Before Royal Ascot’s King’s Stand Stakes, Shea Shea was a warm-order favourite to give trainer South African trainer Mike De Kock his first Group 1 winner on English soil, only to fall victim to a late surge from Sole Power with the race seemingly at his mercy.
He’ll now step up 1f to take in the July Cup at Newmarket and there’s plenty of reason to keep the faith with Meydan’s 5f track record holder at HQ.
Ahead of Royal Ascot Shea Shea led the betting for both the King’s Stand over 5f and the 6f Diamond Jubilee Stakes with the plan originally that he would contest both races.
After his fine second in the former event, the decision was made to remove him from the latter contest, with races across the remainder of the season – not least the July Cup – looming large on his radar.
Despite putting in his most stellar international appearances over the minimum trip, the step up to 6f is unlikely to be problematic as he has scored in four of his seven runs over the longer distance back in South Africa, including at Group 1 level and won his maiden over 7f.
Clive Cox – trainer of Diamond Jubilee winner Lethal Force – has previously spoken of his worries over his charge’s ability to reproduce his best form on undulating tracks such as Newmarket and it’s a concern that may put some off backing De Kock’s colt for the second time this summer.
However, the son of National Emblem has been given ample opportunity to come to terms with the track, after completing a second racecourse gallop on the July Course itself in the build-up to the race.
Connections were reportedly delighted with his latest piece of work and comments from assistant trainer Steve Jell gave reason to believe that even more could be expected of Shea Shea on his second British start.
Jell suggested that the five-year-old was a more relaxed animal than he had been in the build-up to his Ascot run, when he may have been that bit too fresh after a prolonged break from competition.
Question marks remain over his adversaries in the market-leading five, with Sole Power yet to score in four runs at 6f, Pearl Secret yet to attempt the trip, Lethal Force’s aforementioned track concerns and stable-mate Soft Falling Rain having swerved an intended engagement at Royal Ascot.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.