The fifth and final day of Royal Ascot and we’ve seen some top quality performances.
Yesterday belonged to Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore as they teamed up with Winter adding to her Guineas tally in fine style in the Coronation Stakes.
But before that we saw a tear-up on the 6f course with Caravaggio coming late and fast to beat Godolphin pair Harry Angel and Blue Point, which adds even more to his stud value.
Permian proved he has an iron constitution by making by winning the King Edward VIII on his sixth start this season. Khalidi came late and fast but never was able to get on terms – he’s one to continue to follow on a flat galloping track.
Harry Angel was more a win price but came second while Star Storm, put up a 25/1 last night was backed in to 14/1 before he finished third in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes.
We go onto the final day where we have the typically tricky Wokingham, which comes after the top class older sprinters in the Diamond Jubilee.
14:30 Chesham Stakes
A 7f contest for the two year olds and September will be a warm order to get favourite backers off to a good start for Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien. The daughter of Deep Impact won readily on debut at Leopardstown when not really being challenged. She was soon on terms with the leaders before stretching clear showing her clear ability. Moore and O’Brien won this last year with Churchill and this juvenile could be equally as smart. She’s has a low draw on the far side but that’s where the pace is, so that could play into her hands.
Masar got up on the line to win on debut at Goodwood and the extra furlong facing him is very likely to suit being by New Approach. He didn’t break from the stalls too well but that’ll come with experience and in the closing stages he quickened nicely to get off the mark. He is definitely of interest on the back of that victory given the turn of foot he showed in the later part of his pace plus he’s drawn low with the pace.
Hey Gaman will have learnt plenty on debut at Leicester when Westerland got the better of him. The latter had race experience under his belt after finishing second on his first start at Newbury behind Nebo, who was ninth in the Coventry Stakes the other day. John Gosden’s son of Frankel is likely to improve for the step-up in trip but is yet to encounter quick ground. Westerland looks to be on the wrong side of the draw in terms of pace, so that could catch him out and similar sentiments are echoed for Hey Gaman.
Godolphin’s second choice Gold Town has been unlucky the last twice since winning on debut. At Newbury back in April he quickened nicely to get off the mark then he went to Newcastle and was beaten by Rajasinghe, who won the Coventry Stakes, so that form doesn’t look bad while at the Curragh last time the ground would have been against him. He’s a son of Street Cry so stepping up in trip should see him in a better light. With experience under his belt and drawn close to the pace he is one that could trouble the judge.
Gold Town (22/1)
15:05 Wolferton Handicap
Four of the last five winners of this race have come from low draws, so that is something to consider while Sir Michael Stoute has accounted for five of the losing favourites in the 14 renewals of this race and that doesn’t make good reading for Khairaat backers.
Stoute’s four year old was able to make all at Chester last time when looking a particularly well-treated type. He did look the ‘group horse in a handicap’ that day and this imposing type is likely to be another warm favourite. He’s very progressive and whether the 13lb rise for that Chester success if fair we’ll find out because that race lacked depth, so the handicapper may have reacted off the vibes.
Tumbaga is a pacesetter here and that is for Kidmenever who hasn’t raced for 121-days. His last two efforts came over at Meydan putting in creditable efforts on both occasions, especially his latest when second to Viren’s Army. In that race he staying on well but the bird had flown, so William Buick has to judge this ride correctly. Drawn in stall ten, not far from his pacesetter, will help so he shouldn’t be getting boxed in. This is Kidmenever’s first run on British soil but he holds some smart form in France over this trip, especially finishing behind Cloth Of Stars and Robin Of Navan in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe, so he’s not discounted.
Pacify was down the field in this race last year and has only had one run since that. That came in a Newmarket handicap in April over a mile, so that looks to have been a race to get him fit with this in mind. His mark is down to 100 and last summer saw him go close off a mark of 99 at York and at Epsom off 95, so with a workable mark is one that should give his running. He’s draw in stall nine close to the pace and being by Paco Boy should enjoy quick ground.
