Can Appleby’s Royal Lodge luck change with classy juvenile Flying Honours? | Horse Racing News

Edward Whitaker (

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Can Appleby’s Royal Lodge luck change with classy juvenile Flying Honours?  |  Horse Racing News

Charlie Appleby: trainer saddles Flying Honors in Saturday’s Juddmonte Royal Lodge

Edward Whitaker (

By Robbie Wilders and David Milnes

Saturday: 1.50 Newmarket
Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Group 2) | 1m | 2yo colts and geldings | ITV4/RTV

On paper, this is a weak running of the Royal Lodge as none of the four contenders have yet tackled a Group race. An absence of form at a higher level could be used as a stick to beat this field with, but at least all rate as promising sorts.

Last season’s Royal Lodge unearthed a Classic winner and this is always a Group 2 to inspect closely.

Coroebus was agonizingly reeled in late in the picture by Royal Patronage that day and Charlie Appleby will likely harbor similar future ambitions for odds-on favorite Flying Honours.

On the limited evidence we have, Flying Honors deserves a short price as he shaped with Group potential when running away with a Salisbury Listed race by five and a half lengths last time.

The form is also working out as runner-up Stormbuster sauntered home by five lengths in a Newbury conditions race last week from another classy Appleby-trained colt in Highbank.

The Godolphin trainer should have a decent line through Flying Honors on that form.

Aidan O’Brien tends to run his best two-year-old middle-distance prospects in the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh on the same day, but that still failed to prevent the Ballydoyle trainer from saddling the first three home in 2018 and three of the first four in the 2019 running.

O’Brien relies on Saxon Warrior colt Greenland, who after failing to score on his initial three outings, lost his maiden tag when capturing a conditions contest at Tipperary last time.

He could lack the star potential of Flying Honors, but these connections can never be fully dismissed and he could be dangerous if allowed to dominate.

Dubai Mile did just that under a penalty at Kempton last time but needs to improve, while The Foxes must also step forward on what he has achieved so far.
Race analysis by Robbie Wilders

Flying machine

Charlie Appleby thought he had a coveted first win in the Royal Lodge a year ago when the ill-fated Coroebus struck for home before the Bushes, only to be run down late by Royal Patronage.

Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

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Coroebus (left): Appleby's star was narrowly denied in the Royal Lodge last year

Coroebus (left): Appleby’s star was narrowly denied in the Royal Lodge last year

Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The runner-up went on to win the 2,000 Guineas in May and 12 months on, Appleby is in another strong position with Flying Honors, whose form could not be working out any better and is a 14-1 chance for next year’s Derby.

After storming to success at Sandown Park in July, the Sea The Stars colt scored by an easy five and a half lengths in the Listed Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury in August.

That form has since been boosted by the runner-up Stormbuster, who turned over Flying Honors’ stablemate Highbank in the Haynes, Hanson and Clark Conditions Stakes at Newbury earlier this month.

Charlie Appleby said: “Flying Honors brings a nice, progressive profile into this and won over a mile at Listed level on his latest start. He looks to have strengthened again since that run and I think he will be hard to beat.”

What they say

Alastair Donald, racing manager to King Power Racing, owners of The Foxes
We had hoped to run him in the Solario Stakes at Sandown last month, but he scoped dirty on the morning of the race. Regardless of that, it was always the plan to come here and we expect the step up to a mile to suit him. He’s a horse who has always worked nicely in the mornings and we started to see some of that when he won at Goodwood last time. It’s a small field and the Godolphin horse looks strong, but we expect him to run a nice race with an eye to next year as he is very much a three-year-old type.

Aidan O’Brien, trainer of Greenland
He’s a nice sort of colt who won over 7f at Roscommon the last day but we always thought he would appreciate a mile. He seems to be progressing nicely from run to run.
Reporting by David Milnes

Saturday’s race previews:

1.35 Curragh: Aidan O’Brien saddles two in bid for staggering 22nd Beresford Stakes win

2.25 Newmarket: ‘She’s as good as Tiggy Wiggy’ – who will come out on top in the Cheveley Park?

3.00 Newmarket: ‘There’s more to come’ – Marshman and Blackbeard face off in classy Middle Park

3.20 Curragh: ‘She has a proper shout’ – who wants to be a millionaire at the Curragh?

3.40 Newmarket: ‘He’ll run a big race’ – trainers on their hopes for the Cambridgeshire

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