Royal Ascot Day 1 Preview

 

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By Samantha

Queen Anne Stakes

First up, it’s the milers kicking off the biggest flat race meeting of them all. This Group One contest has attracted some nice horses like Bebatl and Rhododendron. The former won the Group Three Hampton Court Stakes here last year over one mile and a furlong. He has been running really well over in Meydan over the Winter over that trip and he won the Dubai Turf last time out. He has had a little break since then but fitness won’t be an issue. This race could be used as a rerun of the Lockinge as eight of the fifteen runners going to post ran in that race. RHODODENDRON kicked off the season by winning that race by a short head to Lightning Spear in second. She has a weight allowance as she’s the only filly in the field and that could prove crucial. Lightning Spear was staying on at the filly to just be denied the win. He is really consistent at the top level always runs a brilliant race in defeat and deserves a Group one win more than any other horse probably in training at the minute. Limato, Beat The Bank, Suedois, Deauville, Accidental Agent and Zonderland all ran in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury as well. Deauville was best placed of them by coming fifth. Aidan O’Brien’s horse has run in four different countries since running in this race last year but hasn’t won since last year. He came close to doing so on his penultimate start but couldn’t quite keep up with the winner Forest Ranger. Accidental Agent and Suedois filled the two places behind him. Both defied big odds to beat a few well fancied runners. Suedois won a stakes race with a huge pot in Keenland but him and Accidental Agent both seem like they’ll struggle to reverse form with the horses who beat them. Two of Suedois’ stablemates are running in this. Lord Glitters is ultra-consistent and won the Balmoral Handicap over course and distance but may struggle in this grade. The trainer also has So Beloved in this and the same comment can apply him as well. There are questions about whether Limato, who placed tenth in that race, actually stays a mile. His form figures over that trip are 460 and he is seen to better effect at six furlongs. Beat The Bank and Zonderland filled up the next two places after him. Beat The Bank was a good 3 year old but struggled on his reappearance in the Lockinge. He’s a Group two winner but will need to step up to contend with this field. Century Dream has last year’s winning jockey on board, William Buick. This four year old son of Cape Cross has won his last two and is a course and distance winner on soft ground in a Listed race. He won the Diomed convincingly on Derby Day and could possibly be an each way contender as he looks progressive. Recoletos and Yoshida are coming from abroad. The former is from France and has won his last two starts, the first of which was a Group Two over seven furlongs and the second was the Group One Prix D’Ispahan. Yoshida is a Japanese horse and won a Grade One last time out at Belmont. Both foreign raiders have a shot. Oh This Is Us will likely be the outsider.

To win- Rhododendron

Each Way- Lightning Spear
Coventry Stakes

High draws are slightly better off over six furlongs and that benefits likely favourite Calyx, who is in Stall 22, of this extremely open, competitive renewal. Eight of the twenty-four runners are unbeaten, including Calyx. He won on debut at Newmarket by five lengths ten days ago and got lots of people not just excited about his future as a race horse but about how good his sire, Kingman, will be. Blown By Wind was a really nice winner on debut but couldn’t quite handle stepping up in grade so may struggle in this. His trainer also has I Am A Dreamer. He has come to be a York specialist by winning his last two there so Blown By Wind is slightly preferred. Aidan O’Brien has two in the line up in the form of monster horse Sergei Prokofiev and The Irish Rover. One and one quarter lengths split the Ballydoyle representatives in their maiden so the former is preferred. He was a four length winner of a Listed race at Naas and is impeccably bred being by Scat Daddy and out of an unraced Tapit mare and was a huge purchase at the sales and was bought for $1.1 Million. The Irish Rover was a cheaper 150,000gns son of No Nay Never. No Needs Never is also sired by that sire, who has been producing some nice two year olds recently. He is trained by Aidan O’Brien’s eldest son Joseph and was second on debut. He was bought at the London Sale on Monday evening for £300,000. Cosmic Law, by No Nay Never, was so impressive last time out when he stalked away from his rivals in the Woodcote at Epsom to win by six lengths. He is one of the more exposed runners as that was his third start. On debut he was just over two and a half lengths behind stable mate Ninetythreetwenty, who runs in this race. The Dragon Pulse colt followed up that victory by winning a conditions race at Pontefract by two and three quarter lengths and looks a tasty price at 33/1. Richard Fahey’s trio is made up by Vange, who is one from two. This Iffraaj colt was an extremely easy seven length winner of a maiden at Chester and could be anything. It’s a really competitive renewal and I’m going to take the chance on COSMIC LAW because he was a brilliant winner last time out and it’ll be awesome for his owner and jockey to win this after tasting French Oaks glory with Laurens on Sunday.

