A Shin Hikari is unlikely to be much of a price for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes but it is hard to look past him in the feature event on day two of Royal Ascot ob Wednesday, June 15.
The five-year-old won eight of his 10 starts in Japan before announcing his arrival on the international scene with a wire-to-wire success in the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin in December.
Sent off a 25-1 shot that day, Yutaka Take had him promptly away and the son of Deep Impact proceded to set a decent pace which he held right to the line, beating fellow Japanese raider Nuovo Record by a length.
Connections immediately began to plan a European challenge with the Masanori Sakaguchi-trained horse taking up residence in France ahead of his debut in the Prix d’Ispahan at Chantilly last month.
A handful of top French performers lined up in that nine-furlong event but all they saw was a clean pair of heels as he raced prominently through the early stages before being sent to the front two furlongs from home.
A Shin Hikari’s response was hugely impressive and he passed the post with 10 lengths in hand without really having to hit top gear.
That victory came on heavy ground, so soft conditions in Berkshire hold little fear and should the ground unexpectedly improve, he has already proved himself more than capable on a fast surface.
Devonshire will relish the testing ground and she can find the necessary improvement to triumph in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.
The four-year-old contested the Jersey Stakes at this meeting last year but fast ground proved very much against her as she trailed home 15th of the 16 runners.
Her trainer Willie McCreery must be thrilled by the prospect of soft ground and Devonshire is fancied to spring a surprise against one or two better-fancied rivals.
Royal Ascot: 2.30 Ibn Malik, 3.05 Lady Aurelia, 3.40 DEVONSHIRE (NAP), 4.20 A Shin Hikari, 5.00 Portage, 5.35 Diploma.
Chelmsford: 6.10 Teofonic, 6.40 Bridge Of Sighs, 7.10 Shamshon, 7.40 Forever Popular, 8.10 Baileys Mirage, 8.40 Sciarra, 9.10 Proven Point.
Hamilton: 2.10 Harome, 2.45 Love Dreams, 3.20 Doeadeer, 3.55 Mr Grumpy, 4.35 Livella Fella, 5.10 Ted’s Brother, 5.45 Hero’s Story.
Ripon: 6.30 Pabusar, 7.00 Climax, 7.30 Ninetta, 8.00 My Amigo, 8.30 Tanaasub, 9.00 Wishing Well.
Uttoxeter: 2.20 Rocklander, 2.55 Sinakar, 3.30 Allez Vic, 4.05 Lava Lamp, 4.45 Jester Jet, 5.20 Creepy, 5.55 Galveston.
Double: Devonshire and A Shin Hikari.