Yesterday belonged to Highland Reel as he added a sixth Group 1 to his resume with three of them in different countries. He’s a horse that is hard not to appreciate!
Heartache backed up her maiden win by shocking Happy Like A Fool in the Queen Mary Stakes and that race saw us get a 16/1 place with Out Of The Flames.
Another place was Tabarrak in the Royal Hunt Cup. Put up at 25/1 and he was the gamble of the race going off at 10/1. Most bookies paid fifth so we collected.
There was a bias yesterday to high draws on the near stands side rail on the straight course, so that is something to keep in mind with today’s bets.
14:30 Norfolk Stakes
Some bookies going four places in this race!
A two year old race over the five furlongs that will see plenty of speed especially with Wesley Ward having the favourite McErin. The vibes have been strong about this son of Trappe Shot and he showed pure speed on debut but was beaten at Churchill Downs last time when coming through the field for third. On debut he was straight out of the stalls, not seeing another rival and you’d expect the same tactics here with him to break well then go from the front. He doesn’t have the worst of draws in stall ten.
15 of the last 23 winners had perfect records and Santry has that profile. He won on debut before carrying a penalty to success at York when staying on strongly, so there was enough to suggest he’d get further. The manner of performance that day was striking and the form has been franked with It Don’t Come Easy and Consequences both scoring since. That success came on soft ground but he’s out of Harbour Watch, who was a versatile horse winning on all types of ground, so this juvenile should act on it. If he was trained by a more fashionable trainer he’d probably be shorter and with more improvement to come he can give Declan Carroll his first Royal Ascot winner.
Joseph O’Brien’s runners have gone quietly unnoticed but they’ve ran well in defeat. True Blue Moon is two from two after winning a Listed race at Naas last time but the strength of that contest doesn’t look the best. That said the grey is a sort that can keep improving. Havana Grey offers a pace angle after making all at Sandown in the National Stakes – that form was boosted by Sound And Silence on Tuesday here, so he enters the equation.
The one at a price you can’t discount is Koditime for Clive Cox, who has already tasted success here. This son of Kodiac won on debut at Doncaster but only could manage third at Newbury last time. A combination of soft ground and the six furlongs didn’t seem to suit that day, so the return to today’s conditions should see him in a much better light. Back down in trip on quick ground and from a high draw in stall 18 means there is a lot to like about his chances.
15:05 Hampton Court Stakes
Some bookies going four places in this race!
Formerly known as the Tercentenary Stakes and won by Godolphin’s Hawksbill last year. This time around the ‘boys in blue’ have another strong hand. Benbatl finished fifth in the Derby when making late headway before being snatched up in the closing yards. He has strong claims on form after placing in Group 2 and Group 3 contests in the past plus he looked a potentially useful horse when when his maiden by 7l. Back down in trip makes him a big player but I prefer another of their charges.
That is in the shape of Bay Of Poets who has some useful form this season and can make his presence felt. He started the season finishing third behind Cracksman and followed that up chasing home Cliffs Of Moher in the Listed Dee Stakes at York - we’ve seen both of them place in the Derby since, so he’s been beaten by some useful types. He was a creditable seventh in the Prix du Jockey Club last time and has since being gelded because he can be quite precocious. William Buick has rode him throughout his career, so knows how to get the best out of him. The better ground here should suit and if now more relaxed in his races then he’s a big player in this.
Tamleek was fourth in the Chester Cup and can’t be discounted back down in trip. He’s a lightly raced type, so could have more improvement to come and the same sentiments can be said about Mirage Dancer who was fourth on his return behind Cliffs Of Moher and Bay Of Poets. Sir Michael Stoute’s generally come on for the run plus he has a good record in this race with two winners in the last eight years.
Irishcorrespondent is a well-bred type related to winners over 1m4f, so this step up in trip is likely to suit and his third in the Irish 2000 Guineas gives him a chance and he seems the best of the Irish challenge.
Bay Of Poets (11/1)
15:40 Ribblesdale Stakes
Irish trainers have a good record in this race winning five of the last six renewals with Aidan O’Brien saddling two winners in the last three years.
Oaks third Alluringly is his representative here and on that form she sets the standard dropping in class. She looks to be able to hold Coronet on that form and the ground is likely to suit her better than Gosden’s grey filly. With no Enable in the line-up then Alluringly could get her head back in front after two good efforts since her Maiden win.
Mori is the improving type and one that could offer more here now up in trip. She’s showed her class in a course maiden before winning a Listed race at Goodwood in ready fashion ahead of Coconut Crème. She has the profile to suggest she’ll be better for this trip but it’s a race that offers no early pace. At Goodwood in the smaller field she was always in the front two, so that race played into her hands but that might not be the case here.
John Oxx’s Naughty Or Nice gets my tentative vote here after her win over a furlong further than this at Navan last time in Listed company when beating the colts. The second and fifth of that contest have won since giving it some substance and with the blinkers on for the first time they’ll sharpen her up to keep her up to her work in the closing stages. At Navan she did try to wander, so the headgear is should concentrate her in the heat of battle and the attitude she put her head down on the line to hold off Grandee. This daughter of Fastnet Rock travelled well through that race and if Declan McDonogh puts her in a prominent position then her rivals could find her difficult to pass.
