Art Connoisseur Scintillating in Coventry Stakes
1st (1) Art Connoisseur 8-1
Art Connoisseur maintained his unbeaten record with a hugely impressive success in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Trained by Michael Bell and ridden by Spencer, the 8-1 chance was last throughout the early stages as the field rattled along at a very sound clip. He still had plenty to pass with two furlongs to run but found a devastating burst of speed once Spencer asked him to quicken.
Having hit the front, he galloped right the way to the line to see out the six furlongs very strongly - putting two and a quarter lengths between himself and runner-up Intense Focus, who had a nose in hand of third-placed Lord Shanakill.
Bell said: "He's a very smart horse. He was very impressive when he won at the Craven meeting and we took a view after that to wait for Ascot. The plan was to run in the Norfolk but to be fair to Jamie, the first time he sat on him he said he could win the Coventry."
Looking ahead to talk of Classics, the Newmarket trainer said: "He's got to prove he stays another furlong yet. He'll probably get an opportunity to run over seven furlongs which will guide us as to next year and the Guineas, but where he goes next I'm not quite sure."
"Things like the Prix Morny will be considered. That was a good performance."
Spencer added: "He's a decent colt and it was a bold shout from the boss not to run him between the Craven meeting and now.
"He's really matured and it wasn't that he was just ready to run early in the year, he was just so much better than the rest of them in the spring. I ended up getting in front probably sooner than was ideal but he's a professional - he'd already had two runs - and I knew he wasn't going to pull up."
Bolger said of runner-up Intense Focus: "It's quick enough ground for decent two-year-olds but he handled it well and is a real horse for the future. He should stay 10 furlongs, has a marvellous temperament and will probably go for the Railway Stakes next."
Lord Shanakill's trainer, Karl Burke, said: "I'm delighted and was confident he was in great form coming to the race. Just in the last two weeks he has been growing behind the saddle and you'll not see the best of him until he goes over a mile."
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