Two-year-olds to follow including Alfred Munnings and The Antarctic

Pedigrees expert Laura Joy picks out several juveniles who appear to have a lot to recommend them heading into Royal Ascot.

Bradsell – Coventry Stakes

Bradsell is a son of first crop sire Tasleet who is off to a flyer in his stud career. With four winners on the board, he didn’t hang around with dual winner Carmela winning impressively at Yarmouth, his first runner in the UK.

This colt is one of a bunch of intended runners at Royal Ascot including 200,000gns Breeze Up purchase Omniqueen (Queen Mary Stakes), but is arguably his sire’s best chance of a winner.

He is a perfect one from one and in taking style too having scorched up the Knavesmire by nine lengths on debut (replay below).

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York was a happy hunting ground for Tasleet. He won twice there including the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes, but he had solid Ascot form finishing second in a pair of Group Ones from three attempts.

Bradsell’s back pedigree might be light, but his dam Russian Punch (Archipenko) was a Listed winning two-year-old.

It will pay a huge compliment to Shadwell Stud’s young sire should Bradsell provide Tasleet with a first crop Royal Ascot winner.

Meditate – Albany Stakes

No Nay Never has the weight of expectation on his shoulders as his first six-figure-bred crop hit the track this year. The rapid start Aidan O’Brien has simultaneously made with his juveniles is no coincidence.

Meditate is already a Group 3 winner this season (watch replay in full below), unbeaten in two starts to date and has Friday’s Albany Stakes in her sights.

She is third foal out of the winning sprinter Pembina by Dalakhani and by far the best. Pembina’s first two foals are by Galileo but it is with No Nay Never who she has clicked. Pembina is out of the Danehill mare Mahalia who was born in 1993.

Despite her age, to her credit this family remains remarkably active. Only last week, Purplepay turned her small black type into a commanding Group 2 success at Chantilly on Prix du Jockey Club day.

Mahalia is also responsible for the moderate race mare but exceptional producer Tonnara. Tonnara has bred five winners from seven foals including multiple Group 1 winner Ectot as well as Royal Ascot winner Most Improved, who won the St James’ Palace Stakes ten years ago.

Meditate has resumed order in Pembina’s branch of this blossoming family. Her sire’s blistering start to 2022 is showing no signs of slowing down, and there’s no reason to believe Meditate will be the exception.

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Love Reigns – Queen Mary Stakes

Love Reigns is an Irish-bred, US-trained daughter of Irish first crop sire US Navy Flag.

A young sire from one of the best families in the studbook, he’s out of Moyglare winner Misty For Me and a full-brother to multiple Group 1 winner Roly Poly.

Further back in the page is unbeaten champion two-year-old and Coventry Stakes winner Fasliyev. US Navy Flag was down the field at Royal Ascot, but made up for it in achieving a rare juvenile Group 1 double in the Middle Park and Dewhurst Stakes.

Bred in County Offaly by Killourney Mor Farm, Love Reigns was a €160,000 Goffs Orby yearling purchase by Ben McElroy for Stonestreet Stables. Her dam Humble And Proud was a private purchase after suffering an injury in training as a two-year-old.

It didn’t take long for Love Reign’s breeders to realise they had something special. By Pivotal, her first foal Glorious Empire (Holy Roman Emperor) won the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Stakes at Saratoga. That contest is run over a mile and a half, and the black type earners on the page are predominantly beyond a mile.

This filly showed she doesn’t lack pace when bolting up over 5.5f by nearly ten lengths at Keeneland on debut. There’s no doubt she’s inherited plenty of her sire’s July Cup-winning speed, but the stamina on her dam’s side won’t go astray when she takes on the stiff finish Ascot is renowned for.

Wherever she goes, this filly should be kept on side.

Alfred Munnings – Chesham Stakes

Alfred Munnings arrived on the scene with a scintillating debut win at Leopardstown. Sent off the odds-on favourite, the vibes were positive and he did not disappoint.

He is the third foal and third winner out of Galileo mare Best In The World. A Group 3 winner in her own right, she is better known as the dam of triple Oaks winner Snowfall who sadly passed away over the winter.

A win in the targeted Chesham Stakes for this colt won’t account for her loss but it wouldn’t go amiss.

Further back in this colt’s deep, classy family is his second dam, dual Group 1 winner Red Evie, a Royal Ascot scorer herself in the Listed Sandringham Handicap for Michael Bell. She went on to produce triple Group 1 winner Found (Galileo) who earned over £5 million in prize money and is of course a full sister to Alfred Munnings’ dam.

Much has been mentioned about the success in crossing Dubawi with Galileo mares, a cross that should prosper given how successful both sires are in their own right. This is a mating we’ll be seeing plenty more of and a win for Alfred Munnings would signify the beginning of an exciting era with Dubawi now being given access to such high quality Galileo mares.

The Antarctic – Norfolk Stakes

It would be remiss to select five intriguing juveniles and omit the full brother to record breaking sprinter Battaash.

Unbeaten in two starts to date, The Antarctic arrives with a lofty reputation and the biggest shoes of all to fill. There is little doubt that Battaash’s feisty temperament played a leading role in his comprehensive defeat at Royal Ascot, as well as his gelding operation which followed shortly after.

His race record is hard to fault, he won a remarkable four King George Stakes at Goodwood and broke a 29-year-track record at York when winning the first of his two Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes.

Whilst the pair’s dam Anna Law showed nothing on the track, she comes from a rapid family that includes exciting first crop sire Tasleet, sire of aforementioned Bradsell.

The only question mark over this colt is whether he will emulate his brother in struggling to see out the stiff finish at Ascot. It wasn’t until Battaash’s third attempt (and Blue Point’s retirement) that he managed to win at the Royal meeting.

Both of The Antartic’s wins have come over 5f and although it might be the only chink in this colt’s armour, it’s one he absolutely must overcome to win.

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