What a brave and gutsy display from Big Orange to hold off Order Of St Geroge to win the Gold Cup from the front.
The Derby form took a boost with Benbatl ending up in the winners enclosure too but punters were left scratching their heads about any draw bias with the straight course seeing low draws getting the better of the high draws – the complete opposite of Wednesday.
A couple of near misses who seemed to be travelling well before finding little while Naughty Or Nice can be forgiven after his rider lost his irons turning for home.
Santry (8/1) was second in the opener beaten by O’Brien & Moore with Sioux Nation.
14:30 Albany Stakes
Some bookies go four places here!
A race for fillies over 6f starts us off on Day 4 of the Royal meeting and there is a couple of interesting angles to take coming into this race.
The first of which is to look at the sire. Scat Daddy has tremendous figures at Royal Ascot and they are 1416811311. He has three in this race, two of the trained by Wes Ward. Princess Peggy won here maiden at Belmont by over 5l but the dirt was sloppy and that was only a five-runner contest, so nothing like this big field. His other charge is Fairyland who won by over 3l at Keeneland on debut when spread-eagling the field in good style. We know the trainer is good with his juveniles and this filly should appreciate the extra trip here. She showed a good attitude in that debut effort when looking quite straightforward. There was a lot to like about her chances on that run, so on ground that should suit she gets the nod.
Alpha Centauri has done nothing wrong in two starts for Jessica Harrington and this imposing filly dotted up in Listed company by 5l showing she had plenty of talent. She could prove the best once more here after that effort and on that basis that makes Actress look a big price because she’s the one who has followed her home on both occasions. The filly by Declaration Of War is one of the more experienced in line-up and shouldn’t be far away on those efforts against Alpha Centauri.
David Redvers spoke before the meeting that Qatar’s Racing that Black Sails was their best chance for a winner. They’ve already had a couple and had one yesterday in Bless Him in the Britannia. This filly looked quite smart on debut at the Curragh when beating some useful types, including Another Batt who ran with credit in the Windsor Castle. Despite early greenness it was a professional performance having tracked the early lead before quickening – that race came out well on the clock that day, so is considered and worth an each-way play.
Clemmie is a full-sister to Churchill, who follows a similar path to her brother after having a solitary run before a Royal Ascot run. She should have more to offer from her debut when running very green. The tongue-tie is removed for this run and given Aidan O’Brien won this race last year you can’t discount his runners.
Black Sails (10/1)
15:05 King Edward VII Stakes
With the Derby form taking a boost yesterday then it might be worth taking that approach here despite the early markets have some interesting types at the top of the market.
Crystal Ocean is one of them for Sir Michael Stoute, who is having a quiet Royal Ascot meeting so far. This colt by Sea The Stars should relish the step up in trip and was staying on late when third in the Dante last time. He could still have more improving to come, so is a dangerous proposition considering has won two of the last four renewals of this race. The fact he comes here after skipping the Derby makes him a key player.
Permian beat Benbatl in the Dante and we know what the Godolphin charge did yesterday. Mark Johnston’s charge didn’t seem to handle Epsom for me, so the return to a flatter track is one that should see him in a better light. A draw in stall 11 isn’t actually too bad because he shouldn’t be getting trapped in up the rail unlike those from a low draw.
Sylvester Kirk’s Salouen is worth chancing here after having no luck whatsoever in the closing stages of the Derby. He clipped heels and stumbled about 3f from home and that knocked the stuffing out of him, which saw him retreat through the field. He seemed to be going alright at the time, so this test is likely to suit. With a more galloping track and a wide straight there are fewer hard luck stories therefore I happy to put a line through the unfortunate Derby passage. He had previously looked a horse of potential after two placed efforts in Group 1 races as a juvenile before starting this season in Listed company when second. Plenty to like, so worth another go.
A concern for each of the Godolphin runners – Best Solution looks to be better suited to slower ground while Best Of Days makes his seasonal bow here and Hugo Palmer’s generally come on for the run, so the latter may be best viewed in the paddock.
I’m a fan of Khalidi, who has been in my tracker for a while now. He ran fast fractions when winning the Listed race at Goodwood two starts back and just faded in the Derby finding that all too much. Unfortunately I think it’ll be a similar story for him here and stall 5 isn’t the ideal draw being trapped close to the rail. Oliver Peslier did ride a winner yesterday from a low draw, so hopefully he’ll be able to get this son of High Chaparral some daylight if finding his stride.
15:40 Commonwealth Cup
The unbeaten Caravaggio is likely to be a warm favourite here after devastating the field at Naas last time in a Group 3 when winning by nearly 5l. He scorches over the turf and is full of speed. Given that win came on his reappearance suggests he will be even better for this and of course he’ll be primed for action. The fact he’s done it on all types of ground shows his versatility and he’s out of Scat Daddy, who I mentioned in the first race preview, so it could be another winner for the sire. He’ll prove tough to beat.
But it is possibly especially with Harry Angel in the field. Godolphin acquired him after his 4l success in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes on firm ground, so this should be right up his street. Mubtasim was third and has run since that race and he was third in the Jersey Stakes, so it doesn’t look too bad. Clive Cox’s charge was able to dictate from the front there but did so by smashing the course record showing his true speed. The son of Dark Angle was behind Blue Point on his seasonal return in Group 3 company and can overturn that here with those runs under his belt.
Blue Point has one run this season and that saw him get the better of Harry Angel over course and distance showing he had trained on. He had some top form as a juvenile with his season ending in the Dewhurst when third behind Aidan O’Brien pair Churchill and Lancaster Bomber. He makes up the top trio of candidates.
