A great week’s racing to conclude with six strong racecards.
As day four of the action draws to a close, we turn our attention to tomorrow’s racing on the hallowed turf of Royal Ascot. With the fifth and final day of racing at Royal Ascot almost upon us, after what has been a whirlwind week of festivities, we conclude this week’s racing previews with a look at the horses we reckon will shine on Day 5.
2.30 – Chesham Stakes
The stiffest test for juveniles at the Royal Meeting, and confined to those by stallions who have won over at least 9½ furlongs. The pair who dominate the market clashed on debut, when Dick Whittington just shaded Toscanini behind Coventry Stakes runner-up Cappella Sansevero.
That is very strong form for debutants, and both have stepped up again, with Toscanini just losing out to Kool Kompany in a competitive listed event last time. There’s nothing to choose between them here, but the longer trip is a question for the O’Brien runner, and Toscanini ought to relish it on pedigree, so gets the nod.
3.05 – Duke of Edinburgh Stakes
Sir Michael Stoute has a remarkable record in this contest, with nine runners in the last decade yielding a trio of winners in Notable Guest, Sugar Ray and Opinion. Two more have been placed, which is stunning in a race so competitive. This year he relies on Arab Spring, who hails from a family which has brought great success for the stable in the famous Ballymacoll Stud colours of the late Lord Weinstock – the dam is a sister to Great Voltigeur winner Hard Top, and closely related to King George winner Conduit.
Arab Spring has progressed well to win all 3 starts this spring, and is yet another from the damline destined to gain black type; he can defy top weight with Ryan Moore doing the steering.
3.45 – Hardwicke Stakes
Stoute also has an enviable record in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes, leading the roll of honour with seven wins, starting with Dihistan for the Aga Khan back in 1986, while Harbinger used the race as a launchpad for his remarkable King George romp in 2010.
Telescope heads the market, but the feeling is that if the Master of Freemason Lodge is to win again, it may be with last year’s King Edward VII winner Hillstar, who hasn’t hit the headlines in the same way, but is a more solid proposition than his over-hyped stablemate.
4.25 – Diamond Jubilee Stakes
It’s already been a fantastic week for Eddie Lynam, with Sole Power and Anthem Alexander scoring during the week, and he can cap it off in style with Slade Power here. A winner of the British Sprint Championship over C&D in October, he looked better than ever when slamming the ultra-reliable Maarek at the Curragh late last month, and just needs to repeat that effort to win what looks a substandard renewal of this Group 1 contest.
One to bear in mind at bigger odds is Music Master, who has improved for a drop back to sprinting, and went off too hard at Windsor last time. The suspicion is that he’ll find the stiff track at Ascot against him, but he has speed to burn, and will pop up at a price in one of the big sprints this year.
5.00 – Wokingham Stakes
The Wokingham is never easy, but it’s hard to imagine a tougher renewal than this, with punters able to bet 12/1 the field at the time of declarations. Seeking Magic will be rightly popular having regularly been hitting the woodwork in similar events, but it’s Baccarat who gets the vote.
The selection found Breton Rock too strong at Thirsk on his return, and was again unfortunate to run into a most progressive rival when losing out to Aetna at York last time. Last year’s Gt St Wilfrid hero is creeping up the weights, but that’s only what he deserves, and he looks certain to go close if getting the breaks.
5.35 – Queen Alexandra Stakes
The finale is one for the traditionalists, and this marathon is loved by jumps trainers, with Alan King’s Tiger Cliff looking set to start favourite. He’s very much respected having been fancied to take the fight to Brown Panther last time, but it’s a less high-profile yard which may have the last laugh here.
Step forward Laura Mongan and First Avenue, who are taken to spring a minor shock. First Avenue landed the Imperial Cup at Sandown last spring for Mongan, but is still routinely sent off at big odds for handicap hurdles. He’s belied market weakness to win his last two over timber in the style of a horse at the very top of his game, and is more than capable of transferring that form back to the Flat in a race lacking any real strength in depth.
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