William Muir’s yard are in decent form of late and Restorer could be one at a huge price considering he’s been running to a good standard in Listed races over further than this. He’ll stay and if these go too quickly then he could be one to pick them off late on. Looking back through his form shows a win at this level of racing off a mark of 100 at Newmarket. The ground was soft that day but he has handled the quicker going the last twice, so off this mark is one to consider. Elbreth is another after running well in better races than this including the Coronation Cup last time out. He’s won at this level on quick ground in the past and is generally a underrated horse for Andrew Balding. The draw may be against him though.
15:40 Hardwicke Stakes
Sir Michael Stoute has enjoyed plenty of success in this race in the past and has won five of the last seven renewals with Dartmouth claiming the honours last year.
The royal runner holds exceptional claims after his win 12 months ago and after his return win over further than this in the Yorkshire Cup. He’ll have been primed for this and could write Sir Michael Stoute into the record books in becoming Royal Ascot’s top trainer. There shouldn’t be any problems on the ground having run well at Woodbine on firm ground plus she has won on good to firm in previous seasons. This son of Dubawi is likely to be a well-backed horse and it would be a welcomed winner for the Queen.
Idaho made a nice return to the track in the Coronation Cup and has solid claims after placing in last year’s Derby and Irish Derby. He does have work to do to reverse the form of that Woodbine race with Dartmouth when 2l behind the Stoute charge. He’ll have improved for that run and if in the same form as last year then should be thereabouts.
Dal Harraild may not have finished improving just yet and William Haggas’ inmate stays further than this. There doesn’t look to be an obvious pace angle in the race and he can go forward, so with bags of stamina after his win in the Listed Grand Cup Stakes at York then this powerful staying type is worth having on side. This is a step up in class for him but he has continued to progress and has that quality about him. A gutsy type, who’ll relish the ground and has plenty of stamina makes him look a solid proposition here.
Dal Harraild (14/1)
16:20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes
Last year’s Commonwealth Cup second Limato looks the way to play this race now he’s back to his optimum trip on ground that will suit. He was in midfield in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan but the rain came at the wrong time for him but since then owner Paul Jacobs has decided to change the jockey, so instead of Harry Bentley it’ll be Ryan Moore aboard. Henry Candy trained the winner of this last year with Twilight Son and this classy son of Tagula sets the standard, so is hard to get away from.
The Tin Man will come on a lot for his return at York in the Group 2 Clipper Logistics Stakes. He did run in this last year but only beat one home when he was slightly slow out of the gates and then didn’t quicken as he had in the past. He’s drawn closer to the pace angles in Comicas and Kachy, so that helps his claims given he’ll come from off the pace.
Tasleet looks the main danger in my book after his impressive win at York last time when showing the drop back in trip wasn’t an issue. Even though that was on soft ground he showed useful speed and with past form on quick ground then expect a similar level of performance from William Haggas’ charge.
Those trio look to be the main trio in this race because Magical Memory needs a bit more from his return behind Tasleet but that should have put in A1 condition. Charlie Hills has had a quiet Royal Ascot with nine runners so far yet to hit the frame. This grey isn’t discounted lightly but has work to do to beat Limato after Henry Candy’s charge beat him by over 4l in the Group 1 July Cup last season.
17:00 Wokingham Handicap
A wide-open handicap over 6f where one of my cliff horses of late lines-up and he’s been rewarding to follow of late. Normandy Barriere is a strong built type who has plenty of speed, so this test is one that should suit. William Buick is back on board once more and the form figures with him riding are 1121 – fair enough this is tougher but Buick gets the best out of him, as shown at Newmarket and Ascot of late. Nigel Tinkler’s charge has gone up 4lb for his course and distance win to a mark of 100, which is about fair for his ability. In the last four renewals horses drawn in stalls 20+ have won, so him tucked away in 26 suits that trend. He has some solid form here at Ascot over this trip with two wins to his name and a second, which came over 7f.
