Hong Kong Derby winner Soumillon targets Perfect Royal Ascot win

If things had panned out slightly differently, progressive Hong Kong sprinter Cordyceps Six could well have been competing on day four of Royal Ascot.

Trainer Richard Gibson recently admitted that he was seriously considering a tilt at the Group One Commonwealth Cup (1,200m) as recently as January before realising that the conditions of the race rendered his potential star ineligible as a gelding.

After his recent win at Group Three level, Cordyceps Six would not have looked out of place in this competitive field and the betting shows this three-year-old contest is an open affair featuring a mix of confirmed sprinters and runners dropping in trip after not quite cutting it in Classic races over a mile.

Favourite Perfect Power fits firmly into the latter camp with trainer Richard Fahey’s attempt to stretch his stamina to a mile not quite working out when he finished seventh in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on his last start in April.

Before that, he’d won five of his past six races over 1,200m-1,400m including the Group One Prix Morny in August and the Group One Middle Park Stakes to round off his juvenile season last year.

Hong Kong punters will recognise the man on board, with 2006 Derby winner Christophe Soumillon taking the ride, and if you back him you can expect him to arrive on the scene late.

Perfect Power brings proven Group One form to the table but his biggest rival is a horse stepping up to the elite level for the first time.

El Caballo has won his past six starts, including at Group Two level last time, and has not started bigger than $4.50 in any of those runs. He’ll be around that price again but there is seemingly no ceiling to his ability and he looks a good alternative to the favourite.

The Group One Coronation Stakes (1,600m) shares the spotlight on Friday and unbeaten juvenile Inspiral makes her comeback on the biggest stage of all.

With four consecutive wins to begin her career and the last of those coming at Group One level, she is certain to go off favourite for this contest.

Trained by father-son team John and Thady Gosden, she was the ante-post favourite for this season’s 1,000 Guineas but was forced to miss the race after suffering an interrupted preparation.

This race has since been the preferred target but she faces a host of potential improvers, including the American challenger Spendarella and Cachet, who won the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and finished second in the French version a couple of weeks ago.

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