John Gosden has his stable in fantastic order at the moment and looks to have a great chance of another big Saturday winner with Waady. He has been racing with credit at the highest level for the last couple of seasons and will benefit from the drop back in class here. A winner of six from eleven over the minimum trip he looks tough to oppose in the TV opener.
That said, the shortest price winner of this race in the last ten years was 9/2 last year so the likes of Kyllang Rock and Mirza, who both have decent strike rates over five furlongs, cannot be discounted, while Sire Robert Cheval has made the frame in four from seven at the course and was only just denied over course and distance last time out so has place claims again.
Marie Of Lyon defied a 6lbs penalty to record a quick-fire double last month but has a further 5lbs to contend with here. The booking of Ryan Moore suggests another big run could be on the cards but regardless I’m happy to look elsewhere.
Kassia had a fantastic 2016 and although is yet to scale the same heights so far this season she hinted at a return to form with a solid second last month and looks a decent each way option at early double figure odds.
Eartha Kitt has made the frame in all five runs over today’s trip and is unlikely to be too far away, while Gravity Flow needs to improve on recent runs but has dropped to just 2lbs above his last winning mark and is another with a great record over six furlongs.
Waldgeist sets the standard having won a Group 1 race last Autumn and has come very close in a couple this season but, despite the drop to a Group 3 for today, he didn’t totally convince he stays this trip last time out and comes up against a couple of rivals in Secret Number and Great Hall who have solid course and distance form.
Secret Number has won 50% of all races over twelve furlongs, including this race in 2013, and his trainer Saeed Bin Suroor has won this race again last year so it would be no surprise if he were to emerge victorious again today.
That said, I am opting for Great Hall who is two from two over track and trip and deserves to take his chance at this level following three impressive victories under Fran Berry in recent months.
Great Hall (E/W)
Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore teamed up to win this race with Alice Springs last year and attempt to emerge victorious again with tough filly Roly Poly. Twice a Group 2 winner in the summer, she finished behind rivals Persuasive and Qemah when slightly disappointing last time out and could be feeling the effects of the seven group races already ran this season.
Aljazzi was less than a length behind Qemah in the Duke Of Cambridge and improved to beat Nathra by three lengths next time out, whereas Qemah has lost twice since but wasn’t beaten far in either and both look capable of getting involved.
Preference is for Persuasive who won her first five career races and has only been narrowly beaten in three Group 1’s since stepping up to the top grade. She was narrowly denied by an Aiden O’Brien runner in each of these three and should gain compensation here.
Persuasive (WIN) – NAP
Another short-priced favourite greets us at Ascot and it would be somewhat of a surprise if Blue Point didn’t line up in the winners’ enclosure after the race. A winner of four from eight over the trip and having beat Harry Angel earlier in the year he brings the best form to the table and should get back to winning ways here.
Magical Memory has a decent record over the trip and having won in all types of ground conditions he may be the biggest danger to the favourite, especially if we see a fair bit of rain on the day.
Second Thought has done all his winning on the all-weather so far but with three wins and a second from four over the trip he could also make his presence felt if transferring this form to the turf.
Blue Point (WIN)
With twenty-three runners and winners coming in at odds of 12/1, 20/1 and 40/1 over the last ten years this looks to be a bit of a lottery of a race for punters. We’ll begin by looking at Never Back Down who stayed on well to beat four subsequent winners when last seen in April. The break since is a bit of a concern but with both trainer and jockey in good form he could be capable of collecting place money.
Richard Fahey sends eight runners with Darkanna the early favourite following an excellent fifth in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket last week. On the back of that run you can see why he’s at the head of the market but it’s a big ask to put in another performance in a tough looking race so soon after racing in a Group 1.
Red Roman is proven over the trip and won’t mind a bit of rain while Chatburn is proven at the course but both victories came over the minimum trip.
Never Back Down (E/W)
Mojito has won his last three and has a 50% winning strike rate over today’s trip but has been hit with a 9lbs rise which could leave him vulnerable.
Lord Glitters makes his debut for David O’Meara following two victories over a mile in France while Burnt Sugar, Makzeem and Johnny Barnes also arrive in decent form but at the foot of the weights I’m opting for Raising Sand who has made the frame in all three previous visits to Ascot, winning twice, and finished strongly over seven furlongs off today’s mark last time out. Despite a poor start he was gaining on the leaders with every stride inside the final furlong and looks to have a great chance of making the frame with a better start here.
Raising Sand (E/W)