Preview of Derby Day at The Curragh

By Luke 

Friday’s racing was a frustrating day, with six selections posted and four of those finishing second, the other two selections finishing third and fourth. Hopefully those seconds can turn to first on one of the biggest days of the Irish flat racing calendar.

Derby day gets underway with Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Handicap over six furlongs. Castletownshend runs for Ted Walsh and Declan McDonogh takes the ride. While this will only be his second start in a handicap he is not short of racing experience, this will be tenth start. On his racecourse debut back in 2017 he finished second behind Nibiru, since then Nibiru has went down a different route and is jumping hurdles as a four year old. Castletownshend ran a nice handicap debut when finishing second behind Twenty Minutes at Naas. I think he will improve for the experience of the run in the handicap and will go close at 10/1.

Race two is the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship Dash Stakes over six furlongs. Beckford represents Gordon Elliot with Colin Keane in the saddle. Beckford is a Group 1 placed two year on two occasions and won a Group 2 on his second start. He finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and spent time in the US after that. He then returned to Ireland in May when finishing down the field when needing the run. With the improvement for the run and the return to six furlongs I think he will go close at 6/1.

Race three is the Dubai Duty Free Finest Suprise Celebration Stakes over one mile. Old Glory was an expensive colt, this son of Frankel was bought for 1,600,000. While he hasn’t lived up to that price tag to date I think he will get his head infront here. He was last seen at Royal Ascot when finishing down the field in the Hampton Court over one mile and two furlongs. Prior to that he finished third at the Curragh in a Listed race over one mile and two furlongs when he didn’t truly see out the distance. He now drops back to a mile and I think he will win at 7/2.

Race four is the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Suprises International Stakes over one mile and two furlongs. Addeybb sets the standard but I’m not convinced he will enjoy the ground, he may be good enough to still win while not liking the ground. I think Blenheim Palace will run a good race. He was last seen finishing down the field in France when ensuring a strong pace. This brother to the classic winning Churchill showed promise in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial back in May. He only finished two and a half lengths behind Broome who ran a great race in what’s looks to be a good Derby. If he can bounce back to that form I think he will run well at 15/2.

Race five is the Dubai Duty Free The Irish Village Handicap over one mile. The Dermot Weld trained Jassaar looks to be a Group horse in a handicap. He was last seen winning a handicap at the Curragh beating Flight Risk. Since then Flight Risk has won a Listed race and a Group three both at Leopardstown. He know runs off a mark of 91 and I think he is well capable of winnning off that mark at 11/4.

Race six is the Group 2 Gain Railway Stakes over six furlongs for two year olds. This looks to be one of the best two year old races run this year with Ger Lyons’ Siskin clashing with the Aidan O’Brien trained Monarch Of Egypt who apparently had a setback and that’s why he didn’t make Royal Ascot. While it was always the plan for Siskin to skip Royal Ascot and come here for this race. Siskin has two runs under his belt with two wins. His last win was when winning impressively over course and distance in the Marble Hill Stakes back in May. Since then all the horses who finished behind him have came out and run good races at Royal Ascot. The horse who finished fifth, Southern Hills came out and won the Windsor Castle. He has more experience than Monarch Of Egypt and has had a better preparation. I think he will win with Colin Keane in the saddle at 11/8.

Race seven is the feature race of the meeting, the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby over one mile and four furlongs. Three of the first four home from the Epsom Derby will face each other again and there wasn’t much between them at Epsom. I think it will be the fairytale story for the Kevin Prendergast trained colt Madhmoon. He finished half a length behind Antony Van Dyck at Epsom when unlucky to stumble around four furlongs out. With such a close finish you have to think that stumble could have cost him the race. He is drawn in stall one which will lead to him being able to get plenty of cover when settling down in the early stages of the race. If he can get more luck in running I think he will reverse the form from Epsom and give 86 year old Kevin Prendergast a Derby winner at 9/4.

Race eight is the Dubai Duty Free Jumeirah Creekside Irish EBF Handicap over two miles. Tirmizi enjoyed the step up to two miles last time out at the Curragh. He ran a good race to finish second behind Dalton Highway when being collared late on. The third on that occasion was Kerosin, he has since ran an ok race at Royal Ascot to finish eleventh when getting tired over the longer trip. If Tirimizi can continue to improve for the step up in trip I think he will go close at 11/2.

Northumberland Plate Handicap Preview

By Samantha

Big race action come from Newcastle in the form of the Northumberland Plate. Raced over two miles, this race has attracted a good field.

It is a huge contrast to the feature race of last Saturday, the fifth and final day of Royal Ascot, which was the Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs. It was won by Blue Point, completing a historic double with the King’s Stand Stakes. In the next race, the Wokingham, there was a big move on Cape Byron, one of Roger Varian’s, and he subsequently won. This has also happened on one of Varian’s other horses in this particular race. Gibbs Hill, a six year old son of Mastercraftsman, is three from seven in his career but hasn’t been seen for 724 days. He was 20/1 with some bookmakers on Saturday but is now as short as 7/2. The longest trip he has won over is one mile four, which he did very easily. This is a completely new trip for him and is a huge ask for him after such a long absence.

