Ascot 1.25 – Thomas Hobson
It might be folly to oppose Stradivarius, but almost all his best form has been on good or faster and he was a bit laboured on soft in this race last year before his guts and class got him back into it. As such, I’ll take a sporting stab at Thomas Hobson. The Doncaster Cup may not have been the strongest edition, but he won really impressively, has good form at Ascot and can go perfectly well on autumn ground. The stronger the test of stamina, the better, so I’m hoping the Ballydoyle horses make this a real war.
Ascot 2.00 – Brando – 8/1
I think The Tin Man and Brando are the two to be with here given the doubts about Harry Angel here at Ascot. The pace looks to be with the high numbers and should tow both into the race nicely. There really isn’t much between them, and I’m pinning my hopes on this stiffer track and the booking of Jamie Spencer (who rides it so well) to claw back the deficit from Haydock.
Ascot 2.40 – Magical 15/2
All of Magical’s best two-year-old form came on soft and heavy ground, and she is looking more and more of a stayer, plugging on in the Matron Stakes and running on perfectly well only to be beaten 5 lengths in the Arc. With 5 stable companions in the race, two of whom are wearing headgear, this could be a tactical shemozzle that turns out to Magical’s advantage, but possibly not to the advantage of Lah ti Dar. A bigger danger may come from the other Gosden trainee, Coronet, who loves Ascot and came from too far back in this last year.
Ascot 3.15 – Roaring Lion – 9/4
He’s much the best horse in this race, with due respect to the mighty filly Laurens, and I think Roaring Lion can outclass them even back at a mile. In fact, his Guineas run alone would entitle him to respect, but we know he’s a much better horse now and times have told us that he is capable of producing all the attributes necessary in a mile race to win at the top level. The straight track will not be as soft as the round track – in any case. he coped well with autumn ground as a two year old.
Ascot 3.50 – Capri – 11/2
I am not confident that Capri can win a Group One at ten furlongs, but am hopeful granted the soft ground and strong likelihood of a searching test at the trip. He is a big, gross horse who is likely to have needed with his recent comeback runs (including a pretty good albeit well positioned fifth in the Arc) and has the scalps of Crystal Ocean and Cracksman on his CV already.
Ascot 4.30 – Safe Voyage
This is a fascinating runner, for whom track and ground should be ideal. He has run in two valuable handicaps this season, won them both, and again has the assistance of the excellent 5lb claimer Sean Davis, who rode him to success at Galway. He will have to be almost up to Group class to win this, but might not be too far away.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.