Royal Ascot ~ Day 3
Norfolk Stakes 14.30: 1 – #13 Project Dante 2 – #2 Cadamosto – #8 Little Earl
Project Dante won very snugly on debut and the form is working out well (Korker who runs here won well next time out) and I fancy this guy to make plenty of progression on this second run (trainer had a juvenile run well yesterday too)
Similar comments apply to Go Bears Go who looks a ready made 2yo and won nicely first time out over course and distance on soft ground. He should progress a little bit more too and hopefully be in the shake up.
Cadamosto absolutely needs fast ground. It looks like he will get it here and we will see what he is made of. He has been non runner 6 times, mainly on account of the ground but the form of his debut run in Dundalk has been franked and I like him a lot here now that the rain has stayed away.
I believe Little Earl could pop up here. He has already proven himself up to a very decent level and that race experience will help. Trainer is confident of a big run and I will happily take those bigger odds on offer.
Hampton Court Stakes 15.05: 1 – #3 Mohaafeth 2 – #6 Pythagoras
Mohaafeth is certainly the horse to beat and would have been a very strong favourite on fast ground. If the rain arrives, it may bring others into contention but unless it gets very very soft, I think he should be OK on it – he rates as the banker of the day on firmer turf.
Like the second race yesterday, its a tricky puzzle with all these 3yos developing at different rates and multiple trainer entries but one horse I see progressing run after run is Pythagorus and at a big price, will have a saver on him.
Ribblesdale Stakes 15.40: 1 – #11 Noon Star 2 – #1 Ad Infinitum 3 – #10 Nicest
Noon Star looks the one to beat with her run in the Musidora upgraded by the subsequent Oaks result. She wont mind any ground and think she is a worthy favourite.
Ad Infinitum still looked very green when winning well on soft at Goodwood and step up should be OK and I think she will improve for this step up and better horses bringing her into the race for longer.
Nicest has impeccable breeding (American Pharoah out of an Irish Oaks winner) and will like the step up in trip and ground shouldn’t be an issue. There is a nice race in her and Donnacha O’Brien is quietly confident.
Gold Cup 16.20: 1 – #9 Emperor Of The Sun 2 – #3 Spanish Mission 3 – #6 Twilight Payment
Stradivarius’ form is there and very difficult to knock but I wasn’t as convinced as others from his comeback run (no horse that has run back has run well) and I think there are better quality horses this year versus last year. Frankie also has the dilemma of top quality 12f-14f horses like Serpentine to cover if they don’t go fast but also watch out for something coming late – it will be fascinating as always.
A young stayer on the up is Emperor Of The Sun who goes well with cut in the ground and while he has only ran up to 1m6f, that form has been excellent this year and he should stay at least 2m, but it is always the last half mile that is the question.
Of the outsiders, I was surprised to see Princess Zoe at a big price as she will relish every yard of the trip and will love every drop of rain that falls – I want her to be on my side and could run them all down late if they start racing early. She may not run if they don’t get enough
Spanish Mission started his domestic campaign with a nice win in York – we know he stays 2m2f and if the ground stays quick, he has a good short staying the trip.
And finally, Twilight Payment’s form over 2m is excellent (last time over 2m won the Melbourne Cup) and has the potential to stay this extra half mile – ground if it stays fast should be perfect.
Brittania Stakes 17.00: 1 – #15 Liffey River 2 – #29 Air To Air 3 – #26 Ataser
I think the most difficult handicap of the week and one that I historically don’t do that well with. However, we still give it a strong look and come away with a few fancies.
Top selection is Liffey River for Joseph O’Brien who is in form, has done well over 7f but step up to 8f should be perfect and with only 5 runs, still can progress quite a bit – his trainer is well able to eek out more improvement run by run.
Next best is Air To Air who has been well flagged up by most but looks a rapid improver and comes in here off a feather weight – there is plenty of upsides and I want him onside.
Finally, I think Ataser will go relatively ignored in the market making his seasonal reappearance for relatively new (but highly experienced) trainer TJ Kent. He kept steadily improving last year not winning by much and with a winter of growing / improving, he may have a few pounds in hand – he will need it though!
King George V Stakes 17.35: 1 – #15 Parachute 2 – #2 Siskany 3 – #6 Francesco Guardi
Where to start here!! A tricky puzzle to solve. I am happy to chance a few long shots in this situation but keeping one of the potential pace setters on side.
Top selection is Parachute who is proven over the trip, still looks well handicapped and should go on the ground. The mark of 88 looks very fair and he could have a good few pounds in hand.
Siskany looks to be another in the conveyor belt of Charlie Appleby 12f improvers and Buick should be on or near the lead and have plenty of options.
Finally, we may know our fate early if he doesn’t settle but I think there could be a big run from Francesco Guardi. He’s had the one run this year where despite taking an age to settle wasn’t disgraced and there should be lots more to come from him but he needs to settle first and then we have a chance.
Buckingham Palace Stakes 18.10: 1 – #15 Persuasion 2 – #5 Symbolize 3 – #20 Whatharm
Another fiendishly difficult handicap to finish things off with 29 horses going 7f on the straight course.
Top pick is Persuasion, a highly tried 3yo but back in calmer waters of handicaps looks the type to progress and show his early potential. He is drawn high which may not fully suit if the rain comes but we will try not overthink things too much with any potential biases.
Nest best, and drawn on the other side is a personal favourite of mine Symbolize – he has done well at this meeting the last 2 years in listed / group company. He came 2nd to a fast improver first time up this year and then lost a shoe and didn’t finish off as strongly as expected last time out – with a less arduous run, he should be able to run a huge race.
Lastly, Whatharm makes the trip over from Ireland for Pat Flynn – he was known as an all weather specialist but ran well in Cork last time out and I think he still has some improving to come on turf and has a nice mark of 95.