Time To Study, trained by Ian Williams, ran at Royal Ascot last week in the Ascot Stakes on day one. He was a fast-finishing third and it appeared from that a victory is immanent. He’d ran twice for the Williams yard before that and come eighth on both occasions. He looks very eye-catching off bottom weight with talented, in-form jockey Kerrin McEvoy on board. Williams also has Speedo Boy and Shabeeb. The former is a good dual purpose horse and followed in Red Galileo over one mile six last time. He was well beaten at Chester in horrible conditions behind Making Miracles before that. He gets 11lbs and 10lbs from them respectively. Shabeeb was pulled up in the Chester race but that was his new yard. He won over one mile six furlongs in May 2018 and will be fresher for this.

Mark Johnston has a few in the race – Making Miracles, Austrian School and King’s Advice. The former wouldn’t be a shock winner as he won the two miles two Chester Cup by six lengths. That was on soft but he handles good going nicely. One of the best training performances of the season so far is Johnston with King’s Advice. He’s won all of his six runs and steadily improved as he went up in trip. He won by a nose, extremely gamely, over one mile six last time. He may struggle with the extra distance but if he is ridden more conservatively he should stay. Austrian School is a half brother to Tiger Roll. He won the Queens Cup at Musselburgh at the start of the season and probably didn’t handle conditions next time. He was third in a group three on his next start but he was fourth in an Ebor trial where he folded tamely.

Owner Antony Bromley won this with Withhold last year, who hasn’t been seen since and was a late non runner for this renewal, and has Stratum this year. His Dansili gelding was last seen winning a hurdle race at long odds on. His last flat run was in November 2018 when 14th. His trainer Willie Mullins primarily deals in National Hunt horses and the same can be said for Who Dares Wins’ Trainer Alan King. The horse was second to Making Miracles in the Chester Cup and, on his penultimate start, was third in a handicap at Newbury. Slight ground worries.

There are a few four year olds running in the race that I haven’t previously mentioned – Aircraft Carrier, Mootasadir, Proschema and Bartholomeu Dias. Proschema steps up to two miles after a decent third behind Speedo Boy and Red Galileo last time. He finished eighth in the St Leger last year. Aircraft Carrier finished last in the Yorkshire Cup last time and sixth in the All-Weather Marathon Championship so he needs to improve but won three races on the trot over this sort of trip from December 2018 to January 2019 and was previously with Aidan O’Brien. Mootasadir was last seen finishing unplased over at Belmont Park at the start of the month. He has done most of his winning at shorter trips and has top weight. Bartholomeu Dias won over one mile four last time and is trying this trip for the first time.

Red Galileo is the oldest in the field aged eight. The Dubai gelding won smartly last time, beating Speedo Boy and Proschema with Cohesion a non runner. He’s done most of his running in Meydan recently. Cohesion is one of the outsiders as he has been last on his last three runs including once over this trip. Another of the less fancied runners is Cosmeli, who won the consolation race twelve months ago. He hasn’t won since and is 2lbs higher.

Desert Skyline won the Doncaster Cup as a three year old in 2017 but is yet to win since. He ran into Stradivarious and ended up fifth on his first start this term before finishing fifth in an Ebor qualifier ahead of Austrian School and ahead of Making Miracles. He needs to step up. Fearsome was last seen fifth of five at Sandown in a group three. He followed in Mootasadir in March but completed a four timer over one mile and a half at the start of the year. He has won over two miles over hurdles so will stay.

Last but not least is my selection DUBAWI FIFTY. This horse is one of my favourite flat horses. He hasn’t been seen since coming and agonizingly close second in the 2018 Ascot Stakes after making virtually all of the running, with Stratum behind, for Karen McLintock. The yard deserves a big win after some rotten luck. He won twice at the start of 2018 and I don’t think the break should be too much of an issue for him.

Preview of racing at the Curragh

By Luke

Day two of the Irish Derby meeting gets underway with the Barronstown Stud Irish EBF Maiden over six furlongs. Dark Vader has run two good races to date. He was last seen finishing second behind Royal Lytham at Navan earlier this month when he made the running.  Royal Lytham has since run in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and finished a creditable seventh. I think with the two runs under his belt he will be able to build on those and go close at 4/1.

Race two is the Group 2 Comer Group Imternational Curragh Cup over one mile and six furlongs. Latrobe has been running over distances short of his optimum. Now back over this longer trip I think he will get back to winning ways. His last win came last year in the Irish Derby. Since then he has finished second in a Group one in Australia. His best run since the Irish Derby probably came over course and distance when he finished second to Flag Of Honour. If he can run up to that standard again I think he will be hard to beat at 5/2.

Race three is the Group 2 Airlie Stud Stakes over six furlongs for two year old Fillies. Peace Charter showed her promise when finishing second last time out behind Etoile in a Group 3 at Naas. The third from that race, Celtic Beauty has since came out and been second in the Group 3 Albany at Royal Ascot. I think she will continue to improve and go close at 11/4.

Race four is the Finlay Volvo Cars Summer Fillies Handicap over seven furlongs. Surrounding takes a drop in class after competing in  Listed races this season. She was last seen finishing third behind Flight Risk in a Listed race at Leopardstown earlier this month. Her best run this season was when she won over seven furlongs at Naas in the Owenstown Stud Stakes Listed race. The return to seven furlongs will see her to best effect and I think she can carry top weight to victory at 6/1.

