Despite Hughes and Hannon being very bullish about the favourite in the opener I think there is better value to be had elsewhere and for that reason I will not be taking the short price. The horse comes into this race in rude health but the worry is the trip and the fact that he has never won over it. The Hughes quote in The Racing Post was ‘Ivawood will win’. We will see but the price is too skinny.
There are 3 other horses at much bigger prices that catch the eye; Sir Isaac Newton, Hathal and Toscanini and all 3 have run well this season. Ryan Moore had a terrific day on the first day of the meeting and he takes the ride on Sir Isaac Newton for Ballydoyle. The horse is wonderfully bred out of Galileo and Shasyte with Danehill on the mare side too and comes here after some slightly patchy form but may appreciate the straighter, stiffer track.
Derby hero Frankie Dettori rides Hathal here, who he won on after winning the derby, at Lingfield that same Saturday evening very easily. This makes his entry here very eye catching and Ryan Moore aside is there a better man for the big occasion than the diminutive Italian? The horse may be good value for at least a place here.
Toscanini is the other horse that catches the eye at a big price and has the services of James Doyle here for Michael Halford. The horse ran 2nd to Gleneagles at the Curragh last September finishing only a length and ¾ behind the dual Guineas winner. He looks like the big value on that bare form and the jockey also gives him the nod for me.
As difficult a puzzle as there could possibly be to solve with a field of this size and a huge host of 2 year olds that could be group 1 horses in their 3rd years quite easily. Wesley Ward brings Acapulco here on the back of one run where she finished 3rd at Churchill Downs. That bare form doesn’t really make you sit up and take notice but entering the horse here certainly does and connections have been very bullish about her chances. The booking of Ryan Moore is certainly eye catching too.
Again, the price may be too skinny with a field of that size and value once again looks to be the order of the day. The first horse that looks good value is Rah Rah for William Buick and Mark Johnston. The combination scored with Buratino yesterday and has two victories out of 2, although both of these were on the all-weather tracks. The main questions would be whether she could transfer them to turf and who she beat on those occasions.
A raft of 2 year olds cannot leave Richard Hannon out of the ones to watch and Ring of Truth, for the Queen may well run a cracker here based on her two pieces of form coming into this. The horse was second in a hot Newbury maiden and then backed that promise up with a nice victory at Haydock Park. The horse has a good chance.
Of the others, Delizia and Bruised Orange make most appeal and certainly the latter could be a big player as i am always interested in a horse that runs in good, quality races off the back of one run.
Ring Of Truth (E/W)
The Duke of Cambridge stakes ran over the straight mile will surely see Integral run a big race and at even money last night she may well be an unoriginal choice as the hot favourite but she has the strongest form and the best jockey on board. She is also a past winner and that is another huge tipping weight in her favour. On the subject of weight, this Group 1 winner must give at least 2lb to her rivals but she is rated at least 9lb against them too.
Euro Charline and Cladocera may well run ok against the selection but there would have to be a significant step up in quality to trouble the favourite. Rizeeena was a winner of this last year and Clive Brittain’s charge may follow the favourite home
With California Chrome now out of The Prince of Wales’ Stakes it leaves Free Eagle with an excellent opportunity to gain a maiden Group 1 success. The connections have been very sweet on the horse and the fact that he is lightly raced means that he could well come on for last season’s form. Pat Smullen will take the ride for champion flat trainer Dermot Weld and if he runs his race he will certainly come close.
The Grey Gatsby doesn’t always run his best race and that’s why there is a shred of doubt about the Irish Champion Stakes winner. He also ran well in behind yesterday’s very impressive winner Solow at Meydan on his penultimate start. My main concern however would be the jockey booking and i just feel that Jamie Spencer should have stuck to his retirement.
Of the remainder Western Hymn has decent form coming into this and John Gosden couldn’t have his horses in much better form and Spielberg is an interesting runner with Christophe Soumillion taking the ride.
Free Eagle (WIN)
The Royal Hunt Cup has a mammoth 30 runners in it and picking a winner is incredibly tricky for a punter. With the market 10/1 bar there will certainly be a double figure winner based on the early prices. One that makes appeal at 20/1 is Bronze Angel who has won handicaps of this size before and is a course and distance winner. I backed the horse at York a year back at The John Smiths Cup meeting and she duly bolted up so she may be well handicapped at 1lb lower than that day.
It seems a long time since James Doyle was the fresh faced stable jockey for Roger Charlton but the Godolphin retained horseman teams up with his former boss on Temptress who may be open to improvement and has a light weight on her back.
Richard Hughes and Roger Charlton team up with Lincoln here and the horse has some good placed efforts both here and at Haydock. The very promising Charles Bishop took the rides then and the champion jockey taking over is a positive.
The Sandringham is a handicap for 3 year olds run over the straight mile and features one stand out horse that could well go off a very strong favourite. Always Smile was 5/2 last night and could well be very short by the off and is easily the most progressive of these lot. The three wins she has had coming into this have worked out well with winners coming from each race. She has been raised 11lbs for her last win at Doncaster but she should be good enough to overcome that.
Next best may well be Kodiva who is making a seasonal reappearance here and is an interesting runner for Charles Hills. Oisin Murphy, tipped for huge things but having a quiet time, is on board and will see this as a good chance to win a big handicap. He is somewhat a victim of his own success with his retainer for Qatar Racing only producing 6 winners this season as he is second jockey.
Osaila, who disappointed the last day but has a bit to offer and Risen Sun who ran well last time out make up the remainder of the interesting ones.
Always Smile (WIN)