06/16/2011 4:03PM

Royal Ascot: Delegator vulnerable in Golden Jubilee


Delegator is the best-known horse and possible favorite for the Group 1 Golden Jubilee on Saturday at Royal Ascot, but his credentials for the five-furlong dash hardly are impeccable. Delegator has been a miler for most of his career, and the change in course conditions late this week, from good-firm to good-soft, might not be to his advantage, either.

The Golden Jubilee is the featured race on closing day at Royal Ascot, and 17 horses were left in the race after the final declaration period on Thursday. The 5-year-old, Godolphin-owned Delegator, who finished fifth behind Goldikova in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita, started his career in seven-furlong races as a 2-year-old, and never had raced at a distance shorter than that until last month, when he won the Group 2 Duke of York Blue Square Stakes over six furlongs at York. In an apparently modest edition of the Golden Jubilee, that performance alone has thrust Delegator into the spotlight.

Star Witness, however, probably is at least as capable. An Australian horse, he raced on Tuesday at Royal Ascot, rallying well to finish second of 19 to Prohibit in the King’s Stand Stakes, another five-furlong race. Star Witness’s sprinting ability is better established than Delegator’s, and he may also be better suited to the more testing course conditions that could come about Saturday.

Bewitched steps significantly up in class in the Golden Jubilee, but does carry a three-race winning streak – all in sprints – into a race where many of the participants lack strong recent form.

Godolphin appears to have a stranglehold on the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes, also on Saturday, with three of the 10 runners in the 1 1/2-mile race. Calvados Blues finished a somewhat troubled third to Rewilding in his most recent start, the Sheema Classic at Meydan, and was very much flattered when Rewilding upset So You Think on Wednesday in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Campanologist, meanwhile, was runner-up to So You Think in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup last month at The Curragh. Lightly raced 4-year-old Passion for Gold came back from a year-and-a-half layoff this spring with two solid performances, most recently winning a listed race over 12 furlongs at Goodwood.