Race five is the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Poly Stakes over one mile and two furlongs for Fillies and Mares. The ground is drying all the time and quicker it gets the better it will suit Magic Wand. She was last seen at Royal Ascot finishing second when conditions turned against her when the ground went soft. She is a former Group 2 winner as a three year old when she won the Ribblesdale on quick ground beating Wild Illusion. If she can bring her best form to the table I think she will run well at 8/1.

Race six is the Eleanor and Lyndsey Comer Memorial Handicap over seven furlongs. Ice Cold In Alex made a nice seasonal reappearance when finishing third at Gowran Pack over today’s distance on similar ground earlier this month. I think with the natural progression for the run he will go close at 8/1.



The rise of Pivotal as a broodmare sire

By Killian ,

Prior to Royal Ascot I had actually done some research about the influence of Pivotal as a broodmare sire. The Cheveley Park Stud flagbearer has had wonderful career at stud, but is now 26 and time is catching up with him. In his racing career he was trained by the legendary Sir Mark Prescott. Pivotal only ran six times, but tasted success at the highest level. As a three year old he won both the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and the Nunthorpe Stakes at York. Like him, the majority of his progeny are fast and precocious.
Pivotal has sired over 100 stakes winners and is a sire of sires. Kyllachy, Excellent Art, Farhh and the increasingly influential Siyouni are all his sons. However Pivotal’s prowess is now being felt on the dam side of pedigrees.

Coolmore have had some magnificent results with Pivotal mares. Magical and Rhododendron are full sisters out of the Pivotal mare Halfway To Heaven. This year’s double 1000 Guineas winner Hermosa is a full sister to Hydrangea, who won the Group 1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. Both of these top level performers are out of Beauty Is Truth. She herself was a Group was victorious in a Group 2 5f sprint at Chantilly for her sire Pivotal. So it seems that the Galileo and Pivotal cross is highly successful, as it balances speed and staying power.

Once again Pivotal enjoyed a wonderful Royal Ascot as a broodmare sire. Advertise befitted from the drop back to 6f and enjoyed Group 1 glory in the Commonwealth Cup for Phoenix Thoroughbreds. Defoe continued his progression in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes over 1m 3f. The fact that Pivotal is found in both of these pedigrees is remarkable. Pivotal mares are able to produce both sprinters and middle distance horses. One Master appeared to becoming with a winning run in the Queen Anne but slightly faded in the last half a furlong. Still though there is nothing wrong with finishing third in a Group 1 and she will be a valuable broodmare. Of course Magical was second to Crystal Ocean in the highlight race of the week for many: The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes {Group 1}. If I was a breeder I would really be trying to find a mare by Pivotal at the sales.


Preview of Day Five at Royal Ascot

By Luke

The final days racing at Royal Ascot gets underway with a Listed Race that is the Chesham Stakes over seven furlongs for two year olds. One of the most intriguing parts of Day five will be the race for the Champion jockey for the meeting. As things stand Ryan Moore is two behind Frankie Dettori. I think Ryan will close the gap to one after he rides Lope Y Fernandez. This expensive son of Lope De Vega made a very impressive debut when winning at the Curragh over seven furlongs earlier this month. As with most of Aidan’s they will improve for the run, and if he does improve for the run I think he will be very hard to beat at 13/8.

Race two is the Group 3 Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs for three year olds. I think this could be a quick fire double for Ryan Moore as he partners So Perfect. This daughter of Scat Daddy was last seen winning a Group 3 at Naas last month over six furlongs. She made her reappearance in the Fred Darling at Newbury back in April over seven furlongs. She wasn’t beaten far on that occasion when possibly needing the run over a distance she had never tried before. She has good form from her two year old campaign, including a second behind the Commonwealth winner Advertise. I think she is the classiest horse in the field and I think she will win at 5/1.

Race three is the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes over one mile and four furlongs. Masar makes his seasonal reappearance here after just over a year off the track. His last run was when he won the Derby beating some nice horses. Prior to that run he was placed in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket finishing behind Saxon Warrior. Out of all the horses in the race I think he has the most potential to go on and win a Group 1 later this year. If he comes in here fit, I think he will win at 4/1.

Race four is the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs. Blue Point was last seen winning the Kings Stand on Tuesday when lowering the colours of Battaash. He is the best horse in the race and the biggest question will be how he will be after his run on Tuesday. He has won over six furlongs at Ascot back in 2017 so the trip won’t be a problem . If he is none the worse for his run on Tuesday I think he will win at 2/1.

Race five is the Wokingham Stakes over six furlongs. Hey Jonesy was last seen finishing fifth in a Group 2 at York back in May. Prior to that he finished second behind Dream Of Dreams at Chelmsford, the winner is running in the Diamond Jubilee before Hey Jonesy. I think he will enjoy the big field handicap and has a good draw in stall in 18. I think he will run well at 14/1.

