Royal Ascot: Day 4

It was Ryan Moore day yesterday as he rode a treble on the card to take him level with Pat Eddery and Lester Piggott on eight wins for the week. A winner over the next two days will see him break that record and it is likely to happen today.

Part of that 786/1 treble was the progressive Curvy, who won the Ribblesdale beating the well-fancied Pleascach; that was a selection put up at 6/1.

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Trip To Paris (put up at 12/1) won the Gold Cup, which is the feature race of the meeting. After being supplemented for £35,000 he showed a good turn of foot under Graham Lee to hold off an unlucky Ryan Moore on Kingfisher and the well-fancied Forgotten Rules. It is likely that he could head Down Under for the Melbourne Cup.

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Time Test, was another winning selection yesterday; he was mightily impressive winning the Tercentenary Stakes by over 3l to Peacock. He is one to watch this season and is likely to step up further this season.

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Space Age came from the widest of all draws and made all to give Charlie Appleby his first Royal Ascot winner.

14:30 Albany Stakes

A race over 6f for two-year-old fillies to show their speed and power. Overall this is more of a race I’m willing to watch rather than bet on with most only having one or two starts. Previous winners of this race have come from close to the fore in the betting, so it could be telling to follow the market in all honesty.

Illuminate caused an upset on her first start overturning the 1/3 favourite Great Page in a Conditions race at Salisbury. Great Page was in behind and did win on her next start giving the form some substance. She came away well on debut and is more than likely to build on that performance. She is drawn just off the middle, so should be able to get a good position dropped into the pack and if the gaps come she could show her turn of foot through this field.

Wesley Ward has two runners and he says that Back At The Ranch has ‘improved immensely’ for both of her starts, which have come on dirt. However don’t be put off by that as she is a half-sister to winners on turf plus her sire Artie Schiller, won the Breeders Cup Mile ran on the turf. Again the trainer is bullish about her chances and you have to respect that, as he had the same confidence in Acapulco, who won the Queen Mary. His other runner Laxfield Road is one he thinks will relish the quick going and he described her as a ‘very fast filly.’ She won her debut over 5f by over 11l and stepping up in trip is something that could suit her. Drawn from stall five she is likely to try and take them along.

There are two Mark Johnston runners in the race and they’ll only know one way to go. First Party made all on debut at Nottingham in what looks like a weak Maiden, so needs to find another level while Fireglow sat with the leader before kicking 2f from home and held off Glenrowan Rose to win by a neck. The form of that Catterick Maiden is stronger, as the second and third both won on their next starts. However First Party looked more suited for this step-up in trip.

The two that I did like are drawn next to each other in stall 18 and 19, which in this race isn’t ideal. Kevin Ryan has had a few near misses this week and Ashadihan won very nicely on debut at Haydock. She beat Martini Time by 3l staying on really strongly. However the ones to run since that race haven’t given it any substance but the manner of her victory was taking. If she can overcome the draw then she is a player. As is Tutu Nguru, who won her Maiden on the polytrack at Lingfield but did it nicely considering she was slow away. Again if she is slow away here with this draw then that could be curtains however she should be more aware for her debut. The second from that Maiden won next up franking the form, while the third improved to be second on her next start. Her pedigree suggests she should go well on turf being a half-sister to Keening. Her pedigree suggests she could get a mile in time and for me is one to possibly take out of this race for the future.

Our Joy was second on debut to Kassia who made eye catching late progress to finish fifth in the Queen Mary on her next start. The Maiden they ran in at Sandown looks of a good standard and she should be able to build on her debut. Her pedigree is another good one and she is one that should be a nice prospect in time.

Advice: Tutu Nguru (14/1 each-way)


15:05 King Edward VII Stakes

Just seven will be going to post in this Group 2 race over a mile-and-a-half. This is a race where Sir Michael Stoute has had six winners dating back 1983 and I expect that list to become seven this afternoon. Stravagante will be running in new colours after Al Shaqab purchased a share in him. Third behind Jack Hobbs on his reappearance at Sandown, he then built on that to win an Epsom Handicap by over 3l. He travelled nicely and came clear in the final furlong to suggest that this trip should suit. If he can be settled early on by Frankie Dettori then we could see how good he really is. So far this week we have seen a fair few handicappers stepping into Group company for the first time and winning. If this were to be the case here then it wouldn’t be a surprise.

