Space Legend ready to make Ascot impact

Space Legend bids to provide owners Wathnan Racing with an immediate return on their investment in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot on Friday.

Runner-up on his sole juvenile appearance at Chelmsford in December, the son of Sea The Stars went one better in some style on his reappearance at Leicester before finishing a luckless second to Meydaan in the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood last month.

Space Legend would almost certainly have won that Listed prize had he not been denied a clear run when being produced with his challenge by Tom Marquand, prompting Wathnan’s racing adviser Richard Brown to recommend that the Qatari-based operation added the promising William Haggas-trained colt to their increasingly powerful squad.

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“It was one of those things that happens in Goodwood and a furlong out he was last and had to come round them,” he said.

“I was very impressed by the way he made up his ground in that last furlong and he galloped out very strongly. He was definitely an unlucky loser and is a fine, big horse.

“Hopefully he can run a big race for us at Ascot, but is hopefully also a horse with a very big future. James (Doyle) has ridden him work and liked him very much.”

Space Legend is taken on by a quartet of Aidan O’Brien-trained runners in Agenda, Diego Velazquez, Chief Little Rock and The Euphrates, with Ryan Moore siding with Diego Velazquez, who was most recently seen finishing eighth in the French Derby, having been fourth before that in the French 2000 Guineas.

Diego Velazquez and Ryan Moore at Leopardstown
Diego Velazquez and Ryan Moore at Leopardstown (Damien Eagers/PA)

“We have four in here and there is little between all of them, with perhaps Chief Little Rock and Diego Velazquez having the best form credentials as it stands,” the jockey told Betfair.

“Chief Little Rock was very good from the front over a mile and a quarter at the Curragh last time, and he steps up in trip along with my mount Diego Velazquez, who was possibly a bit below par in the French Derby last time after finishing an excellent fourth in their Guineas.

“Things didn’t go his way there (in the French Derby), and hopefully he can show his true worth here. It’s obviously a very open race and Agenda put up a big performance at Chester last time, so I wouldn’t ignore his claims. ”

Francis-Henri Graffard’s French raider Calandagan, a dual Group Three in his homeland this spring, and John and Thady Gosden’s unbeaten dual winner Theory Of Tides also feature.

Graffard said: “He is a nice horse, he has won two Group Threes and the plan has always been to take him to Ascot for this race.

“A mile and a half won’t be a problem for him. He has a nice wide draw and we will see where we stand against this quality. He is not ground dependent.”

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O’Brien fires a twin assault at the Group Three Albany Stakes, with Naas Group Three winner Fairy Godmother joined by stablemate Heavens Gate, who impressed on her second start at the Curragh.

Moore, who rides the former, said: “After being beaten on her debut, Fairy Godmother reversed the form with the winner Sparkling Sea in a Group Three at Naas last time, and did so nicely after meeting trouble in running.

“Again, we are dealing with unexposed two-year-olds here but I’d like to think she is the one to beat after the way she did it last time, though you have to respect Mountain Breeze. We also have Heavens Gate in here, who we considered running in the Queen Mary on Wednesday. She is not out of this.”

Mountain Breeze looks a major contender for Charlie Appleby and William Buick after impressing twice at Newmarket in May.

“She’s a half-sister to Pinatubo and was more impressive I felt on her second start when she stepped up to six furlongs and she goes there as a live player,” said Appleby.

“It’s billed to be a competitive race, as it always is, but she’s a filly that we’ve been very pleased with since the spring and she’s not disappointed us to date.”

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