Ascot 2.30 – Shang Shang Shang – 9/2
It’s amazing how betting reacts to perceived stable form. Wesley Ward has a couple turned over, and they all start to drift. Chelsea Cloisters was pretty unlucky yesterday, however, and this filly can make up for it by beating the boys. She clocked a decent time at Keeneland and – more importantly – we know that the form has a bit of substance as she thrashed stablemate Moonlight Romance, who subsequently bolted up at Belmont and is well fancied for the Windsor Castle.
Ascot 3.05 – Silver Quartz (each way) – 22/1
This race has a pretty open look, and I’m taking a chance with Silver Quartz. Behind a couple of these in Without Parole’s race at Sandown last time, he still wasn’t beaten miles on ground that had almost certainly gone too soft for him. Prior to that, he dished out a hefty beating to a mid-90s horse at Windsor and, granted the anticipated improvement for stepping up in trip, he could get involved at a decent price.
Ascot 3.40 – Sun Maiden – 11/4
You’re entitled to think this is a rancid selection, as I’m asking you to back a Salisbury maiden winner over a Guineas 4th & Oaks 2nd who is roughly the same price… BUT… Sun Maiden was ridiculously impressive, has the pedigree for this, is open to any improvement and – most importantly – is trained by the Ascot maestro Sir Michael Stoute.
Ascot 4.20 – Vazirabad – 5/1
This is a tremendous race. Order of St George has had a very solid prep for this and reportedly comes here in the form of his life, while Stradivarius was super-impressive in the Yorkshire Cup. That said, the last named goes into unknown territory stamina-wise, and Vazirabad is right up there with the big two on talent, yet is twice the price. This will be the fastest ground he’s encountered, but he’s won three Dubai Gold Cups, so you would be hopeful. Christophe Soumillon rides him with such brilliant confidence, and can be as brave as he likes.
Ascot 5.00 – Ostilio – 14/1
I think this horse has been pretty cleverly trained to get in the race off a mark of 90. He clearly had no chance when running respectably behind Without Parole at Yarmouth and his sights were kept low enough in a handicap at Newmarket last time, which he won very easily. Three of his siblings have ended up rated over 100, and Silvestre de Sousa takes the ride.
Ascot 5.35 – First Eleven – 6/1
It initially looked as though this horse might be a bit of a disappointment, given that he is a Frankel half brother to Kingman, but it’s very likely that he simply hadn’t had the chance to find his optimum conditions which – based on Newbury – look like 12 furlongs on fast ground. He’s been given a hefty thwack by the handicapper for that win, but there’s every chance he’s worth it.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.
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