Coeur de Lion chases back-to-back Ascot Stakes glory

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June 15

The visor is back on for Coeur de Lion in Tuesday’s Ascot Stakes, the cheekpieces having been dispensed with as our veteran eight-year-old chases back-to-back successes in the two and a half mile handicap off a 3lb higher mark.

It seems unlikely that any rain will reach the Royal Heath for the opening day, which is a shame, but apprentice Thore Hammer-Hansen, who gave Coeur de Lion such a terrific ride 12 months ago, is looking forward to the big day, as is Alan.

Alan said:”Coeur de Lion ran a blinder in the Chester Cup, finishing fourth, and I had actually been hoping that he would get into the consolation race which he won by five lengths in 2019, so I was more than happy with his run.

“He finished with a rattle and would have got up for third in another couple of strides, but he also likes Ascot, and, besides winning last year, he only just missed a place in the race in both 2018 and 2019.”

Our other overnight declaration on day one is On To Victory, who has topweight in the Copper Horse Handicap, though he would also have preferred a drop of rain to arrive to ease the ground.

Alan said:”Like most of mine, On To Victory would prefer some juice in the ground, which would have been very welcome as he has been in good form over hurdles this winter and was also second to Hukum in a Listed race at Goodwood last month.”