Royal Ascot Day Two
One can only imagine the state of the royal box yesterday after her majesty had waded into our Ardad tip with the grandkids savings. Absolute scenes. We aren’t the type of tipping site to sit back and revel in our past glories however. Today is another day, and it looks no less difficult than yesterday’s incredible card.
Today’s feature race, the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes, carries with it the highest prize on offer this week. A cool £425,325 is on offer to the winner, and the spotlight is planted firmly on the Japanese raider, A Shin Hikari, to pick up that pot for his connections. The Japanese haven’t won a Group 1 race in Britain for 16 years however, trainer Masanori Sakaguchi will rightly be full of confidence in the chances of his stable superstar, after his 10 length demolition of a quality Group 1 field over in France last month. A Shin Hikari posted an RPR of 131 that day and comes into today’s race as the world’s highest rated horse. He’s won on all types of ground, and the fact that he has 9lb in hand over his closest rival in open company suggests that today should be no more than a formal procession for A Shin Hikari. The odds of 4/6 are something that I personally would never get involved in, but A Shin Hikari’s involvement today just goes to highlight the global scale of this incredible racing festival.
The Group 3 Jersey Stakes (2:30) kicks us off today, and it’s the John Gosden trained pair that I’m most interested in. Castle Harbour heads the current market at 6/1 and it’s not too hard to see why. His last run over at York was most impressive. After slowly getting into stride, Castle Harbour cruised up into contention 2f out and had the whole field in trouble eventually running out a 1 1/2 length winner from market rival Chief Whip. It was a strong enough performance for John Gosden to step up his charge from a Class 3 handicap into Group company today and if all goes to plan there are designs for Castle Harbour to take his chance in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood next month. That in itself suggests that Gosden believes Castle Harbour is a bit special and probably capable of greater things than today’s prize. By Kyllachy, he has tonnes of pace and the thing that impressed me most of all in his latest run was his high-cruising speed. This will be a redeeming feature in a field of 20 runners and although 6/1 might put some people off, I’d rather be on him than not given that he could be much better than his official rating of 98.
The other Gosden runner that I’m interested in is Remarkable who was last seen chasing home Log Out Island in a Listed event at Newbury in May. Log Out Island won very easily that day after his jockey James Doyle took his mount into a 10 length lead and made the most of his tactical move. Other jockey’s badly misjudged Doyle’s move and the race was all over coming to 3f out. Remarkable ran into 2nd, 3 1/4 lengths behind Log Out Island after being 11 lengths behind at the 4f point. I can’t help but think that Robert Havlin lost out on a tactical affair, and would have got much closer if less rope had been afforded to the eventual winner. Connections stipulated after the race that today’s Jersey Stakes would be the aim if the ground wasn’t too fast, and as we all know it’s soft… add to that the fact that both Remarkable’s sire and grandsire have won around Ascot and I think 10/1 might look generous come the finish.
Back Castle Harbour at 6/1
Back Remarkable at 10/1
29 runners are left in the Royal Hunt Cup (5:00) and with the market leader at a price of 10/1 you get a big idea as to how difficult it is to find a winner in these races. I’m never one to shirk my duties though and the winner will be Mitchum Swagger. David Lanigan’s charge wasn’t at his best on his seasonal reappearance finishing 9th of 10 in a Listed race at Leicester. It was only the Swagger’s fifth career start to date and therefore, I’m more inclined to believe that he simply needed the run more than he has lost any of his precocious talent. He handles soft ground conditions having finished 1st and 2nd on his runs where the ground has had ‘soft’ in the description, and could be much better than the company he runs in today. I can remember his jockey George Baker riding Interception to victory for David Lanigan in last season’s Wokingham Handicap, and not many ride the course at Ascot in a hot handicap better than he. At 16/1 I think he is a super bet in a fiendishly difficult race.
Back Mitchum Swagger at 16/1
Another race, yet another difficult handicap. I don’t know why I bother. The Sandringham Handicap (5:35) again sees a massive field of fillies come together to make life difficult for us punters. Top of the betting is the unbeaten Persuasive who runs in the same Cheveley Park Stud colours as our earlier punt Remarkable. It’s hard to say just how good she really is but has been eased down near the finish on her last two runs and has obvious superstar potential. At 5/1 however, I’m inclined to look elsewhere.
It would be fitting for the queen to see a horse adorning her colours crossing the finish line with its nose in front at some point this week, so I’m nailing my money to Sir Michael Stoute’s Diploma. Having won her last race at York (over 10.5f) very readily by over 3 lengths she drops back in trip to a mile today. She has a lovely mile/middle distance pedigree being by Dubawi and handles cut in the ground. Found out at Group 3 level over 7f, that race probably came a little too soon in her career, and Sir Michael Stoute’s horses only ever seem to get better with age and experience so she is in the right hands. I think the 10/1 I’m seeing is enough for me to get involved and advise you to do the same. If she comes in then that royal box will be rocking after the last race yet again.
Back Diploma at 10/1
As ever, best of British and enjoy today’s racing! X