To win- Cosmic Law

Each Way- Ninetythreetwenty

Lady-Aurelia

King’s Stand

This year’s King’s Stand is mouth-watering. We are lucky enough to have the two highest rated sprinters in the world- Battaash and Lady Aurelia– facing off over the flying five furlongs. Only a pound separates these two. The English horse is, by ratings, the better of the two. Battaash won really well after completely missing the break in the Temple Stakes at Haydock on his reappearance. He finished a brilliant season off with a win in the Prix De L’ Abbaye at Longchamp beating Marsha who defeated Lady Aurelia in the Nunthorpe. The filly hasn’t won since winning this race last year. She hasn’t seemed herself since and flopped on her return. Connections report that she is in flying form at home so that’s a plus and she really loves this track and Royal Ascot in general. If you judge these horses on their run last time out, Battaash won in a time of 57.36s on good ground and Lady Aurelia was second and the winner won in a time of one minute and two seconds. Based on raw speed, BATTAASH gets the nod. Washington DC and Kachy were second and third behind Battaash in the Temple Stakes. Kachy has won six of his twenty starts and goes in with a live chance to place. He was second as a three year old in the Commonwealth Cup and has been very consistent lately. Washington DC won the Windsor Castle over course and distance as a two year old and hasn’t won since August in a Group Three. It is interesting that Aidan O’Brien’s big race jockey Ryan Moore has chosen Different League over him. Moore’s mount is a three year old filly by Dabirsim. She ran five times for Matthieu Pallussiere and won last year’s Albany at this meeting beating Irish Oaks winner Alpha Centauri. She hasn’t had such luck running for Aidan O’Brien but is likely to win soon just maybe not in this. Bucchero comes over from America but, even at his peak, he may not be good enough to land this. Mabs Cross was a surprise winner of the Group Three Palace House and is definitely a sprinter on the up but she was beaten just over half a length behind Battaash last time out and probably won’t be able to reverse the form in this. Blue Point won a group three in October over six furlongs here at Ascot and he loves it at this course. If he can return to form he’ll be hard to beat and is a good each way bet.

To win- Battaash

Each way- Blue Point

Tip-Two-Win

St James’ Palace Stakes

This race has attracted three rather smart horses- Irish 2000 Guineas winner Romanised, English 2000 Guineas second-placed Tip Two Win and unbeaten Without Parole. The latter is current favourite and he goes for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. This son of Frankel won a Listed race, beating Gabr, in a very workman-like fashion last time out and it’s quite surprising that he is the market preference over horses who have Group One form. Romanised won the Irish 2000 Guineas by two and one quarter lengths to U S Navy Flag, Gustav Klimt and Threeandfourpence and it’s likely that he can finish ahead of them again. Of Aidan O’Brien’s trio, U S Navy Flag is the preference. Wootton ran very keenly in the French 2000 Guineas and he had previously beaten the winner of the race but just didn’t settle. If he can in this, he’ll be hard to beat. TIP TWO WIN would be a fairytale winner for connections if he can land this. He was a good second behind Saxon Warrior in the 1000 Guineas when finishing second ahead of Derby winner Masar. He stayed on to get the second from the back and if there is a strong pace, he has a nice change of gear to get him ahead when the leaders start to tire.

To win- Tip Two Win

Each way- Wootton

Ascot Stakes

Jump trainers tend to have a good record in this race as it is for horses, who are bred to go the long distances. Twelve of the twenty runners are from predominantly jump trainers and maestro Willie Mullins has five runners. Top weight, Whiskey Sour, has been running over hurdles quite successfully over the winter and has won four times on the flat. He was second over two and a half miles so he will stay the trip. Chelkar is partnered by Ryan Moore, who rode Thomas Hobson to victory last year, and he is making his debut for Willie Mullins. He ran five times in France, winning three, but they were over a mile and one furlong and this is a two mile three contest so he may not stay. Lagostovegas has won three times on the flat and the longest trip he has won at is two mile one furlong but he was going away from the field so will probably stay the trip. Stratum used to be with John Gosden but was then moved to Willie Mullins’ yard. He won on hurdling debut and then was second in a Grade Three over two miles. He is trying this trip for the first time but is ultra consistent and has a good shot if he stays. Meri Devie is the only horse to have won over this trip in the whole race and is the pick of the Willie Mullins runners. She has been running well over hurdles over the winter and definitely has a chance. She will be a nice each way price too. DUBAWI FIFTY is a dual winner at two miles and did well to come fourth in the Chester Cup. She has been fourth in the Cesarewitch as well and will be suited to the extreme test. Sam Missile and White Desert have steps up in trips to deal with but they both seem as though they will like it. Look My Way won the Chester Cup consolation race beating Coeur de Lion. Dannyday came back from a long absence and came fourth at Goodwood in May and will probably like the step up in trip.

To win- Dubawi Fifty

Each way- Meri Devie

Wolferton Stakes

The Queen has a runner in this in the form of Fabricate. He won over this trip on the All-Weather at the end of March and has since finished second to Crystal Ocean in the Gordon Richards with Morando in behind and then fourth in the Brigadier Gerald behind LARAAIB, who finished second and lines up against him again in this. Owen Burrows’ colt won his first three and has since been placed in two group threes so this should be a suitable class for him to win in. His main challenges could come from Sharja Bridge and Mirage Dancer, who is preferred to stable mate Muntahaa. The former was second in a competitive handicap last time out over today’s trip and himself and the winner pulled a long way clear of the third. He is fairly lightly raced and will have progressed on from that so has a chance. Mirage Dancer has been running over further than this trip recently and won a Listed race at Goodwood in May. He beat Euginio by three lengths on that occasion and will likely finish in front of him again. He was third on his first start over a mile and a furlong and will likely be there when push comes to shove. Euginio was third in a group three race before coming second to Mirage Dancer but may struggle in this. Yucatan was well beaten by Cracksman last time out and may struggle.

To win- Laraaib

Each way- Sharja Bridge

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