The last race of the week is the Queen Alexandra Stakes over two miles and five furlongs. I think Max Dynamite will end the meeting on a high note. He hasn’t run since finishing down the field in a Group 1 at Chantilly. If he can return to the form of his second in the Doncaster Cup last September. If he can see out this extreme trip I think he will win and possibly win Ryan Moore the jockeys championship at Royal Ascot.

Preview of Day four at Royal Ascot

By Luke 

After Frankie Dettori had a fantastic day three I think Ryan Moore will take centre stage on day four with a good book of rides. Race one is the Group 3 Albany Stakes over six furlongs for Fillies. I think Lil Grey will out run her odds. She was last seen winning at the Curragh over six furlongs. The third from that race Alligator Alley, has one previous run when finishing fourth behind Sunday Sovereign and the Coventry winner Arizona. Lil Grey will have no problem seeing out the stiff six furlongs at Ascot as on debut she finished second at Leopardstown over seven furlongs. I think she will outrun her odds of 33/1 and go close with Robbie Colgan in the saddle.

Max’s selection: Galadriel 

Samantha’s selection: Daahyeh

Killian’s selection : Lil Grey ew

Race two is the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes over one mile and a half. This one looks to be very straight forward with Japan lining up. He was last seen finishing a close third in the Derby just beaten over half a length by Anthony Van Dyck. On official ratings he his ten pounds clear of the second highest rated in the field, Humanitarian. If he shows up in close to his best form he will win this easy and get Ryan Moore off the mark for the day.

Race three is the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup for three year olds over six furlongs. I’m siding with the man of the moment Frankie Dettori who rides Advertise. He was a good two year not finishing out of the first two for that season. He was a Group 1 winner, winning the Pheonix Stakes over six furlongs at the Curragh. He has form over course and distance from last year when he finished second in the Coventry Stakes at this meeting last season. I would put a line through his reappearance when finishing down the field in the 2,000 Guineas. He will be sharper for the run and I think he will go close at 9/1.

Killian’s selection: Advertise ew

Race four is the Group 1 Coronation Stakes over one mile for three year old Fillies. Hermosa should win this. She is the dual 1,000 Guineas winner, winning at the Curragh and Newmarket. I think this could be an Aidan O’Brien trained one two as I think Happen will run a good race. She stayed on strongly over seven furlongs to win at the Curragh last time out. The step up to one mile will suit and I think she will run well at 16/1.

Race five is the Sandringham Stakes over one mile for three year old Fillies. This race looks wide open and the one I am going to take a chance on is Gypsy Spirit at 66/1. She was last seen in France finishing third behind Obligate and Pure Zen at Chantilly in a Listed race back in May. Since, the first two home have come out and finished one, two in a Group 2 race at Chantilly. Gypsy Spirit ran a nice reappearance this season finishing mid field in the Group 3 Fred Darling at Newbury. I think she will enjoy the stiff mile at Ascot and has a good draw in stall twenty one. I think she will outrun her big odds with Luke Morris in the saddle.

Race six is the Duke Edinburgh Stakes over one mile and a half. I like last years runner up Corgi. He finished half a length behind Baghdad in this race last year when a close second. He was receiving two pounds last year but now receives five pounds off Baghdad. This will be his second run after a wind operation which will hopefully help him as well. I think he will run another good race and go close at 6/1.

Killian’s selection: Lethal Steps ew

Royal Ascot Day Three Selections

By Samantha

Here’s Samantha’s sections for Day Three of Royal Ascot 2019……

Norfolk Stakes

Arizona was an extremely good winner of the Coventry on Monday and he was beaten three lengths by SUNDAY SOVEREIGN on debut. That was on yielding so it’s likely that the King Power Racing horse will handle this going. Expressionist could be the value at 11s as he won over course and distance on good to soft on his only run.

Hampton Court Stakes

I’m staying with the same ownership in the next with FOX CHAIRMAN. He bolted up on softish ground on debut and then ran third to Circus Maximus in the Dee Stakes. That horse has subsequently won in the St James’ Palace so that solidifies the form. He’s still learning and could be a step above a lot of these. The Queen has a nice chance in this with Eightsome Reel who’s ultra consistent.

Ribblesdale Stakes

Frankelina impressed a few people after missing the break and running on to come second in the Musidora Stakes. She then ran in the Oaks and was a good sixth on just her third run. A big run is expected but I’m going with the third placed horse FLEETING who finished very speedily and was supplemented into this. Aidan O’Brien supplemented a horse earlier in the week and that was the St James’ Palace winner Circus Maximus. She won’t want it any softer though.

Gold Cup

The big race, the one we’ve been waiting for, because of the hype horse STRADIVARIUS. He’s won his last six races and won the million pound bonus. He’s right on his way to winning it this year. The ground is the only question mark but class is class. Cross Counter is the biggest danger having won the Melbourne Cup and in Dubai. He has the beating of Dee Ex Bee who’s a pretty good horse.

Brittania Stakes

This looks so open. Davydenko has won his last two and looks a nice three year old for Sir Michael Stoute but he is tackling ground that he never has before. Migration’s yard is in very good form. AWE followed in Motafaawit and carries less weight than him as they do battle again and ran very well last time so is my chance in an open contest.