Outback Traveller won this race last year for Robert Cowell but he came here with a couple of runs under his belt then. This time around he comes here with a run here in the Victoria Cup 42-days ago over a trip further than this. He’s only 4lb higher for this and has won on quick ground after last year was raced on good to soft. Any sprinters out of the Cowell yard have to be respected.
The pace would seem to be offered by Birchwood from stall 13 and Muntadab from stall 17, so there is speed in the middle here. That could help Donjuan Triumphant who looks to have been overlooked by the bookmakers from the early prices. This four year old is now in the care of Andrew Balding after moving from Richard Fahey after a change of ownership. A mile on his return to the track stretched him and last time was much better despite being well-beaten. He won the Listed Rockingham in 2015 and has ran a number of good races in similar events to this. He was second to Signs Of Blessing in the Group 1 Maurice de Ghest at Deauville in August and was also second in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock to Quiet Reflection last year. A strongly ran six furlongs should be right up his street and on his day he is up there with the best as his previous form shows. Andrew Balding had the fourth in this last year and his sprinters need respecting.
Eastern Impact is a previous Group 3 course and distance winner. He’s used to these big field handicaps and his second last time gives him a chance. Steady Pace is another of interest on the back of his nose second to Final Venture at Meydan in January. Final Venture has subsequently won a Listed race and this son of Dark Angel has been knocking on the door. He’s a sort that could be suited by this type of race.
Amazour is one doing a rain dance with his best form coming on slower ground. He ran well at Haydock last time when third to Mythmaker when staying on well towards the line. From stall two he could be troubled by the lack of pace on offer but they’ll be hoping Lancelot Du Lac goes forward from stall 10. Top weight Certificate is close to Birchwood, which will help his claims and David Egan takes 5lb off from the saddle – he looks a jockey to watch. This six year old has only had one start this season when a beaten joint favourite but he’s won over further than this trip and so the quicker they go the better he’ll be but the weight still a concern despite the claim.
Normandy Barriere (14/1)
Donjuan Triumphant (40/1)
17:35 Queen Alexandra Stakes
Can Thomas Hobson do it again? After his comfortable success on Wednesday in the Ascot Stakes he’s turned out again but over slightly further. With his mark unchanged he’s well in at the weights and should cope with the extra distance. Martin Harley takes over from Ryan Moore in the saddle but given how easily he won the other day he’ll probably take some beating.
Last year’s Derby runner-up US Army Ranger is the one Ryan Moore rides and this isn’t quite the date with destiny as expected. He was just beaten in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester last time by the precocious Western Hymn. After his form last season it’ll be interesting to see whether he stays.
Qewy for me would want some cut in the ground but is a nice type now back on the flat after a spell over hurdles. He won a Listed race in Australia on his last season 224-days ago, so fitness is also a question mark for him. He’ll stay after finishing off strongly in last year’s Ascot Stakes when second to Jennies Jewel.
Oriental Fox won this in 2015 off a 3lb higher mark. He’s a thorough stayer and won it that year on quick ground despite a few runners being pulled out because of the conditions. His two starts this season over 1m6f have been fair efforts over a trip that isn’t his best, so stepping up back to this test should see him in a better light and he’s on the shortlist.
With plenty of jumps trainers having their names on the roll of honour then don’t discount them. That can be said about Alan King who saddles Grumeti. This nine year old got the better of Oriental Fox in the 2015 Cesarewitch over 2m2f and he should stay but hasn’t been at his best of late.
Hughie Morrison is a shrewd trainer and has a few useful stayers. Fun Mac made a nice return to the track when a length third in the Chester Cup, which was won by Montaly. Morrison’s charge is likely to reverse that form here now he’s better off at the weights and has fitness under his belt. He looks likely to stay after that Chester Cup and the ground shouldn’t hinder his chances. Hughie Morrison has a 19% strike rate in these sorts of races and his runners show profit. He wasn’t ideally drawn either last time and stall 20 probably isn’t the best here but Jim Crowley will know how to get him in a good position. He looks the way to go in the final race of Royal Ascot 2017.
Fun Mac (12/1)
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