Royal Ascot Spotlight: The meeting is lucky to have Shea Shea

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Shea Shea has become one of the most popular sprinters on the planet after being campaigned on the biggest stages in the world by his equally international trainer Mike De Kock.

Punters have been able to set their watch to the South African star over the years with his signature late runs breaking the hearts of many opposition and their connections.

Sam Foster profiles one of Royal Ascot’s true stars ahead of the prestigious five-day meeting in Berkshire.

Royal Entry:

Kings’ Stand Stakes (4/1)

Notable Achievements:

Shea Shea has been an international star for some time with prize money of over £2.5m a crude but relevant reminder of his achievements.

The fact that Mike De Kock’s hugely popular gelding has won almost half his races as a sprinter (11 from 24) is testimony to the seven-year-old’s incredible consistency, something that cannot be taken for granted in a career that has been spanned exclusively over the shortest trips.

With three of those victories coming at the highest level as well there is no doubting the son of National Emblem is one of the very best in his division and the fact he has only finished outside the places once in his last seven starts suggests this marvellous career is by no means nearing a conclusion.

Season so far:

Shea Shea has already been in action twice this campaign, adding an 11th career victory on his seasonal reappearance at Meydan in a Group 3 before stepping up to the highest level once more when finding new sprint sensation Amber Sky too good in the  Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint at the Dubai Carnival back in March.

Stable form:

South African maestro De Kock continues to clock up the air miles and the prize money with victories in the Group 1 Champions Mile and Jebel Hatta at Sha Tin and Meydan respectively this year. Although the Dubai Carnival was not as prosperous as years past his string remain a force to be feared whenever they’re carrying their passport.

Jockey:

Christophe Soumillon

Course form:

On his only visit to Berkshire in this race last year the seven-year-old was sent off a well supported 11/4 favourite to complete a hat-trick after two wins at Meydan three months before. However, despite delivering his characteristic late rattle it wasn’t enough to deny the re-opposing Sole Power, adding yet another chapter in their increasingly unpredictable rivalry.

Hydrogen or Frankel?

Shea Shea has proven time and again that he is the real deal and although the nature of sprint racing means it’s difficult for any horse to rack up a significant number of consecutive victories there are few in the short distance game as reliable as De Kock’s star.

Final verdict:

Shea Shea fully deserves his place at the head of the market but odds of 4/1 reflect how wide-open the race is and the unpredictability of races over the minimum distances. And with the likes of Temple Stake winner Hot Streak in the race – a horse already proven at the track – along with old foe Sole Power and Duke Of York victor Maarek there is enough quality in opposition to make one swerve.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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