King George V Stakes

Fox Premier has won his last two starts but has gone up 11lbs and appears to need good ground. Sir Ron Priestley is very well bred and has won his last two but the same comment applies and he would prefer it if it was softer ground. South Pacific has been second four times and goes on soft ground so 18/1 could be some value. CONSTANTINOPLE won a group three last time on good to firm ground and that looks the standout form if there is no rain its hard to get away from him.

Preview of Day Two at Royal Ascot

By Luke

Day two of Royal Ascot gets underway with the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes. This is the first of the two year old races on the card and it is hard to be confident with a selection in either race. I think Ickworth will run well for trainer Willie McCreery. This daughter of Shamardal has won her two starts to date. She won impressively last time out, beating King Neptune at the Curragh. King Neptune has since finished second behind one of the best two year olds in Ireland, Siskin by a similar distance. Ickworth has the advantage of having two runs under her belt and I think she will run a good race will Billy Lee in the saddle.

Race two is the Group 2 Queen’s Vase over one mile and six furlongs for three year olds. Norway was last seen finishing eight in the Derby when being up with the pace for a long way. Prior to that run he finished second behind Sir Dragonet at Chester. I think the step up in trip will be the key to him improving. He won over one mile and a quarter as two year old at Newmarket. I think he is the one to beat with Ryan Moore in the saddle.

Race three is Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes, this is possibly the best race of the week. Magical has had the ideal preparation with three impressive wins this season. She was very impressive last time out when winning at the Curragh in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, beating Flag Of Honour by seven lengths. She has the advantage of some recent runs and I think she will win with Ryan Moore in the saddle.

Race four is the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes for Fillies and Mares over a mile. I Can Fly was last seen finishing second at the Curragh. She was slow out of the stalls and had a lot to do, she finished strongly to be beaten a length and a half. Prior to that run she was sixth in the Group 1 Lockinge at Newbury. If she can run to that form I think she will be very hard to beat.

Race five is the Royal Hunt Cup over one mile. This is a very competitive handicap with thirty one runners. Instead of having a selection in the Windsor Castle I will have two in this race.

The first horse I like is What’s The Story for trainer Keith Dalgleish. He was last seen winning at York, when he won a handicap. The form of that race is working out very well. The second, fourth and ninth have all since came out and won. He finished fourth in this race last year when a four year old. I think he has improved from four to five and can run well with Paul Mulrennan in the saddle.

My second selection in the race is the French trained Roc Angel. He was last seen winning in France over one mile and two furlongs so will stay well. Prior to that run he finished fourth on all weather finals day at Lingfield. He finished behind Matterhorn, Wissahickon and Pactolus in the Easter Classic. I think he could outrun his odds with Christophe Soumillon in he saddle.

Royal Ascot Day Two Preview

Windsor Castle challenger Platinum Star wins comfortably at Leicester last time

By Samantha

Day one was a celebration of the masterful training of Aidan O’Brien and the class of Ryan Moore in the saddle but also a celebration of the strength of British Racing. Let’s hope for some more incredible racing and stories on day two. Here’s my preview of the races….

Race 1 – Queen Mary Stakes

Flippa The Strippa is one of the most exposed horses, having run three times, and landed a Listed contest last month. She was third on debut on good to soft and, with the ground conditions worsening to soft at Ascot, I think she’s up against it. This is making me feel even more keen on FINAL SONG. She won on debut over course and distance on soft so that’s a huge plus for her chances. She’s related to a few winning two year olds and I think she definitely should go well.

Selection – Final Song

Race 2 – Queen’s Vase

Aidan O’Brien has four representatives and two of them, Norway and Western Australia, are closely matched. The latter won nicely over on miles five, beating Pythion, and definitely looks like he will stay. The interesting thing is Ryan Moore is favouring Norway to him. Eighth in the Derby, he is stepping up two furlongs in trip and we think he’ll benefit from that and go on to the St Leger. JALMOUD won a Listed race in France over one mile four on good to soft and should stay. He appears to be progressive. Dashing Willoughby is ultra consistent and followed in Norway in the Chester Vase and seemed one paced over that trip and will be suited to this with Oisin Murphy on board.

Selection – Jalmoud

⭐Luke’s selection – Norway ⭐

⭐Max’s Selection – Dashing Willoughby EW ⭐

Race 3 – Prince Of Wales Stakes

This looks a thrilling contest with ultra consistent Crystal Ocean facing off against two incredibly smart four year old fillies – Sea Of Class and Magical. Crystal Ocean ran into three of the best horses from the last few seasons at the back end of last year and came good in his first two starts this year. He comes in here in great form but the Fillies may just get the better of him. SEA OF CLASS was last seen when only denied by about a neck by Enable in the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe. She’s a very good filly and was on a five timer before that so if she can pick it off where she left off she should be winning. Magical has won all of her three starts this year and is miles ahead of her Irish opposition. Both of these pushed Enable to her limits last year and will be better horses at four.

The other filly is Deirdre and she’s a Japanese raider. She is a multiple group race winner and top jockey Yutaka Take comes over to ride but she needs to improve to beat the three aforementioned horses. Waldgeist is a French challenger and finished fourth in the Arc last year behind second placed Sea Of Class and ahead of Magical in tenth. He bounced back to winning ways in the Prix Ganay and did that very well. This Galileo colt needs to step up to get past Sea Of Class. Roger Varian’s Lope De Vega gelding Zabeel Prince can’t b ignored as he’s five from nine. He’s won both of his starts so far this year – the Earl Of Sefton, which’s form has worked out increasingly well, and the Prix D’Ispahan, a group one. Hunting Horn is a course and distance winner after winning the Hampton Court Stakes last year but isn’t up to this standard. Desert Encounter is out of his depth.

Selection – Sea of Class

⭐Max’s Selection – Waldgeist EW ⭐

⭐Killian’s Selection – Zabeel Prince EW⭐

Race 4 – Duke Of Cambridge Stakes

William Haggas and Danny Tudhope teamed up to win the last race on the card on the Tuesday and have Move Swiftly in this but I prefer her stablemate PRETTY BABY. She won a group three at Lingfield in May over seven furling on soft which stands her in good stead for this. She has only ever been beaten twice in her career and that was short margins. I Can Fly is penalised and was second in a group two last time. She’s ran quite a bit and is quite exposed but has a good chance all the same. Agrotera won the Sandringham here at Royal Ascot last year and landed a Listed race at Kempton last time, with Preening in second. Rawdaa made a really good go of it in the Group Two Middleton Stakes at York against Lah Ti Dar and she is my second choice. Anna Nerium won at Epsom recently and is a game little filly.

Selection – Pretty Baby

⭐Killian’s Selection – Veracious⭐

⭐Luke’s Selection – I Can Fly ⭐

Race 5 – Royal Hunt Cup

This is a cavalry charge in all senses of the phrase and there will most definitely be some hard luck stories. Focusing on the past three years, it has been won by four year olds on all of those occasions and on two out of the three runnings, it has been won by a horse drawn higher than 20. Applying that to the field, it leaves Cardsharp, Chief Ironside, Glendevon, Vale Of Kent and Stylehunter. These are all big priced horses but Cardsharp is a classy individual having ended up with a 111 rating. Top weight is a big ask. Chief Ironside was a decent third in a group three last time and often, in these kind of races, you need a group horse masquerading as a handicapper and he’s not a bad horse, he just needs to develop a will to win and improve a bit. Glendevon ran in a few good races last term and hasn’t ran too badly lately. Drawn in 19. Vale Of Kent hasn’t been seen yet this season and has barely any weight to carry. Behind Raising Sands last time, he has a bit to find. Stylehunter goes for John Gosden and has even less weight to carry but that describes his chance.

Frankie Dettori abandons him for New Graduate, drawn one. James Tate’s colt is two from four and has no doubt reached his ceiling. The draw is my worry. High draws are normally best here. Drawn two, Beringer won a class two at Newmarket and then was fifth to WHAT’S THE STORY . The second has since won and that’s a boost for the latter. He’s drawn favourably and was fourth in this last year. Kynren was only beaten a neck in the Victoria Cup here on good to soft. He always seems to run into trouble and not quite get there to nab the winner but hopefully he can get some clear ground from stall three. I have to just prefer What’s The Story though with the hope he replicates last time even though it completely goes against the trend of the last few years with four year olds winning. Afaak and Key Victory running gelded for the first time is interesting. Connections will be hoping that improves the latter tremendously. Settle For Bay won last year and looks to be on a good mark.

Selection – What’s The Story

Race 6 – Windsor Castle Stakes

Really wide open contest in which all bar two of them have won. Summer Sands impressed me last time when battling on to a hard fought victory at Beverley after coming third on debut to exciting Bomb Proof. New type of ground to contend with. Temple Of Heaven has one of the best 100% records as he’s two from two. A half length winner on debut, he then stepped up in trip and won a class two beating the fourth and ninth finishers in the Coventry. I was there when Platinum Star won very takingly by two lengths at Leicester. The second has since won nicely and he was beaten three and a quarter lengths on debut by Pinatubo, who subsequently won the Woodcote. Christophe Soumillion rides. He will need to start better to figure as he’s dropping back to five.

Wesley Ward send over two speedy fillies, Karak and Foolish Humour, who won on debut in the US. Like Ward, Archie Watson is masterful with his two year olds and runs three – Electric Ladyland, Taxiwala and Better The Devil. Aidan O’Brien won the Coventry with a two year old and Southern Hills looks a potentially nice horse but is yet to win. Symbolize’s Salisbury win was good but the form of that isn’t great.

Selection – Summer Sand /Platinum Star

Royal Ascot Day One Preview

By Samantha

Action kicks off on Tuesday for the 2019 Royal Ascot Festival and here is Samantha’s preview of the card….

Queen Anne Stakes

This is a ridiculously open excuse for a group one and any of them could win it. The Lockinge was a lot of these’s prep run for this – Mustashry (1st), Laurens (2nd), Accidental Agent (3rd), Romanised (4th), Le Brivido (5th), Sharja Bridge (10th), Beat The Bank (11th), Mythical Magic (12th) and Lord Glitters (13th). Mustashry is a gelding and put up a really good performance to land the Lockinge. He’d had the benefit of a run before which out him spot on. He won’t want any rain. LAURENS was one of the top milers last year, winning four group ones. She was second in the Lockinge and may have needed the run that day as she was second in the 1000 Guineas and won the Prix Saint-Alary last time. Accidental Agent was a shock winner last year and his third in the Lockinge when not fully wound up will stand him in good stead.