At the prices I’m leaning towards Harry Angel because he could have more to offer.
Harry Angel (10/3)
16:20 Coronation Stakes
A mile on the round course where Guineas heroine Winter looks the one to beat and this in truth is a no bet race. She is the outstanding filly in the line-up after her emphatic wins at Newmarket and the Curragh. With Aidan O’Brien entering two others they should offer some pace for her to track before showing that splendid turn of foot she has.
Dabyah has done nothing wrong over 7f with her only defeat coming at this trip and with Hydrangea in the line-up then she won’t get her own way out in front, which leaves the question if she’ll see this trip out.
The American filly La Coronel is of interest with the manner of her wins the last twice. Her trainer Mark Casse won this race last year with Tepin and she is likely to appreciate the quick underfoot conditions given the way she quickened up to win from the rear at Keeneland two starts back. Florent Geroux sill try and wait with her for as long as possible but she can’t afford to let Winter get a run on her. She could be the one to back in the market without the favourite.
17:00 Queen’s Vase
Aidan O’Brien has a terrific record in this race and has won three of the last four renewals, so it is no surprise to see Belgravia at the top of the market. Should get the trip but was a disappointing favourite in Listed company at Navan last time when finishing fourth when attempting to make all the running. Blinkers replace the blinkers here and from stall seven the same tactics could be employed.
Time To Study showed a likeable attitude when holding on to the Edinburgh Cup at Musselburgh last time. That form was boosted when the second won yesterday plus the third has won since. That was in a handicap, so he’ll have to take a step forward into this company but the game he dug deep in the latter stages suggests we’ll see another bold bid.
One bred to stay and worth taking a chance on is Fierce Impact. Jamie Spencer and David Simcock have teamed up with success this week in this colours. This three year old is well-bred by Deep Impact, who was a high class stayer in Japan, so with his bloodlines we should see the stamina come to the fore. At Goodwood last time he was finishing fast but was never getting on terms with runaway winner Khalidi, who broke the course record. Given his sire you’d expect him to appreciate this extra trip plus the quicker ground, so there are ticks in the right boxes. Expect it to be a typical Spencer ride with him putting him out the back before coming with a late charge. With him being unexposed at the trip and suggesting he’ll stay then he does look a big price.
John Gosden has had his fair share of disappointments this week but Stradivarius could pick things up for the Newmarket handler. This beautifully bred son by Sea The Stars was a narrow second at Chester last time with that form taking shape as the third has won subsequently. These colours are linked with staying types and in recent times Mr Nielsen has owned Rembrandt Van Rijn and Almodovar, so it’s no surprise to see him tried at this trip and he is likely to stay. On bare form alone you’d think he’d need to step up because his Beverley win by 6l isn’t the strongest of formlines.
Haripour could be anything considering after three maiden runs without success he was tried in the Listed race won by Naughty Or Nice and founder himself 3l behind Belgravia that day. This Shamardal colt did get off the mark 20-days ago in emphatic style and looking to relish the trip – the fourth from that race has since won too. Six of the last ten winners had raced in the forty days of build up to Royal Ascot, so he fits that trend. He could still be improving and be anything after that success.
Fierce Impact (20/1)
17:35 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes
A wide-open handicap to conclude the card and you can back three or four and still not have the winner. Since the stalls numbers switched this is a race where the high draws have gone well winning the last six renewals and that’s where some of the main fancies come.
The placings are racking up for Mainstream and the fact he wears a hood makes you question his mentality in wanting to put his head in front, so with him at the front of the betting I’m happy to swerve. The form of his last run doesn’t look too bad though as the winner of that race, Frontiersman, was second to Highland Reel in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.
Appeared would be my main fancy of those at the top of the market after his course and distance win that showed he is a useful individual. The cheekpieces could eke a bit more out of him plus the high draw is a positive. However the 10lb rise in the weights would be the main concern. He also has form ties with Frontiersman. Stablemate Wadigor is unbeaten in three starts and has been quite stylish. He’s yet to experience the hustle and bustle of this sort of field though and should cope on the ground being by Champs Elysees. The unexposed nature of him means he could have more to offer.
Cape Cova has won over further in the past, so with a brisk pace expected it could play into his hands being a thorough stayer. He ran with credit when third at Newmarket over further and has only gone up 1lb for that effort, Stepping back in trip shouldn’t be a problem and he does look a big player despite his price.
I’m taking two at big prices here. The first of which is Star Storm for James Fanshawe. He was second in Listed company over course and distance last time, so back in a handicap off 103 plus George Wood’s claim of 3lb taking him down to 100 makes him look well treated on that form alone. His best form comes on good to firm ground with figures of 22132 when racing on it plus he’s a previous Group 3 winner. He’s one from two in Class 2 races and James Fanshawe’s runner have been going well of late.
Oasis Fantasy is another who could be well treated on his form last summer. He returned to form with his third at York on his seasonal reappearance and with that encouraging return to the track he isn’t without chances. Two of his three career wins have been over this trip, including one in this class. The son of Oasis Dream has been plying his trade in competitive handicaps last summer off a mark in the hundreds and that has slipped to 97 here. Seconds behind Barsanti at York and Fire Fighting at Goodwood over this trip and on this ground suggest there is a race in him. On the Racing Post ratings he is up there with the highest and is up there with a few past performances on the clock.
Oasis Fantasy (18/1)
Star Storm (25/1)
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