The first juvenile pattern race of the season produced a blanket finish, which was a bit disappointing, even though the winner broke the juvenile course record. Colts who take the Group 2 Coventry Stakes typically get immediate ante-post quotes for the following year’s 2000 Guineas - this one was chalked up at 20/1 - but Rajasinghe could be a high-class sprinter instead of a classic prospect.
A first winner at the Royal Ascot festival for trainer Richard Spencer, the late-March foal was bred by James and Geoff Mulcahy. He made €65,000 in Goffs as a foal, was sold-on for £85,000 in Doncaster as a yearling, and his only race before today was on the Tapeta surface at Newcastle a month ago, also over six furlongs.
He beat Indomeneo by four lengths that day, and that colt took the seven-furlong maiden at Wetherby yesterday, but four lengths covered the first nine home at Ascot. Headway, who is a first-crop son of Cheveley Park Stud stallion Lethal Force, was the runner-up, beaten by a head, with Murillo a neck back in third and listed scorer Brother Bear another neck behind in fourth.
Rajasinghe comes from the final Irish crop of international sprint star Choisir (by Danehill Dancer), the Coolmore horse whose Group/Grade 1-winning progeny include Obviously, Olympic Glory, Starspangledbanner, and The Last Lion.
He is the ninth foal out of Bunditten (by Soviet Star), who was third in the Listed National Stakes at Sandown as a juvenile, and his string of winning siblings includes Kurland (by Kheleyf). She earned her blacktype when third in the Listed Roses Stakes over five furlongs at York and she missed out on pattern placing when fourth to Acapulco in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes two months before.
Felicita (by Catrail), the grandam of Rajasinghe, was also a speedy juvenile, her three wins in France at that age included a pair of listed contests, and she was placed in the Group 3 Prix Eclipse. Her siblings include the stakes-placed Anemone Garden (by Dancing Dissident) and also Erreur (by Desert King), the one-time scorer whose progeny includes the six-furlong listed scorer Hillbilly Boy (by Haafhd), a prolific winner from six furlongs to a mile.
The next dam, Abergwrle (by Absalom), was unplaced in two starts, both at two, which was a disappointing for the daughter of a classic star. That was Caergwrle (by Crepello) who won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in 1968.
That chestnut produced only four winners from 11 foals, including the stakes-placed prolific winner St Ninian (by Ardross) and Group 3 Molecomb Stakes runner-up Claerwen (by Habat), and the latter did her part by becoming the dam of the speedy but tragically ill-fated Grade 2-placed dual US Grade 3 scorer Bravely Bold (by Danzig).
Caergwrle was also the dam of Cricceith (by Brigadier Gerard), who was placed once as a four-year-old from just a handful of starts, and what makes that filly significant is that she became the dam of the Group 1-placed dual Group 2 winner Batavian (by Straussbrook) and the grandam of listed race winner and Group 1 Auckland Cup third Castle Heights (by Golan), both of which were born in New Zealand.
Rajasinghe is the son of a top-class sprinter who stayed a mile and he is the great-great-grandson of a 1000 Guineas heroine, but the trend in the most recent generations of his family is for sprinting speed and it is that which suggests he may be more of a Commonwealth Cup, Prix Maurice de Gheest and/or Prix de la Foret candidate than a potential Guineas contender in 2018.