By James Toney
Charlie Appleby isn't even trying to manage expectations as his latest Classic winner aims for a rare double at Royal Ascot.
Coroebus was a class winner of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, lowering the colours of Godolphin stablemate and favourite Native Trail in eye-catching style.
Some have cast doubts on the quality of a race that often frames the season that follows, but Appleby is in no doubt about the class of his charge, who will look to become only the 16th horse to win the Newmarket showpiece and £500,000 St James’s Palace Stakes, a feat previously achieved by legends like Frankel and Brigadier Gerard.
You'll find both their statues here at Ascot and while rising star Coroebus is far from their lofty league, Appleby is rock-solid in his belief that he’s the real deal ahead of the Qipco British Champions Series race.
“He’ll be the horse they’ve all got to beat,” he said.
“Royal Ascot is our Olympics and Coroebus is our star horse on day one. It was always the plan to come straight to the St James’s Palace after the Guineas and his work has been more than pleasing
“The Guineas form has been franked by Native Trail winning the Irish Guineas well. It’s rock solid form and it looks as if it was another good Guineas this year. There’s no getting away from it - he’s a horse everyone is excited to see on the first day.
“I think the round mile at Ascot should suit him too.”
Appleby's top jockey William Buick choose wrongly at the Guineas, taking the ride on Native Trail and watching James Doyle storm clear. It's a mistake he clearly learned from as he seeks his 29th winner at the meeting - a figure that leaves him only behind Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore in the overall top jockey standings.
On paper Coroebus's principal dangers are two lightly-raced colts from the William Haggas stable, My Prospero and Maljoom, ridden by Tom Marquand and Cieren Fallon respectively.
“They are two improving young three-year-olds and it’s a very prestigious race, so they are entitled to have a shot,” revealed Haggas.
“They’ve got a lot to find to beat Coroebus, but they are going the right way. They are different. Maljoom would be the faster of the pair, but My Prospero will stay well.”
John Gosden, who has won the St James’s Palace with strong fancies Kingman, Without Parole and Palace Pier, saddles a less obvious candidate in Mighty Ulysses, who races for Derby winning owner Saeed Suhail and put up his best performance when just touched off in a hot handicap at Haydock.
Angel Bleu, a dual Group 1 winner in France last year, was aimed at the Irish 2000 Guineas rather than Newmarket but missed that race as Ralph Beckett’s team weren’t really firing - and the rattling fast ground won't help.
Sheila Lavery will look for first Royal Ascot winner with the pick of the Irish horses, New Energy finishing just behind Native Trail in the Irish 2000 Guineas last month at the Curragh.