of Dawn Approach, who was promoted to favourite for the Coventry Stakes at 11-4 with Coral, whose spokesman David Stevens said: "Dawn Approach's task may have been made easier with the absence of Cougar Ridge, but Jim Bolger's charge maintained his unbeaten run in good style and looks set to head to the royal meeting as the one to beat in the Coventry Stakes."
Punters, however, are advised to hold their bets as Bolger indicated after the victory at Naas that the Chesham was an alternative.
On the Gold Cup front, it could also be worth playing a waiting game, at least until Friday's Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown, for which Ascot market leaders Fame And Glory and Saddler's Rock were entered on Monday.
There was a notable two-legged market mover on Monday, as Ryan Moore was cut to 4-6 (from evens) by Coral to regain the jockeys' title.
Moore is closing in on the 50-mark for the season and Coral spokesman David Stevens said: "Ryan Moore has had some awful luck with injuries in recent years, and although that shouldn't detract from consecutive championships for Paul Hanagan, there is little doubt that if Moore completes a full season, it is going to be very hard for his rivals to deny him another title."
Moore is odds-on across the board now, with BetVictor's 10-11 being the best price available.