As the dust settles on another eventful Royal Ascot the focus now switches to the other principal races remaining in this year’s Flat season.
Plenty of clues will have been garnered from the five-day showpiece in Berkshire and impressive King Edward VII Stakes winner Hillstar is certainly one of the festival’s successes who’s captured the imagination.
In overturning odds-on favourite Battle of Marengo, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained charge bolted up by a length to take the Group 2 prize in the hands of Ryan Moore.
Admittedly, Marengo was conceding 3lb to his rivals. However, given his strong fourth in the Derby and a smattering of Group wins already on his CV, this ranked as a tremendous upset for Hillstar and a massive fillip for all of his connections.
Never fazed throughout, the three-year-old produced at the finish to stride clear of his nearest rival and the outpaced Mutashaded in third.
And now a tilt at the final Classic of the season, the Ladbrokes St. Leger, would appear to be on the horizon.
There’s no doubt that this was a noteworthy victory for Hillstar.
Staying on so strongly when tackling a mile-and-a-half for the first time, not to mention against far classier company than he’d been used to facing, displayed clear signs of progression.
The 16/1 about the son of Danehill Dancer could soon be gobbled up following this coming-of-age scalp with two previous defeats at Newmarket now perhaps forgiven.
Whether his King Edward triumph ranks as a seasonal, or indeed a career peak, remains to be seen. But at such a standout price it would appear that there’s definitely value to be had.
The two extra furlongs of the St. Leger trip will be an even stiffer test. Although, backers of the talented colt can at least be reassured by one particular trend – nine of the last 11 winners of the Doncaster highlight had won over 1m3f-1m4f before.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication