ROYAL ASCOT – DAY 5 (SATURDAY)
14:30 – Chesham Stakes
A cracking renewal of the Chesham see’s almost all of the top yards represented and a few of these have most eye catching pedigrees. Churchill was sent off quite a strong favourite when making his debut at the Curragh in May (6f) In the event this beautifully bred son of Galileo could only manage a one paced looking third but this trip looks guaranteed to suit. Quite whether he represents value ( Currently evens ) is open to debate but his yard are firing at this meeting and he is afforded the upmost respect. Cunco created a huge media stir when becoming the first son of the legendary Frankel to make it to the track. Uneasy in the betting beforehand and despite looking beaten midway through he showed a fine attitude and eventually wore down the re-opposing Isomer late on. Like a few of these he looks certain to be suited by the extra yardage and he does look the most obvious winner if handling the ground. Another of Frankel’s offspring to make a winning debut was Frankuus, a nice rangy type he looked as green as grass but showed plenty of promise when winning at Haydock and his stamina is already proven. The obvious concern with him is the wide draw ( Hung left on debut ) another concern would be the form of his handlers runners at this meeting but a chance will be taken and at the odds he makes most appeal. Aiming For Rio is hard to weigh up but the French have had a decent meeting and his price may tempt the value hunters. Magillen, Isomer and Devil’s Bridge will all find winning opportunities in the future and all three are worth remembering, this does look a little too hot for them today however.
15:05 – Wolferton Handicap
This race is always a very tricky and competitive race and this year’s renewal is no different. Scottish trainer Keith Dalgleish would not normally be the obvious choice in a race containing the who’s who of juggernaut racing yards, but his share Maleficent Queen looks a real progressive horse. The four-year-old filly was beaten by a head on her debut, but has yet to be beaten in five races since then. She ran at this level last time out when winning at Ayr in decisive fashion on similar ground so she will relish the underfoot conditions. She has a hotter field to contend with here against the males and the draw isn’t ideal, but she will be bang there if she can safely navigate a passage through the field and at a tempting each way price she cannot go off unsupported.
Another tempting each way shout in the race is the Ballydoyle runner Sir Isaac Newton. He was an expensive purchase who to date only has a maiden win to his name, but he ran well here last year in the Jersey and won’t mind the conditions. The horse finished third in a listed contest over this trip at the Curragh last time out and the form of that race has been boosted by the winner landing the Hunt Cup on Wednesday. He has a nice draw and can go well under Champion jockey Ryan Moore so is also worth covering each way.
Of the rest of this highly competitive field, the main danger will likely come from Pacify. The four-year-old has finished runner up in his last three starts including two this term. The last of those was a brave second to Nayel at York when trying to give away loads of weight. Up another 3lb here so the visor will need to eek out more improvement to avoid yet another minor placing though.
Mark Johnston also has an interesting contender in the form of the hat-trick seeking Revolutionist. The four-year-old could not have been more impressive when following up a recent Newmarket win in a decent race at Redcar last time, he is up a further 5lb here which seems fair so he can definitely give his running, but the major doubt is whether he run his normal front running race from a tricky looking draw. Godolphin send in four representatives as well, in a race they do well in, but Oceanographer and Best of Times look the pair of them as the jockey bookings would suggest, but they the latter may struggle from a wide draw so may play second fiddle here, while the former is not one to rely on.
Maleficent Queen (E/W)
Sir Isaac Newton (E/W)
15:40 – Hardwicke Stakes
Sir Michael Stoute’s Exosphere caught they eye and looked like a Royal Ascot winner in the making when routing St Leger hero Simple Verse by some four lengths last time out. That was in a Group 2 contest so you would have to say both that rival and previous victim Mount Logan, who both re-oppose here, look well held by the progressive four-year-old and he will take a lot of stopping from romping to another success at this level in this field. It is a race that the trainer loves to win and has enjoyed success in over the years on route to better and bigger things with the likes of Harbinger, Sea Moon, Telescope and last year’s winner Snow Sky. The impressive colt looks like another strong contender for the legendary handler and he will take all the beating with the assistance of ex-champion jockey Ryan Moore and improvement likely so last year’s successful connections get the nod to be celebrating once again.
The Aidan O’Brien team will likely provide the strongest opposition in the form of Highland Reel. The Four-year-old Galileo colt is the top rated horse in the field having already won a number of Group races. He has other entries for the Royal meeting, but this looks his likely destination and if he turns up may be a danger to all. He has been contesting much better contests than this one recently and won valuable prizes in both Hong Kong and the USA during a gruelling 2015 campaign. The defeat to Postponed out in Dubai by the impressive multiple Group 1 winner Postponed looks a particularly useful piece of form and he looks a massive each way price at double figure odds.
Of the others likely to turn up the likes of John Gosden’s Eagle Top and the Godolphin runner Beautiful Romance can both make their presence felt here to make like difficult for the selection in a hot looking renewal, but it may pay to stick with a winning formula in the Stoute runner.
16:20 – Diamond Jubilee Stakes
I’ve tried desperately to understand the betting of this race and will probably learn the hard way as a result. Suedois had previously won a 6f Group 3 on soft ground when trained in France, switched to David O’Meara he was perhaps a tad disappointing when beaten on his UK debut at Doncaster though he may have needed it and improved on that when beaten only half a length by the re-opposing Magical Memory at York. Currently trading at double figure odds he may not prove up to winning but the ground will suit and as he doesn’t need to lead a chance will be taken on him running into the places. Magical Memory has won his last two and theoretically holds the selection, unbeaten in four races under Dettori he will probably go off favourite and his handler is building quite a reputation with sprinters this term. A massive run should be expected but his wide draw is concerning and he might have to do too much too soon, despite this he’s respected but is opposed at the odds. Twilight Son has a bit to do with the mentioned pair on York running ( Finished 5th, beaten over 4Ls ) he was conceding weight and making his seasonal reappearance that day though. A winner of a Group1 last term his yard are famous for their sprinters and a much improved run looks on the cards, his price reflects this however and as such he too is taken on. Holler is a Group1 winning Australian sprinter and he could be anything, attractively priced he could tempt but this ground poses serious questions and he may face competition for the lead. The Tin Man is related to Deacon Blues who hit the big time at four, ultra progressive he has outstanding claims and will surely go close. Undrafted took last seasons renewal and could well repeat the feat, 4th in the July Cup on similar ground he deserves respecting and though Mattmu is exposed, he is very tough and could make it into the frame.
17:00 – Wokingham Stakes
This looks as tricky a race as your ever likely to find and a stab in the dark is the best advice I could give. Jack Dexter has disappointed this term and looked almost gone at the game when beaten out of sight at York the last day. At his lowest mark since 2012 it would probably be quite a shock if he were to win, that being said he would take some beating if bouncing back and the forecast rain significantly improves his chances. Ideally drawn he couldn’t be given with any confidence but a chance will be taken of him outrunning his massive odds. Brando was beaten by the rejuvenated Duke Of Firenze at York last time and promises to win a major pot. Still improving Kevin Ryan’s charge very nearly got the vote, he can sometimes miss the break though and recovering in a field of this size will be very tricky. The Happy Prince reverts to sprinting after chasing home the useful Anamba the last day, suited by soft ground he is a very interesting challenger for the Irish and is handed a piece of the vote at appealing odds. Spring Loaded, Shared Equity, Ninjago and Poyle Vinnie are other intriguing challengers in what is a very warm race.
Jack Dexter (E/W)
The Happy Prince (E/W)
17:35 – Queen Alexandra Stakes
Oriental Fox will have to concede weight all round as he bids to follow up last seasons victory in this, only a fair 4th on his return it is extremely likely that his yard have targeted this race and though the ground will be much slower today ( Fast last season ) he is taken to end what has been a rather disappointing meeting for Mark Johnston on a high. Clondaw Warrior won at this meeting last season over a similar trip and is massively feared with Ryan Moore on top, a few of his stable-mates have proved quite disappointing at this meeting however and at the odds he makes little sense. Amour De Nuite looked one paced when winning over 1m6f at Chelmsford in May and is another very serious player. His trainer rarely sends them to these meetings with no chance and improvement is on the cards. Grumeti, Seaside Sizzler and The Minch warrant consideration but perhaps at the prices Commissioned makes most appeal as his trainer landed a treble yesterday.
Oriental Fox (WIN)
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