Day Two and the dream week continued for Adam Kirby, who steered My Dream Boat to a shock victory in the Prince Of Wales. We were right to go no bet on that race, as A Shin Hikari went the way of every Japanese Royal Ascot runner ever and Found yet again found one too good. Ribchester confirmed the English Guineas form in the opening race of the day, whilst Lady Aurelia was quite simply jawdropping. If you haven’t seen the race, and have only read about it, I urge you to find a replay. Our selection Al Johrah was a fine second, clear of the rest, but was absolutely no match for the American rocket. Finally Usherette gave us our first win of the week, before Portage and Persuasive were convincing winners of their handicaps.
2:30, Norfolk Stakes, 5f, 2yo.
Global Applause leads the market and Frankie is in fine form this week, but the ground will be a definite unknown for this colt – he has previously raced on either good or firm – and once again we will try and look elsewhere for a bit more value.
Ryan Moore has ridden Global Applause on all his three starts to date, but instead takes his Coolmore job on PEACE ENVOY, who has encountered soft ground before and won nicely over 6 furlongs at Naas last time out. This demands more but if the ground turns it into a stamina test, this colt could come out on top.
SILVER LINE looked smart when winning at Nottingham on his debut, and given the week the boys in blue are having he must be of serious consideration. I was rather taken by Prince Of Lir for Robert Cowell and Luke Morris on his debut at Beverley last month. He received weight from his more experienced rivals but it was still a taking performance and I think he can progress in the style of the Windsor Castle winner Ardad. He’s one to keep an eye on.
Selection: PEACE ENVOY
Alternative: SILVER LINE
3:05, Tercentenary Stakes, 1m2f, 3yo.
Last year this race was won in coruscating style by Time Test, and it would be surprising if there would be a winner in similar fashion this time around. It looks a competitive, quality renewal however with plenty going in with live chances. The fact that there are six horses from a field of nine in single figure odds shows just how competitive it is. I really like the chances of Blue De Vega if he handles the step up in trip; his Irish 2000 Guineas form has been franked and whilst he was not of the quality of Awtaad and Galileo Gold, he wouldn’t necessarily need to be. What does put me off is the combination of extra distance and the soft ground; if it dries out markedly he would be worth serious consideration.
Long Island Sound has won on all three starts but would need to find more. Instead I’m going for two Godolphin colts in HAWKBILL, who won well at Newmarket over 10 furlongs last time out, and PRIZE MONEY, who hasn’t yet got his nose in front this season but has shown good form in both those races.
Alternative: PRIZE MONEY
3:40, Ribblesdale Stakes, 1m4f, 3yo fillies.
For my Oaks preview, I wrote the following of ARCHITECTURE:
“If she finds a similar amount of improvement again, you can certainly see her threatening the places. My gut feeling is that the Oaks may come just too soon for her and she’ll be winning some valuable races later in the season.”
She certainly did improve, and finished an excellent second to Minding; that piece of form puts her miles ahead of anything else in the field and if she has recovered from those exertions she won’t have a problem with the ground or distance. Caution must be taken, given that Hugo Palmer’s instinct following the Oaks was that she would miss this race, but it’s a chance worth taking. It’s another of Hugo Palmer’s charges that I want as an alternative in WE ARE NINETY, who has a similarly progressive profile and to me seems a bit under the radar. This is largely because Palmer said after the Oaks that he wanted to keep Architecture and We Are Ninety separate for as long as possible, so he must rate the latter filly’s chances; it’s only because they have different owners and Architecture’s owners naturally want to run at Royal Ascot that they clash here. Even Song looks a big threat but we’ll hope Hugo can bring home the prize.
Alternative: WE ARE NINETY each way
4:20, Gold Cup, 2m4f, 4yo+.
This marathon race effectively revolves around Order Of St George and more particularly his stamina. His class is unquestionable; he destroyed the Irish Leger field by 11 lengths in last year’s Classic – as a 3yo, with the Irish version not being restricted to the Classic generation, it was even more impressive. His trainer’s record in this race is unquestionable. He did everything expected of him on his season reappearance earlier this month. But this race is six furlongs further than he’s ever gone before; but much like the questions over Minding’s stamina, I’m confident his class will more than outweigh those.
Max Dynamite will be a threat for Mullins and Smullen, whilst the in-form duo of Gosden and Dettori can’t be ruled out with Flying Officer. However, in spite of his slow start to the season, I like CLEVER COOKIE as an alternative. He should appreciate a bit of toe in the ground and has improved for each start this year and his now nearing his peak.
Selection: ORDER OF ST GEORGE
Alternative: CLEVER COOKIE each way
5:00, Britannia Stakes, 1m, 3yo.
Another mile handicap, and yet another huge field. Librisi Breeze ran a huge race yesterday to finish second to Portage, and so it makes sense to look at his runner FIGHTING TEMERAIRE. Although he has not won in his last three starts, the latter two have been decent seconds in big field handicaps, and he certainly seems open to further improvement. The way he’s finished his races suggests he will appreciate the extra furlong as well.
I like the look of Monarch, Chief Whip and Garcia as well, whilst Folkswood surely can’t be ruled out, but it’s OH THIS IS US that also makes attraction as he seeks a four-timer. Granted, he has gone up significantly in the weights, but it’s hard to know when horses are going to stop improving, especially as 3yos. With Fighting Temeraire drawn in stall 24 and Oh This Is Us in stall 3, we should have an interest on either side of the race.
5:35, King George V Stakes, 1m4f, 3yo.
Primitivo is also on a four-timer for Alan King and Willy Twiston-Davies, but I’m really struggling to separate Primitivo, Lovell and Shraaoh at the head of the market. So instead we’ll look at a couple of double-figure prices.
First up is HARRISON for the Mick Channon yard. He was quoted before the Dante that this colt could be his best since Youmzain; no faint praise and he certainly didn’t disgrace himself in a Dante that featured some live Derby contenders. Dropped back into handicap company, he could resume his progress. We only got a place with our Royal selection in the last yesterday, but we’ll try again with GUY FAWKES, who put in an explosive performance at Redcar on his seasonal debut to win comfortably eased down. He looks extremely unexposed and whilst he won’t have encountered this ground before, it hopefully won’t stop him.
Selection: HARRISON each way
Alternative: GUY FAWKES each way
I’ll be back tomorrow morning,