Expect a regal win
Anthony Nunes' ROYAL ASSAULT gets a sitter in his first crack at overnight allowance tomorrow, stepping up in class at 1000 metres round, facing eight rivals who are either too slow or race-rusty to test the speedy colt.
A four-length winner against non-winners-of four on December 19, ROYAL ASSAULT clocked 1:05.3 for 1100 metres on a fast strip, finally leaving the class after tough losses against TARANIS, SILVER CLOUD and LONG RUNNING TRAIN - all improved horses.
Since retreating to sprinting after an eighth-place finish in the 2000 Guineas last April, ROYAL ASSAULT has only been led by one horse in seven races, back-to-back losses against frighteningly fast BUZZ NIGHTMARE.
Deadly when allowed to set the pace, ROYAL ASSAULT reports at a handy 53.0 kilos, six pounds lighter than the 56.0 he carried on last.
Though up in class, the reduction in journey and weight should allow Shane Ellis to put the colt in front and call school early down the backstretch.
At least three of ROYAL ASSAULT's rivals are reporting off three-month lay-ups, needing another run or two under their girths to catch Nunes' speedster. ZACKONTHEATTACK hasn't raced since June, whereas none of the trio - SUPERIOR QUALITY, RIO COBRE or MOM'S STUDENT - has competed since October 17.
Looking at the absentees' exercise reports, MOM'S STUDENT could be considered best prepared for a return. Similar to ROYAL ASSAULT, the Oaks winner has been pointed to sprints since conspicuously missing the Derby and St Leger.
MOM'S STUDENT has had two three-month breaks in seven months, a clear indicator that, though active at exercise, she has been having her problems, and will be hard pressed against ROYAL ASSAULT who has not missed an opportunity to race, making his eighth appearance since last August.
ROYAL ASSAULT's two fittest rivals are BORDER LINE and RED FLAG.