Romanised won the Irish 2000 Guineas last season and was very keen in the Lockinge but stayed on well. Myself and Luke both fancied this horse to place then and lots of people seem to agree hence the shortening price. Le Brivido is the favourite and his Lockinge fifth was pretty encouraging and he has won here before but isn’t a worthy favourite. Beat The Bank is better than his eleventh suggests as he’s a multiple group two winner. Appalling record in group ones, it may not be his day in this but isn’t without a chance in this. Lord Glitters is so consistent and Sharja Bridge won over course and distance in October.

Godolphin have the trio of Dream Castle, Barney Roy and Mythical Magic. Barney Roy went to stud but has come back and won a Listed at Longchamp after coming second over course and distance. Dream Castle is the only horse to not have won over this trip or course but he won two group ones in Meydan in March. Mythical Magic is a pretty consistent horse but ran badly at Newb last time. Dermot Weld runs past year’s Derby fifth Hazapour and won a group three on his second start this term.

Olmedo is French and won a group one a year ago. He’s a bit of an unknown. Stormy Antarctic is a globe trotting superstar and has won two group races so far this year. Each way claims. Matterhorn is very good on the All Weather and placed on his last two at group level. Rounding off the field is Prix Foret winner One Master, who won here before but that was over his ideal 7f trip.

Selection – Laurens

⭐Luke’s Pick – Romanised ⭐

Coventry Stakes

Aidan O’Brien has four – Arizona (main photo) , Fort Meyers, King Of Athens and Royal Lytham. The former is the pick of Ryan Moore. He was second on debut behind a smart horse and ran incredibly to win by eight lengths to King Of Athens, who’s only ever run that was. Royal Lytham, by exciting sire Gleneagles, won nicely on debut last time and will come on for it. Fort Myers won on debut and was only just beaten after rearing as they jumped off.

Archie Watson is very good with his juveniles and Guildsman won incredibly well on debut. Leading player. Threat also won convincingly on debut and is stepping up in trip for the first time. He beat a horse called Electric Storm by over a length and Well Of Wisdom beat that horse by a half length on his debut and then finished third, behind Fort Myers. I was there when Majestic Sands won on debut. He was very green and, even though he’s a half brother to stayer Trip To Paris, he should have the pace, stepped up to six furlongs for the first time. 40/1 is a big price.

Light Angel won well despite hanging on his second try and comes from the John Gosden camp. Monoski was beaten on debut by a horse with some nice entries this week and then won a class two by six lengths. He’s a promising individual. Coase, Lord Of The Lodge and Maxi Boy are defending their unbeaten record. Golden Horde was fourth at Newbury behind Light Angel. Makyon won by six lengths really nicely last time but Ropey Guest and Kuwait Direction haven’t won yet.

Selection – Arizona / Majestic Sands EW

⭐Killian’s Pick – Arizona ⭐

King’s Stand Stakes

BLUE POINT won this last year, beating Bataash (pictured) and Mabs Cross. He has since won three times in Meydan, in a group one, two and three. He had a bit of a break before this but will now be on song. Battaash is arguably the fastest horse in the world and he showed that when winning at Haydock last time beating Mabs Cross. He’s a very quirky sort and the trainer must be absolutely fed up of being asked, “Which Battaash will turn up??” If he handles the prelims, he will probably win. The stiff five furlongs may not suit him. Mabs Cross is so incredibly consistent but has been behind Battaash a few times.

Enzo’s Lad has a very emotional story and it would be nice if he could win. He’s a dual group one winner in his native New Zealand. Sergei Prokofiev probably hasn’t reached his ceiling but he isn’t up to this standard. That yard also has Fairyland. She didn’t stay one mile in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Curragh but she is a winner at group one level over six furlongs. She’s hung her first five furlong run. Another filly is Signora Cabello, who won two group twos, including at this meeting, last year and placed in the Prix Morny. She’s returning to five furlongs.

Soldiers Call placed in the Abbaye at two years and won the Windsor Castle before that. He placed in a Listed race over this trip last time but will need to have improved significantly from two to three to figure. Equilateral is Battaash’s stablemate but will really need to step up as he was beaten by Mabs Cross last time when she had a penalty. Imprimis is still improving at five years old and has won his last two in America. Frankie is an interesting jockey booking. Houtzen is a multiple winner from Australia but this is a huge step up. Judicial is a quirky old boy and finally won a group race last July. He struggled in group one company.

Selection – Blue Point

St James’ Palace

This looks a very exciting race. PHOENIX OF Spain (pictured) won the Irish 2000 Guineas on his first start this term beating Too Darn Hot and Skardu. He was a nice juvenile, winning the group three Acomb. Too Darn Hot went into the Dante and Irish 2000 Guineas with a large hype about him but he found one too good each time eventhough he was unbeaten at 2. Pheonix Of Spain holds him to the Curragh form. Both bypassed the English 2000 Guineas but Skardu and Royal Marine ran in it. Skardu won the Craven Stakes at Newmarket, beating Royal Marine, and then finished best of the far side group in the 2000 In this third. He doesn’t quite have the star quality of some of these but he’s ultra-consistent. Royal Marine won a group one at Longchamp on his last two year old run and finished fourth in the Craven on his second start at three. He then finished thirteenth in the 2000 so definitely needs to step up.