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Will this be the start of the Ryan Moore show again? He takes the ride on the top rated Ol’ Man River, who is a well-bred colt. His two starts this season have been disappointing. He was last of 18 in the 2000 Guineas where he went off at 6/1 before only beating one home in stablemate John F Kennedy when running in the Dante at York. This trip shouldn’t be a problem being from Montjeu but he has to prove himself and get back on track following hose two poor showings. There may have been a breathing issue in those two races because today he races in the first-time tongue-tie, which could see some improvement. If anyone can get him back then it is the man of the moment Ryan Moore.

John Gosden has trained two of the last four winners of this race and he saddles Mr Singh here. He has built upon his all-weather debut by winning a 1m3f Newbury Maiden, from which the second (Scottish) and third (Fabricate) have won since giving that form some credibility. His race last month saw him finish fifth at Goodwood however he made no impression after dwelling in the stalls and only beat one home. The horse that won that race at Goodwood went on to finish third in the Derby by two better than average types. However he does need to improve further for this.

Balios is lightly raced only having two starts. He won his Kempton Maiden nicely before finishing second in a Listed race when last seen in early May. The horse that beat him home finished second to Storm The Stars at Goodwood next time out suggesting he could be useful, so don’t rule out this David Simcock trained colt whose pedigree shouts for this trip.

Advice: Stravagante (5/2 win)


15:30 Commonwealth Cup

This is the new Group 1 for three-year-olds raced over 6f. All eyes will be on the Wesley Ward trainer Hootenanny, who won the Windsor Castle Stakes last year over 5f. He followed that up with a second on softer ground at Deauville when finishing behind The Wow Signal in the Prix Morny before returning to America to win the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf over a mile. His first start back this season was winning over this trip at Keeneland. He looks the one to beat, as he has plenty of speed, but my concern is that can he replicate the Windsor Castle success and the manner in which he won it. I have my doubts. Ryan Moore takes the ride and this is one of his main fancies on the day, which could take him past the record for amount of winners ridden at Royal Ascot.

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Tiggy Wiggy is back to sprinting after attempts at 7f and a mile, when she was third in the Guineas. She was a leading two-year-old sprinter and finished that campaign by beating Anthem Alexander in the Cheveley Park at Newmarket. We’ve seen what she can do at this trip previously but again does she have the potential to improve again at this level. Anthem Alexander ahs finished behind her twice but did beat her here at Royal Ascot in the Queen Mary last year. Edward Lynam’s sprinters aren’t in bad shape and this one won on less than ideal ground at Naas and the trainer says she always improves for the run.

Adaay is the one I’m willing to give the vote to. He is an improving three-year-old and one that still build on his recent success. His three runs so far this season have been in a Group 3 finishing third and his two others, including success in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock where he beat Limato; for which he has gone up 4lb. The quicker ground isn’t a problem and he seems to have a good enough draw from stall six. In a race like this you need some luck in running and if the gaps appear he is one that can find them and weave a passage through the field late on.

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Limato was unbeaten in his first five starts but tasted defeat for the first time when beaten by Adaay at Haydock, as mentioned above. He can easily bounce back today with the ground being more favourable here. At Haydock is was less than ideal (good ground) for him and a return to this firm, quick ground should see him back to his best. He has a good draw close to Hootenanny and if he breaks well he could track him through before challenging, if he has a good enough turn of foot. Muhaarar is an interesting runner after running in the French 2000 Guineas last time out. He is another that should prefer the return to this quicker ground and had some good efforts as a juvenile at sprinting. A stiff test like this should suit but the only concern is if he has the quality to match some of his rivals here.

Just one to mention at a bigger price is New Providence. This Hugo Palmer filly hasn’t got many wins to her name in recent times but she still has an excellent record. She has raced nine times, winning three and placed on all other starts. She won a Group 3 Fillies Stakes at Salisbury over this trip as a two-year-old and her next performance saw her finish third in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes and that form is holding up. She finished behind Lucida (runs later) and Fadhayyil, second in the Jersey Stakes. Her three starts this season haven’t been bad, two seconds in Group 3 company, including one behind Osaila and then a third in the Sandy Lane Stakes, for which she has gone up 3lb. Drawn nicely in stall seven and will stay on strongly towards the finish. This is a big ask but I think she is one that is too big in the market.

