Excelebration a likely Royal Ascot contender

Italian-born Newmarket handler Marco Botti has been mapping out a possible campaign for his exciting prospect Excelebration after the three-year-old proved the only horse to get within striking distance of the imperious odds-on Qipco 2000 Guineas favourite Frankel in last weekend’s Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury, writes Elliot Slater.

Going into the seven-furlong contest Botti had held reservations that the Exceed and Excel colt could eventually stay a mile, but in finishing a four-length runner-up to Frankel with some useful performers strung out well behind, you would have to draw the conclusion that without Cecil’s star in the race Excelebration would have beaten the rest by six lengths and more and himself been hailed a potential champion.

A winner of two of his three starts last term over six furlongs last term, Excelebration could next bid for the German 2000 Guineas at Cologne on May 22, after which Botti is seriously considering a visit to Royal Ascot in mid-June where the seven furlong Jersey Stakes or the one mile St James’s Palace Stakes could be on the agenda. Those following the Royal Ascot betting should keep an eye on his progress.

Saturday’s pilot Adam Kirby is convinced that Excelebration will see out the mile race well, but mindful of the testing nature of the Rowley Mile at Newmarket Botti has confirmed that his charge was never a contender for that event and also is not going to be taking his chance in the French equivalent.

A half-brother to the decent mile handicapper Mull of Kinlough (by Mull of Kintyre), Excelebration ran at Newbury having officially carried a BHA rating of just 89. Having been beaten just four-lengths by a horse who could turn out to be a superstar and was rated 37lbs his superior, there is no doubt that Botti’s new stable star has a very bright future ahead of him.

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