Peslier to ride Makfi in St James’s Palace

OLIVIER Peslier is set to pick up an incredible spare ride aboard Makfi in next week’s St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, with his usual jockey Christophe Lemaire retained for Siyouni.

Lemaire has an agreement with the Aga Khan, owner of the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Siyouni, who finished down the field when sent off the favourite for the French 2000 Guineas.

He has also been aboard Makfi on his two outings this season, firstly in the Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte, after which he partnered the colt to his famous success in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

“Christophe will be riding the Aga Khan’s horse so Olivier will ride Makfi,” said trainer Mikel Delzangles.

“He might come and sit on him before the race but everything is fine with the horse.”

Makfi is one of 15 possibles following the latest entry stage with the Richard Hannon pair of Dick Turpin and Canford Cliffs, second and third respectively in the Guineas, set to reoppose.

Canford Cliffs has since gone on to record a hugely impressive victory in the Irish 2000 Guineas, while Dick Turpin was a narrow second in the French equivalent.

Steinbeck looks the pick of five possible runners for Aidan O’Brien, with Ballydoyle stablemates Beethoven, Encompassing, Fencing Master, and Viscount Nelson also entered.

French raider Siyouni, Shakespearean, Hearts Of Fire and Arcano are other contenders.

* Paco Boy, Goldikova and Rip Van Winkle all feature among 12 entries for a mouthwatering renewal of the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

Richard Hannon’s Paco Boy is set to bid for a second successive win in the Group One contest and could hardly be in better form having annihilated his rivals in last month’s Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

Freddie Head’s wonder-mare Goldikova looked as good as ever on her recent reappearance, recording a remarkable eighth Group One victory in the Prix D’Ispahan at Longchamp.

Rip Van Winkle, trained by Aidan O’Brien, is another with top-level form having won the Sussex Stakes and the QEII last year, but he has been off the track since finishing down the field in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The Godolphin camp could be represented by Saeed bin Suroor’s Alexandros and the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Calming Influence.

Other interesting contenders includes Zacinto, Dalghar, Pipedreamer and Ouqba.

* Marco Botti’s stable star Gitano Hernando remains on course for the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown next month.

The four-year-old was a Grade One winner in America last year and finished an unlucky sixth when sent off favourite for the Dubai World Cup in March.

The chestnut colt has been off the track since but Botti is looking forward to seeing his charge tackle Group One company for the first time in Britain.

“He was a bit unlucky but we’ll never find out whether he would have won or not (in the World Cup),” the trainer told At The Races.

“Unfortunately it didn’t pan out as we wanted it to as he got stuck in a pocket and he couldn’t challenge when he wanted.

“Kieren Fallon moved him onto the rail and the gap never came so maybe he could have finished closer but it proved he is capable to run at that level.

“The Eclipse is our plan and the horse has been training well.

“He had a piece of work this morning and is still on target for Sandown.

“I hope Kieren will be available to ride again.”

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