Naughty Or Nice (8/1)
16:20 Gold Cup
Order Of St George is going to be a warm order after his 3l success in this race last year and he followed that up by finishing third in the Arc in October from a wide draw. If running to either of those runs then he holds all the aces but he takes a big chunk out of the market meaning some useful sorts are quite big prices.
The likeable Big Orange will try and dictate from the front but this isn’t usually a track that suits front-runners as they get swallowed up late on. He was too good for his rivals at Sandown when he was allowed to make all at a track that suits that style. Simple Verse won the St Leger in 2015 and then won the Park Hill at the same track 12-months later. She is one that should get the extra distance and the quick ground shouldn’t be an issue. There are ticks in the right boxes, so she was on the shortlist with her weight allowance.
But I’m with last year’s third Sheikhzayedroad who has shown he’s still in good heart at the age of eight after winning at this course in the Long Distance Cup back in October. He’s the sort that tends to be ridden quietly before coming late and fast. For me he’s shaped in the past that he’d get the extra trip and he’s lightly tried in between races. Last year he was hampered three furlongs out and then was hanging in the straight. If getting a clear run then this classy type has to be respected.
Trip To Paris won this in 2015 but hasn’t been the same since injury but if recapturing his best he could bounce back. While last year’s St Leger winner Harbour Law can’t run as badly as he did on his seasonal return when plumb last.
17:00 Britannia Stakes
Some bookies going six placed here!
This mile contest for three year olds could follow yesterday’s Royal Hunt Cup in being those drawn high will benefit from the ground.
If better drawn then Senator would be of interest after quite a bit went wrong at York on his return to the track but he overcame it to run on for fifth behind Battered, who is rated 97. However drawn in stall six would have to be the concern for Richard Fahey’s son of Frankel.
The draw isn’t ideal for Maths Prize but I’m going to chance him given some of the form he showed as a juvenile last year. He continued to progress through the last campaign and that saw him finish third behind the smart Khalidi, who has already won two Listed races this season. After being given a tough assignment on his return to the track at Newbury he should strip fitter and he didn’t seem to see that longer trip out, so the return to a mile should suit, as should the quick ground being a son of Royal Applause.
Rusumaat could do like Zhui Feng yesterday and make all. He’s well drawn to attempt those tactics and is tested on firm ground after his 2l success at Haydock last time. The handicapper has put him up 8lb, so he may find the task of carrying top weight difficult. Indian Dandy was second to him that day and he re-opposes. Marco Botti’s charge won well two starts back and was probably value for more. I think he’s got a decent chance of reversing form in this and a strongly contested mile should suit. The worry is that in his career this far he hasn’t encountered a field bigger than 11-runners.
Executive Force has form times with Khafoo Shememi two starts back and that horse has since won a Listed race. William Haggas’ charge did struggle over further than this last time, so dropping in trip is a positive. The ground may not suit being from Sepoy but on his dams side there is some proof he’ll act on it. Hyde Park tries the mile for the first time and he’s bred for the job at hand. He was gelded before getting off the mark at Doncaster when doing it in good style and he made a satisfactory handicap debut finishing under a length behind two useful types at Goodwood last time. He may not have handled the track either that day, so this galloping straight mile is likely to suit him down to the ground and we could see him in a much better light having that race under his belt.
Richard Spencer had his first Royal Ascot winner the other day and his Keyser Soze holds big claims here after his two wins this season. He was a clear-cut winner in a maiden then on handicap debut on the all-weather at Kempton gives him a clear chance. He ran in some big field races as a juvenile, so that shouldn’t be a problem for this son of Arcano ahead of this cavalry charge.
Maths Prize (22/1)
Hyde Park (25/1)
17:35 King George V Stakes
This isn’t a race where I have a strong opinion in truth. Master Singer could be anything after his wide margin win at Newcastle last time. That wasn’t the strongest of races, so we are still in the dark about him. John Gosden has put the cheekpieces on him here to keep him concentrated on the task. He is bred to say this trip and did hold a Group 2 entry before deciding to take this route. This colt by Giant’s Causeway is an interesting player.
Tartini needs to learn to settle better, especially if wanting to see out this trip. He’s shaped nicely in the Listed Derby Trail at Lingfield when third and arguably didn’t handle the track at Epsom last time.
Atty Persse may find himself covering plenty of ground from stall 22 on the round course and that would be a slight concern. He has excellent form claims and lightly raced horses tend to go well in this. He’s a relaxed sort on the racecourse and if doing that here should cope with the step up in trip.
Utah is one that is interesting at this level. This son of Galileo has struggled in group company the last twice and might be worth chancing now stepping up to a mile and a half. Everything in his pedigree says this should be right up his street and his performances to the eye have hinted the same. His maiden win came on fast ground at the Curragh, so that should suit and with trainer Aidan O’Brien expressing a confidence in his stamina he is one to take at a big price.
Mister Manduro ran over further at Musselburgh last time and the drop back in trip makes him a threat. He ran through the line strongly after staying on in that contest. He’s one of a number of Mark Johnston runners here who can go forward, so expect this to be ran at a good gallop meaning a horse with plenty of stamina will be required to win
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