Last season's champion two-year-old Chaldean has already added 2000 Guineas glory at Newmarket to his CV this term and trainer Andrew Balding will be gearing him for Royal Ascot next.
The Frankel colt gave Frankie Dettori the perfect farewell in what was the Italian's final Newmarket Classic success and the St James's Palace Stakes on 20th June looks to be the next stop off for them.
|What||St James's Palace Stakes|
|Where||Royal Ascot, Ascot Racecourse|
|When||4.20, Tuesday 20th June, 2023|
|How to watch||bet365 Live Sports Streaming, ITV, Sky Sports Racing|
|Odds||Chaldean 6/4, Royal Scotsman 7/2, Isaac Shelby 11/2, Al Riffa 13/2, Cicero's Gift 11/1, Noble Style 14/1|
Chaldean's debut run at Newbury in late June 2022 didn't give rise to the suggestion he'd be the star two-year-old of the season.
He was a well-held fifth in that 6f contest but it would prove to be his only defeat in five starts as a youngster.
He stepped up over 7f at the same track a couple of weeks later for his first win and would add group races via the Acomb Stakes at York and Doncaster's Champagne Stakes in August and September.
He beat just two rivals on Town Moor and some quibbled the strength of that form but Chaldean answered the doubters when repelling Royal Scotsman's late challenge to win the Dewhurst at Newmarket and bring down the curtain on his 2YO season in the best possible style.
His 2023 bow was once more at Newbury, this time for the Greenham Stakes where he was the 5/4 favourite under Dettori – the Italian having got on board for the first time at Doncaster and remained in situ for the Dewhurst win.
Put bluntly, their reappearance was inconspicuous as Chaldean jinked to his left on exiting the starting stalls and fired Dettori into the turf before taking two strides, leaving Isaac Shelby to win the Greenham.
It was a letdown, but not something on which trainer Andrew Balding was going to get hung up. Chaldean galloped the seven-furlongs at Newbury riderless and the plan to head for Newmarket and the 2000 Guineas remained unaltered.
Royal Ascot moments: Frankie Dettori's Magnificent Seven
Royal Ascot moments: Frankel dominates in 2012
With Dettori having announced that 2023 will be his final year in the saddle, his every move is going to come under even more scrutiny than normal.
He'll have been as relieved as anyone, then, to have secured a Classic win at the first available opportunity.
Chaldean was always handily place in the soft-ground Guineas and picked off front-running 125/1 chance Hi Royal inside the final furlong, with Dewhurst second Royal Scotsman behind in third as favourite Auguste Rodin laboured home at the back of the pack for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore.
Twelve years on from one of the definitive performances of modern times by Frankel in the 2000 Guineas, the 2023 Newmarket hero became his first winner in the race as a sire.
The success on the Rowley Mile made it five wins in seven career starts for the Juddmonte-owned colt and, bar that blip in the Greenham, he's been essentially faultless since his debut.
He looks every inch a top miler and with three wins on good ground to his name, the prospect of faster conditions underfoot as we move into high summer shouldn't be a worry fort this excellent mover.
Chaldean is the 6/4 favourite to win the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on 20th June. If he makes the line-up, it will be his first visit to the famous Berkshire layout.
His ability to handle Newmarket bodes well and the manner in which he landed the Guineas, finishing strongly, hints that the still mile at Ascot will be within his compass.
Royal Scotsman didn't get the perfect passage in the Guineas and is a 7/2 to avenge at Ascot for Paul and Oliver Cole, while Greenham winner Isaac Shelby was agonisingly pipped in the French Guineas since for Brian Meehan and rates an 11/2 chance for the St James's Palace.
Unbeaten Cicero's Gift (11/1) is potentially being geared up for a class-rise by trainer Charlie Hills at Ascot, while Joseph O'Brien could send over last season's National Stakes winner Al Riffa (13/2).
For now, Chaldean has established himself as the leading early-season miler and is the one they've got to take aim at.
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