Closing day for the 2015 Royal Ascot
Day four of Royal Ascot saw the inaugural running of the Commonwealth Cup. Before the race was run, it was a success, as it attracted a classy and competitive line-up, and with the ‘right’ horses filling the major places, the race has started well.
Muhaarar’s name goes down in history as the Commonwealth Cup’s maiden victor and we doubt you’ll see a more impressive winner in the race in the immediate coming years.
Charlie Hills’s charge blitzed his rivals with sheer class and speed to score by over three lengths. It was a real sight to behold.
The Coronation Stakes didn’t seem to have the pre-race wow factor the Commonwealth Cup had, but we were treated to one of the finishes of the meeting when French raider Ervedya swooped late under Christophe Soumillon to just deny Ryan Moore on Found.
Lucida finished even quicker down the outside, but was given too much ground to make up on classy fillies and had to settle for third.
In the end a neck and a half-length separated them, and these are three exciting fillies to note for the remainder of the campaign.
The day started with a bang when Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes produced the exciting-looking Illuminate to win the Albany Stakes while Jamie Spencer won under a trademark hold-up ride aboard Balios in the King Edward VII Stakes.
Richard Hughes doubled his tally for the day when giving Arab Dawn a fine, uncomplicated ride from an average looking draw to score in the Duke Of Edinburgh.
Ryan Moore had to wait till the very last race to bag a win as Aloft proved too classy for his field in the Queen’s Vase.
This was a fine training performance from Aidan O’Brien given the extensive layoff the winner had.
It’s also worth noting, the winner, Aloft, saw Ryan Moore break the post-war record of Lester Piggott for riding the most Royal Ascot winners, which is now 9.
And he may add to that figure on the final day on the meeting.
It’s a tough final day for us, but here’s what we hope can run well.
2.30 – Chesham Stakes
Plenty in with chances here and Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore look like they will kick the day off with a strong favourite in the interestingly named Ballydoyle.
She made a lovely introduction at the Curragh 28 days ago, but with this looking tougher, given her price, value will be got elsewhere.
While the likes of Force and Red Artist are respected TONKINESE brings in some solid-looking form and is sure to run well.
His debut effort now looks strong and in winning last time out, he did so easily while looking he had plenty more to give. The excellent James Doyle rides for Michael Halford.
It also wouldn’t surprise to see Dessertoflife outrun her big price.
3.05 – Wolverton Handicap
The improving four-year-old pair of Mahsoob and First Flight look sure to go close in this sixteen-runner contest.
John Gosden’s Mahsoob is now unbeaten in three starts and his two efforts this campaign have suggested he is a conditions stakes performer.
He is sure to run well, but at the prices, in terms of value, we’d rather play FIRST FLIGHT each-way.
Saeed Bin Suroor’s charge returned in great style at York last time out.
In a race that wasn’t run to suit his hold-up style, the son of Invincible Spirit appeared to quicken like a smart horse before his lack of a recent run found him out close home.
He finished behind Mahsoob this day, but with a pull in the weights and a run under his belt he can get closer and maybe even beat him
3.40 – Hardwicke Stakes
A trappy-looking Hardwicke Stakes this year with plenty good horses in, but with no pace on, it’s hard to know what way it will all play out.
If Telescope is going to win he needs a strong gallop so we’re happy to take him on at the prices.
Sir Michael Stoute’s horses haven’t been running too well this Royal Ascot either and in Eagle Top and Postponed his charge faces two progressive race-fit four-year-olds.
Eagle Top returned in good style at Sandown last time out when shaping as if needing the run having been keen. He is sure to run well, but a lack of pace may see him take a strong-hold again, and the more versatile POSTPONED is favoured.
All things considered this season, Luca Cumani’s inmate has been shaping very well. With connections running him over inadequate trips he has been asked to change his style of running. Given he looked so good at the end of 2014 getting a lead, his front-running exploits have been a shock to the system.
Today, however, he returns to a more suitable trip with a possibility of getting a lead. Should it not transpire that way, though, we at least know he is versatile enough to make the running and enhance his chance of winning. The return to 12 furlongs will be a big bonus.
4.20 – Diamond Jubilee Stakes
In race where proper hold-up horses may struggle, given the lack of apparent pace, prominent horses may be favoured. Being drawn in the middle looks ideal, but low numbers have been going nicely this week, so for us, a high draw is a small negative.
With that in mind, we are keen to take on Brazen Beau, the Australian raider and sprinting sensation. We can’t say we know too much about the Aussie formbook, but the vibes are, this horse is a classy animal.
We’ve seen how much the foreign horses have struggled this week, though, the juvenile races aside, so to emulate the great Black Caviar in winning the race, Brazen Beau is going to have to be the monster his native people think he is.
The horse we are quite keen on is Dermot Weld’s MUSTAJEEB, last season’s emphatic winner of the Jersey Stakes over this course. This son of Nayef isn’t exactly bred for sprinting, but his jockey Pat Smullen, a good judge, is confident we will see the best of him over sprinting trips.
In winning the Greenlands Stakes last time out he proved he is capable of winning top races over six furlongs. He’s got an abundance of class, speed for this trip and given he has won over further, he won’t be stopping late on.
At a much bigger price CASPAR NETSCHER, who is around 33/1 at the time of writing, is worth an each-way play. His recent fourth in the Duke Of York Stakes under a penalty was a good effort and this stiff six furlongs should suit him better.
5.00 – Wokingham Stakes
A really competitive sprint handicap over six furlongs now. It’s hard to be confident about anything here given 28 runners go to post, but we’d give favourable mentions to Watchable, Dinkum Diamond and Suzi’s Connoisseur.
WATCHABLE shaped really well on his seasonal return at Newmarket before a drop to the minimum trip didn’t suit last time out. Now he returns to six furlongs he is interesting.
Two at big prices, who are around 33/1 at the time of writing, are DINKUM DIAMOND and Suzi’s Connoisseur. Both have course form here. Dinkum Diamond is not getting any younger, but he has held his form well this season and with a good claimer aboard may be able of at least hitting the frame.
SUZI’S CONNOISSEUR, for us, is really interesting on the back of his recent Victoria Cup effort. This day, he got no cover in a race where a strong headwind was blowing down Ascot’s straight.
She still managed to lead a furlong out, however, and with kinder conditions today is capable of running well now he is dropped in trip.
5.35 – Queen Alexandre
Allow the bank of Willie Mullins to pay out one more time and back WICKLOW BRAVE.