06/18/2009 11:00PM

World speed packs Golden Jubilee

Email

Wesley Ward will be double-barreled on the fifth and final day of Royal Ascot on Saturday when he saddles Cannonball in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes and Honor in Peace in the listed Chesham Stakes.

The winner of two races at the Royal Meeting through Friday with Strike the Tiger and Jealous Again, Ward has seen all of his horses backed down to favoritism or near-favoritism since it became evident to British bettors that he had brought a group of in-form speedsters to Ascot.

In Cannonball he has a horse who closed well to finish sixth in Tuesday's five-furlong King's Stand Stakes. The extra furlong of the $738,000 Golden Jubilee should work to his advantage, but he will be facing one of the best international fields of sprinters ever assembled.

The favorite will be South African sprint champ J J the Jet Plane. Trained by Mike de Kock, J J the Jet Plane won the Group 3 Al Quoz Sprint on the Nad Al Sheba turf two back. In his British debut, he cruised to a four-length victory in a six-furlong listed race at Windsor, just a few miles up the road from Ascot. Kevin Shea has the ride.

From Hong Kong, Sacred Kingdom brings a snazzy two-race winning streak to England. The winner of the 2007 Hong Kong Sprint, he has won Sha Tin's Sprint Cup and Singapore's KrisFlyer International Sprint. With Brett Prebble aboard, he just may be a bit too quick for his 14 rivals.

Royal Ascot may be missing the undefeated Hungarian sprinter Overdose, who is injured, but in Ialysos it has an equally exotic and undefeated invader from Greece. A perfect 7 for 7 in his homeland, he made his British debut for Luca Cumani at Haydock on May 30, winning the aptly named Achilles Stakes, a five-furlong listed race, by a neck from Anglezarke, who was third in Tuesday's King's Stand.

From Australia comes the 10-year-old Takeover Target, the winner of the King's Stand in 2006 who has finished fourth, second, and third in the last three Golden Jubilees. Only eighth in the KrisFlyer, Takeover Target had won Group 1 sprints in his previous two starts Down Under.

The Michael Stoute-trained Kingsgate Native is the defending title holder, but he has not run since finishing third in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes in August. King's Apostle was second in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes last month, while the Godolphin-owned Diabolical has been third of late in the Dubai Golden Shaheen and the KrisFlyer.

The seven-furlong, $82,000 Chesham Stakes is restricted to 2-year-olds whose sires won going at least 1 1/4 miles. Honor in Peace qualifies because his sire, Peace Rules, won Belmont's Suburban Handicap in 2004. The five-length winner of a five-furlong Churchill Downs maiden race on May 13, Honor in Peace will be making his first start on turf in the Chesham, but has been bet down to 3-1 favoritism in the 17-runner field with John Velazquez riding him for the first time.

In the Group 2, $205,000 Hardwicke Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile affair for older horses, Doctor Fremantle, winner of Chester's 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Huxley Stakes, holds a narrow edge over Bronze Cannon, who won a slowly run three-horse Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at 1 1/2 miles last time, and Enroller, the winner of the 1 1/2-mile, Group 3 John Porter Stakes who prefers soft ground.

:: VIDEO: