Royal Ascot 👑 Day 4
It looks like the weather has been torrential so handicapping on the basis of soft ground. It is going to be very different than the first 3 days. Expect plenty of non runners as well!
Albany Stakes 14.30: 1 – #13 Sandrine 2 – #5 Eve Lodge 3 – #15 Sunstrike
This is shaping up to be a belter of a race with Flotus, Hello You and Prettiest all coming in as very interesting (and hyped) first time out winners.
I will try to look elsewhere to secure some value.
Starting point is Sandrine who won well first time out and the form has really worked out well. She beat Oscula (runs here) who has won twice since but we get 2.5 times the price – yes please! I don’t think she will mind the softer conditions and she should be staying on better than most. The trainer had the winner of the Coventry (Berkshire Shadow) with just one winning start as well.
Next is Eve Lodge who I fancied on Tuesday before being withdrawn due to the fast ground – she should be more at home on soft – there is a little question mark over the 6f trip but happy to keep her on side.
Finally, Sunstrike was well behind Flotus on debut but she won well last time out and this straight mile will suit a lot more than the tricky Goodwood track and she should be able to cope with the softer terrain.
King Edward VII Stakes 15.05: 1 – #3 Belloccio 2 – #4 Gloucestershire
I find these 3yo colt races very tricky this year so treading somewhat carefully. Happy to take on the favourite Alenquer all day long – we can see he beat the Derby winner last time out but there was a strong pace bias that day and I think he was flattered by the result.
I am happy to take Belloccio as top pick who will relish the soft ground and can come on leaps and bounds from his first two runs this year.
Secondly, I will have a saver on Gloucestershire for Team Valor who has just the one run last year (won well) and while he might come on plenty for it, I am hoping at a price he can get into the money.
Commonwealth Cup 15.40: 1 – #21 Suesa 2 – #1 A Case Of You 3 – #8 Method 4 – #19 Mooneista
This is going to be a cracker. The more I watch Suesa, the more I like her in this spot. She has been ultra impressive on different surfaces this year and a confident top pick. I know with Brexit, the transport of horses between Europe and Britain is a little trickier this year compared to historically which worries me a little in that any changes may have a small impact on performance and the draw perhaps isn’t ideal alway from the main pace angles but the positives outweigh the negatives.
Next up is A Case Of You who should absolutely adore the soft ground and has run to a good level in Ireland this year.
I will give Method another chance to show what he is made of. I thought he ran well for a long way on his reappearance on heavy ground at Haydock and if he comes on a ton for that, he should be in the shake up at a price – his trainer won it 2 years ago with Advertise who won this second up and improved quite a bit.
I didn’t want to leave out Mooneista who has form that ties in with A Case Of You and will be a big price for under the radar trainer Jack Davison. The ground has come right for her.
Coronation Stakes 16.20: 1 – #2 Empress Josephine 2 – #10 Pretty Gorgeous 3 – #12 Shale
I was keen to tip up German raider Novemba but the price has collapsed in the past day with all the rain and I think she is a little on the short side. Her run in the German Guineas was very impressive but she faces a higher quality field today and from 1, needs to jump smartly and may get pressed on the lead.
I have chopped and changed my opinion on this plenty of times but have settled on Empress Josephine as my top pick – she comes in off a heavy ground Irish 1000 Guineas win and the ground will be in her favour – this stiff finish will help. The worry is that they may not go that quick so I am hoping that Novemba does not get a freebie in front and Flirting Bridge and / or Lullaby Moon are close at hand.
Second is Pretty Gorgeous who looked to be very comfortable on soft ground last year. She had a bit of a hold up this spring and ran well up to the furlong point in the Irish 1000 Guineas. If she makes the expected progression, she can get much closer to Empress Josephine (3 lengths to find).
A forgotten horse in the lineup is Pretty Gorgeous’s nemeses last year Shale. They raced 4 times splitting it 2-2 and she is another that could step up drastically on her one run over 7f on good ground this year. She may not love the soft as much as the two above but it isn’t a massive negative and is a big price to run for us.
Sandringham Stakes 17.00: 1 – #12 Camdeboo 2 – #12 Camdeboo 3 – #11 Prado
The ground has come right for Create Belief who looks so at home of soft and can continue her climb up the ranks. She kept finding last time at the Curragh. She has been well backed but the gamble makes sense to me. She is my top selection.
Camdeboo is next up – the soft ground is a worry as we don’t know exactly how she may fare but the manner of her win over 7f earlier this year, I think a mile should be fine and he last run in listed company against Commonwealth Cup hope Measure of Magic shows that she may be capable of a rating higher than 93.
Final selection is Prado for Charlie Hills and Jamie Spencer. She ran well on course last time out, falling out of stalls before showing a little progress. In a strongly run race like this and drawn near the rail, I think race dynamics will really suit her and I can see her running massive race off a mark of 93.
Duke of Edinburgh Stakes 17.35: 1 – #13 Quickthorn 2 – #8 Scarlet Dragon 3 – #1 Alounak
Quickthorn is a deserving favourite, ticks all the boxes and trip / ground / pace set up all in his favour. I like him a lot.
I swore to myself that I would not go back to Scarlet Dragon as we had out fun last year with him but the more I look at the race dynamics (soft ground / lots of pace), the more he make sense. I will use him here as second choice and see if lightning strikes twice!
Lastly, it would be criminal if I didn’t include Alounak on my ticket. He is a tough horse to figure out but he did come second to Fanny Logan over 12f at this meeting last year and won’t mind the ground the way it is. He did rather go off the boil after that last year but if he does take a step forward from his reappearance, he could make a mockery of his mark of 104.
Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes 18.10: 1 – #24 Fantasy Master 2 – #6 Warrior Brave 3 – #5 Hala Hala Hala
This looks completely impossible and with the ground predicted to be very soft by race end, I am looking for something that will go through the ground OK.
Starting point is Fantasy Master who looks sure to be a massive price. He has won on soft last year and last time out, I was really impressed by his attitude on faster ground than he would have liked, he kept trying and you will need that here today.
Next is his stablemate Warrior Brave who is unproven on the ground but comes here 7 pounds well in after his listed runner up run last week and I do like the “sprinters in form” angle – he has blinkers on for the first time too which I see as a big positive.
Lastly, Hala Hala Hala has some good form from last year in Group company – she was a little disappointing first time out but this handicap should be much more to her liking and Exceed and Excel tends to get a lot of runners who love it soft.