Advice: Adaay (9/1 each-way)

            New Providence (33/1 each-way)


16:20 Coronation Stakes

Found was second in the Irish 1000 Guineas to Pleascach when she was last seen on the track 26 days ago. Yesterday Pleascach finished second in the Ribblesdale after bumping into the highly progressive Curvy, that run suggests that the Irish 1000 Guineas form will be solid. She finished last season’s campaign with a win over Ervedya in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp and looks like holding that form here with conditions to suit. The fact that the handicapper is giving her 3lb back after her two runs this season looks lenient considering they have both been seconds in the Group races. It looks like this is going to be her final attempt at a mile when you look at some of her entries, which include the Eclipse (1m2f) and Irish Oaks (1m4f). Those trips are likely to suit her better in my opinion, as she can bring her stamina and speed to the fore. Ryan Moore is in the form of his life and she is likely to go off at an artificially short price, well shorter than she should be. For that reason I’m willing to take her on.

Lucida would be the one to take Found one with. Trained in Ireland by Jim Bolger for Godolphin she had decent juvenile campaign finishing second in Group 1 and Group 2 races. She made a bold showing on her seasonal return when finishing second in the 1000 Guineas by the fast finishing Legatissimo, who followed that up with a second in the Oaks. The form of that race is still taking shape but the fifth placed Fadhayyil was second next time out in the Jersey Stakes while Osaila, who finished seventh, won the Sandringham Listed race. The fact that was her seasonal reappearance was encouraging and she should be fitter for that run. Conditions are in her favour and she looks the one to side with.

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Ervedya was second to Found, as mentioned above. She has won on five of her seven career starts only beaten by Found and The Wow Signal. On her second start this season she won the French 1000 Guineas beating Martyn Meade’s Irish Rookie, who was also sixth in the 1000 Guineas. In that French 1000 Guineas she quickened well in the final furlong to pass Irish Rookie and she could do the same today. For me the conditions are against her; she has won on good ground but she has never raced on anything quicker and that would be my concern. Meanwhile Irish Rookie could be slightly overpriced. Her form claims are solid enough to give her a chance in this. She won both of her two starts as a juvenile including beating eventual Oaks third Lady Of Dubai. Her first start this season was a good sixth in the Guineas and the horses that finished around her have won next time out. She is one that can get a place at a nice price for punters.

It is also worth mentioning the John Gosden pair. Sperry beat Yasmeen in a Listed race at York last time out and is likely to hold that form up here. However both look they would need a serious improvement to challenge the main market protagonists. Sperry has won both of her starts over a mile this season while Yasmeen is likely to improve further for her York second. Both each-way prices, if you were willing to side with them, but strength in the market would be a good indication.

Advice: Lucida (7/2 each-way)

17:00 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes

A nice 17-runner Handicap for the penultimate race of the day. Just be warned there are already two non-runners, them being John Reel and Sennockian Star.

My first pick in this race is the progressive Amanda Perrett colt Astronereus. He is one that has been building on his performances and can continue that here. His two previous starts at this track have seen him finish second and fourth; the fourth in the Heritage Handicap doesn’t look too bad as the horse that finished a place in front of him went on to win a Listed race next time out. He was second, beaten by a nose to Our Gabrial on Shergar Cup day. He won when he was last season at Newmarket beating Quest For More with a few of his rivals today in behind. He has been progressive so could overcome the 7lb rise for that win.

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Arab Dawn could be another progressive type and doesn’t look too badly treated. He was third to Astronereus at Newmarket and has some solid claims with his previous runs. You wouldn’t think the draw would play too much in a race over this distance, especially as over this distance yesterday Space Age won the King George V Stakes from the widest of all draws; Arab Dawn was also fifth in that race last year. Hughie Morrison says he has ‘plenty more scope’ and could be one for later in the season.

Igider is a lightly raced four-year-old and is making good progress over this trip. He made his reappearance at Hamilton when disappointing but Roger Varian admitted it was the wrong place to send him for that run. However he won a Doncaster Handicap by 5l next time out and has gone up 9lb for that success. Again he is one that can keep improving through the summer. His current price is short enough. I was keen on the Mark Johnston runner Watersmeet however he may be best at left-handed tracks. He completed a hat-trick on the all-weather in March and April when front-running and making all to win. His first start on turf wasn’t a bad one finishing fourth to Astronereus despite hanging badly. He built upon that effort when winning when he was last seen three weeks ago. One that is improving quickly and will make a bold show from the front.

Ajman Bridge is a horse that should relish this sort of test. He hasn’t won since his first two starts as a juvenile however he has been putting in some good performances and his mark continually rises. He runs off 100 here, which is 5lb higher than when he started this season. He was second to Razor Wind at Doncaster and then finished third at York over this trip behind Notarised. He can be held-up and settled in midfield then Adam Kirby can take him to challenge. A fast pace over this trip is what is likely to see him at his best.

Ajman Bridge finishing second to Border Legend at Newbury. Image from PA Wire.

Ajman Bridge finishing second to Border Legend at Newbury. Image from PA Wire.

Dashing Star is likely to go off short with Ryan Moore taking the ride. He was second behind Watersmeet last time out and is 2lb for that. He could build upon that showing but will want to front-run, so will have to overcome a wide draw. Short enough already this morning as his last win was two years ago. Gold Trail has done well on the all-weather and still has to prove he can do it on turf. He was a good second behind Winter Thunder at Newmarket nearly a year ago. However if you look at his most recent run, he was third to Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris at Lingfield with Fire Fighting who won the Zetland Cup at Redcar after that. Overall he may want more cut in the ground.

Advice: Astronereus (10/1 each-way)

            Ajman Bridge (8/1 each-way)

17:30 Queens Vase

This is a tricky race to find the winner. A Listed race over 2m when none of the field have tried this before, which is made trickier by my initial fancy being a non-runner. In previous years this race has provided favourite backers with the winner with the last five favourites winning in the past ten years. The other five winners have also been single figure prices.

I’ll start with the favourite Aloft. Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore team up again however he is already a short priced favourite. He has good form figures and he won his Maiden on his second start at Newmarket where it has turned out he beat Storm The Stars, who won the Chester Vase and finished third in the Derby. He followed that up with a run on soft ground finishing second to Elm Park. Looking at his pedigree then I’m struggling to see how he gets the trip, everything about him shouts sprinter. The cheekpieces and tongue-tie are on suggesting he might be a quirky type and they could bring out improvement. At the current price and doubts about him over this trip I’ll pass him over. His stablemate Bantry Bay looks likely to stay and it is interesting that money is coming for him this morning.

One that has suggested he could see out this trip would be Antiquarium. Four starts and three of them have been wins, his latest was over 1m4f. He won a four runner Handicap at Newmarket last time out by nearly 4l and he stayed on strongly at the finish, which gave the impression he should go well here. His half-sister Scott’s View was a winner over 1m6f, so there is some stamina in his pedigree, which gives you a tad more confidence when compared to the favourite.

Sir Michael Stoute runners tend to go well in this race and Yarrow could continue that trend. She has a win over 1m4f and a very good 2nd over the same trip. She was behind Fabricate on her seasonal debut before building on that to win by 5l at Leicester. The ground won’t be an issue and is likely to build on that with her looking like a stayer. It is similar with Mark Johnston runners but his entry this year has a bit to find. Vive Ma Fille looks to have the stamina to go this trip but is the most exposed of the field. She was well beaten in an Oaks trail at Lingfield in this class. Her two efforts since have been in Class 4 and Class 2 races, finishing second on both occasions.

Great Glen is still a maiden after three starts. He was fourth on debut over 1m beaten by only ½l by Aloft. He built on that to finish second on his next start over 1m2f, which was his seasonal debut in April. He attempted a Listed race last month at Goodwood in the Cocked Hat Stakes, which was won by the recurring theme of today Storm The Stars. He is one that should relish this trip with his half-brother Openly winning over 1m6f and is a half-sister to Gunslinger, who was also a winner at that distance. This screams out to be ideal for him and Ralph Beckett can break the trend of the recent trainer domination.

Advice: Antiquarium (8/1 each-way)

            Great Glen (9/1 each-way)


Good Luck!


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