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CORONATION CUP | EPSOM DERBY FESTIVAL: Al Aasy heads betting for Group 1 contest

The declarations for the 2021 Coronation Cup have been made ahead of this Friday’s opening day of the Derby Festival

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2C2XW3A Al Aasy ridden by Dane O'Neill wins the Betway Novice Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse.

Al Aasy will stake his claim as a force to be reckoned with in Group 1 company this Friday with William Haggas’s colt heading the betting for the Coral Coronation Cup.

WATCH: GHAIYYATH DOMINATES FROM THE FRONT IN THE 2020 CORONATION CUP AT NEWMARKET UNDER WILLIAM BUICK [CREDIT: RACING TV]
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The first Group 1 of the fixture, which was rescheduled to Newmarket’s Guineas Festival last season due to the coronavirus pandemic, returns to the Downs for the 2021 renewal of the Derby Festival with the Sea The Stars son currently odds-on to win a first top-flight contest.

WATCH: CORONATION CUP FAVOURITE AL AASY WON IN A CANTER AT NEWBURY LAST TIME OUT [CREDIT: RACING TV]

2019 Derby bronze medalist Japan is also set to feature, alongside Ballydoyle stable-mate Mogul with Aidan O’Brien represented by just a duo in the £330,000 race.

WATCH: JAPAN FINISHED THIRD IN THE 2019 DERBY AND BIDS TO GET TWO PLACES BETTER IN THE CORONATION CUP THIS FRIDAY [CREDIT: RACING TV]

Duel Group 2 victor Pyledriver shed the cobwebs on the Rowley Mile and should strip fitter for that here, with owner Miss K Rausing holding a couple of potential ace cards in the form of Albaflora and Alpinista for Ralph Beckett and Sir Mark Prescott, repsectively.

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A view of the finish post at Epsom Racecourse with the running rail stretching into the distance. Image shot 1991. Exact date unknown.
The Coronation Cup is the first of three Group 1’s at the Epsom Derby Festival

Paul Cole’s Highland Chief, who won at Royal Ascot last season, completes the line up.

Aidan O'Brien Trainer
Aidan O’Brien is the leading trainer in the history of the Coronation Cup

Talking about the favourite earlier this campaign, Haggas told Racing TV: “He needs racing, that horse, he didn’t race much last year.

Home of the Oaks, The Grandstand Complex at Epsom Downs Racecourse Surrey England
4,000 racegoers will be welcomed to Epsom Downs on each day of the Derby Festival

“I don’t like carrying penalties in stakes races, but this race is a good fit – I don’t want to go further up in trip for the Yorkshire Cup and I think the Coronation Cup is the right race.

William Haggas
William Haggas has won both the Oaks and Derby but chases a first Coronation Cup success this weekend

“He’s very powerful and everything is easy for him – we’ll see how good he is soon enough but at the moment he’s an impressive horse.”

There will be a tinge of disappointment that last year’s Oaks heroine Love will bypass a clash in Surrey in favour of Royal Ascot later this month.

Speaking to Sky Sports about his yard’s chances in the Coronation Cup, O’Brien said: “We’re very happy with Japan. We started him short last year and we think maybe it was too much pressure on him too early and his season kind of fell to bits after that.

Horse Racing - Derby Festival - Epsom Downs Racecourse, Epsom, Britain - July 4, 2020 Love ridden by Ryan Moore wins the Investec Oaks, as racing resumed behind closed doors after the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) David Davies/Pool via
Love will not return to the scene of her greatest triumph for the Coronation Cup on Friday

“Everything is good with Love. She’s wintered well and has been ready to run for a while now.

“There were some Group Threes at the Curragh and places like that we would have liked to start her off in, but the ground was bad so we didn’t, which is why Broome filled those slots in.

D8G2CH Ascot Racecourse stand, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom.
Royal Ascot kickstarts just 11 days after the beginning of the Derby Festival

“She’s ready to go. We could have ended up in the Coronation if we’d had a run, but we didn’t, so we’re thinking about Ascot with her for the Prince of Wales’s.

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.

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