Wathnan Splash the Cash to Add to Royal Ascot Team

The blue body, gold arms and red cap of the Wathnan Racing silks proved to be a familiar sight at the biggest flat meetings last season. Backed by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Than and boasting Ascot Gold Cup winner Courage Mon Ami, Queen’s Vase champ Gregory, and Greenham Stakes hero Isaac Shelby in their ranks, Wathnan Racing emerged as one of the breakout ownership stories of 2023.

Not ones to rest on their laurels, Wathnan Racing seem intent on making an even bigger splash in 2024. With five winners on the board already this season at the time of writing, Wathnan has acted to bolster their team ahead of the upcoming Royal Ascot meeting with the addition of six exciting stars. With past results suggesting they know what they are doing when purchasing a racehorse, it would be no surprise to see the following six Wathan newcomers hit the headlines before the season is out.


  • Sire – Phoenix Of Spain
  • Trainer – Richard Hannon

The clear headline act amongst the purchases is Haatem. This year’s Craven Stakes winner finished an admirable third in the 2,000 Guineas before coming within a head of emulating his sire when second to stablemate Rosallion in the Irish 2,000. The St James’s Palace looks like the obvious Royal Ascot option, but he may drop in trip for the Jersey Stakes to avoid his Newmarket and Curragh conquerors.

Shadow Army

  • Sire – Showcasing
  • Trainer – Richard Fahey

This nicely bred juvenile did well to score on debut despite missing the break – showing good speed to make up the ground in a decent novice event at York. Royal Ascot was mentioned by connections in the aftermath of that victory, with the Windsor Castle or Norfolk Stakes the likely targets.


  • Sire – Invincible Spirit
  • Trainer – Archie Watson

Winning the Group 2 Railway Stakes as a juvenile, this speedy sort lost his way during his three-year-old campaign. However, a recent gelding operation and switch to the Archie Watson yard appears to have worked the oracle. Two from two this season – including in the Listed Spring Trophy Stakes over seven furlongs – he appears likely to drop back in trip for a shot at the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes.


  • Sire – Kingman
  • Trainer – John & Thady Gosden

On pedigree, this John & Thady Gosden inmate is the most impressive of the recent purchases. By Kingman and out of the Group 1 winning mare Montare, Torito hasn’t quite lived up to that billing but still has time on his side. Slightly unlucky when fourth in the 2023 Hampton Court Stakes, he made a rock-solid return when third in a hot Newmarket handicap. The Listed Wolferton Stakes on the opening day of the Royal Meeting may be his next assignment.


  • Sire – City Light
  • Trainer – Archie Watson

Three from three in his career to date, it’s easy to see why Wathnan’s eye was drawn to this son of multiple Group winner City Light. Whilst coping with the drop to the minimum trip last time out at Newcastle, he appears better suited to six furlongs – in keeping with his sire – and may be flying under the radar for the juvenile sprint events at the Royal Meeting.

Lope De Lilas

  • Sire – Lope De Vega
  • Trainer – Willie Mullins

Not content with sweeping all before him in the National Hunt sphere, it seems that Willie Mullins has his sights on landing an Irish Classic. The filly to carry the Irish Oaks hopes of the Closutton operation is this twice-raced daughter of Lope De Vega. Failing to land a blow on her sole start at two, she looked a much-improved specimen on her recent comeback at Leopardstown. Travelling smoothly into contention, she put the race to bed in a matter of strides – giving every impression that a step up to 1m4f may see her in an even better light.

Wathnan’s Other Royal Ascot Contenders

Now let’s take a look at the other possible contenders already at their disposal.

Rogue Lightning

  • Sire – Kodiac
  • Trainer – Tom Clover

Snapped up for a cool £1 million in October 2023, Rogue Lightning enjoyed a productive time last season, with three wins from six starts, including the Shergar Cup Dash and Scarborough Stakes. Rounding off his season with a storming effort to finish an unlucky in-running fifth in the Prix de l’Abbaye, expect to see him line up in the King Charles III Stakes.


  • Sire – Golden Horn
  • Trainer – John & Thady Gosden

A winner of the Queen’s Vase at last year’s meeting, this son of Derby winner Golden Horn appears set for a tilt at the big one this season, as he bids to follow in the hoofprints of Courage Mon Ami in the Ascot Gold Cup.

Dark Trooper

  • Sire – Dark Angel
  • Trainer – Alban De Mieulle

In addition to the Group class events, Wathnan has several live challengers in the handicaps. Included in that number is the former Ed Walker runner, Dark Trooper, who is now based at the Qatar yard of Alban De Mieulle. Boasting a record of two wins from three starts at Ascot, he holds an entry in the Wokingham Stakes on the closing day.


  • Sire – Siyouni
  • Trainer – Hamad Al-Jehani

Formerly based in France, Beshtani made the switch to the fledgling Newmarket operation of Hamad Al Jehani in May. Going down by just a nose on his yard debut, he appears to have acclimatised well. Only once finishing outside the first two in seven career starts, the Royal Hunt Cup looks set to represent his shot at Ascot glory.