Aidan O’Brien has three – Circus Maximus, Van Beethoven and The Irish Rover. The former won at Chester in the Dee Stakes and then ran in the Derby and finished sixth, at home at the trip, but he reverts to a mile in this. He’s Aidan’s best chance of a winner based on the betting but there is no way he has the speed. Van Beethoven has ran eight times since winning the group two Railway Stakes. He was seventh behind Phoenix Of Spain in the Irish 2000 so needs to improve. The Irish Rover was last in the winners enclosure in a class two at two so warrants 150/1 odds.

Fox Champion and King Of Comedy have good records. The former has won three of his four starts but this is a mammoth step up in grade and he made all to win last time. King Of Comedy has also won three of his for starts but was victorious in his last two. He won the Heron Stakes last time by a wide margin and is definitely on the up. Shaman was last seen second in a Group One at Longchamp behind the smart Persian King. He was fifth in a group one behind winner Royal Marine though. Bell Rock is one of the outsiders. He won on debut and was sixth in the Heron Stakes behind King Of Comedy.

Selection – Phoenix Of Spain

Ascot Stakes

The majority of the top national hunt trainers are represented here. Gordon Elliott has Batts Rock and
Mengli Khan. The latter is extremely interesting as he’s a grade one winning hurdler and a winning chaser. He won over a mile on the flat with Hugo Palmer. Batts Rock has Frankie on board and he is a three times winner on the flat. Willie Mullins has BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP. She won two national hunt flat races with Mick Channon and ran in Listed company on the flat before transferring to Willie Mullins where she won on debut for them. Not had much luck since, she could be well handicapped with Ryan Moore on. Nicky Henderson has The Cashel Man and Gunnery but both haven’t won on the flat for a while. Snow Falcon goes for Noel Meade and he’s a multiple winning hurdler and chaser but has won two races on the flat also. Coeur De Lion and Percy Street come from good jump yards who have been successful in this code.

Ian Williams’ horses usually dabble in both codes with success but not so much the pair who are running in this from his stable – The Grand Visir and Time To Study. The former, a son of Frankel, exited the race in the most dramatic style on huing debut at the first obstacle but he is four from eleven on the flat. Time To Study won five times for Mark Johnston before coming to Williams’ and should be well at home at this trip but is majorly out of form. Keith Dalgleish had a four timer at Carlisle on Monday and he has Mixboy with Paul Mulrennan, who clocked up 1000 winners recently, on board. He’s a nice little jumper and won over two miles two on the flat last time out easily. He is huge value at 25/1.

Cosmeli put in an improved run last time but him and Jukebox Jive need to return to form. Ulster and Youbass both represent Archie Watson with the former preferred as he has won two and came third three times on his last five outings. Kerosin won last time and ran creditably on the all weather over the winter. Not Never has won two of his last three over jumps and Mancini was in good form early last year but is yet to revive that. Fun Mac hasn’t won since 2017 but just about gets this trip.

Selection – Buildmeupbuttercup / Mixboy

⭐Killian’s pick – Mengli Khan⭐

Wolferton Stakes

Some nice horses line up in this Listed contest – in particular MAGIC WAND and Latrobe. The former is a filly and gets weight from all the boys. She won the Ribblesdale on this card last year and went globe trotting over the winter. Her best trip is one mile four. Latrobe won the Irish Derby in 2018 but hasn’t ran very well since. Mountain Angel has been in incredible form winning at Epsom the last twice. He’s won here before and this looks within his capabilities. Addeybb won three on the trot in 2017/18 but was well beaten last time out and followed in the big priced shot in this Master The World in November.

Godolphin have four – Mountain Hunter, Zorion, Oasis Charm and First Nation. The former won twice in Meydan in February but was twelfth of thirteen behind the smart Almond Eye last time. Zorion was second to Mountain Hunter last time but hasn’t won since when he was with Jim Bolger in June 2017. Oasis Charm won in Meydan over one mile two furlongs in January and his only two starts last term. Been kept in high company and should go well. First Nation was fifth last time in the group three Earl Of Sefton, one place behind Elarqam. That form has worked out incredibly well as the first horse Zabeel Prince won a group one in France; second Forest Ranger won a group race next time; Mustashry won the Lockinge and Elarqam won a Listed last time but is penalised for that in this. Willie John followed him in the last day so has a bit to find.

Willie Mullins sends Riven Light. He was only beaten a short head ten days ago and his colours have tasted Royal Ascot glory before. He has a 50% strike rate on the flat. Star Of Bengal is lightly races having won two of his four starts but this is a step up. Global Giant was last seen winning at Dundalk last year and Dolphin Vista and Zihba will struggle.

Selection – Magic Wand

⭐Luke’s Selection – Magic Wand ⭐
⭐Killian’s Selection – Riven Light EW⭐