2.30 JERSEY STAKES (GROUP 3) BBC1 7f: Only won previous Godolphin-owned winner of this race means that Frankie’s mount SPLASH POINT will have this trend to overcome, but he did well over in Dubai during the winter, winning once, and back on the turf is interesting. Other trainers that have history in this race and are represented this year are William Haggas, who won it in 2008, Richard Hannon, who landed the prize in 1995 & 1999, Aidan O’Brien, who took the spoils in 2001, but the most successful handler in recent times is Jeremy Noseda.
His Newmarket-based team have taken the contest twice in the last 10 years (2005 & 2002) and although on the book his runner, WESTERN ARISTOCRAT, has a bit to find the very fact the stable are pitching him in at this level is a clear indication on how they rate him at home. He’s unbeaten from two runs, albeit just a maiden and a handicap, but the yard are in flying form (at the time of writing from their last 15 runners, 12 have hit the frame, including 5 winners) and with Johnny Murtagh booked he could go well at a fair price.
SELECTIONS: WESTERN ARISTOCRAT (e/w) & CODEMASTER
3.05 WINDSOR FOREST STAKES (GROUP 2) (FILLIES & MARES) BBC1 1m: A chance for the ladies to shine here as those fillies and mares that are not quite top-class do battle for this Group Two.
With two Godolphin runners the weight of support will probably come for Frankie’s mount SAJJHAA, who was an excellent runner-up to Midday at York last time and with nothing of that calibre in the field she’s sure to be popular in the betting, especially as she’s also gone well with give in the ground before too.
Luca Cumani’s SETA will not want the underfoot conditions to get much softer having shown her best form on faster surfaces, so based on that she’s overlooked, but the other one of interest is Mick Channon’s MUSIC SHOW. After a bit of a lean spell the yard are showing signs of a return to form with a few recent winners but I’m sure she’ll appreciate this drop back to a mile after not quite getting home over 1m2f last time at York behind Sajjhaa and Midday. She’s another that probably wouldn’t want too much more rain but with Richard Hughes back in the saddle she’s sure to be thereabouts.
SELECTIONS: MUSIC SHOW & SAJJHAA
3.45 PRINCE OF WALES´S STAKES (BRITISH CHAMPIONS´ SERIES) (GROUP 1) BBC2 1m2f: Many people’s Royal Ascot banker goes here as Aidan O’Brien’s brute of a horse SO YOU THINK is expected to win this doing handstands. That said, he’s only officially rated 1lb better than Sir Henry Cecil’s Twice Over and just 4lbs better than the French-raider PLANTEUR.
Third in the Melbourne Cup back in October he’s since been switched to the Ballydoyle team and after smooth wins at the Curragh he’s coming here with a huge reputation. This, however, will be his biggest test away from Australia to date and despite it hard not seeing him winning I just feel he might not have it all his own way.
TWICE OVER, who was runner-up in this 12 months ago, is on a bit of a recovery mission after flopping in the Dubai World Cup and more recently the Lockinge Stakes, but we all know he’s better than that and with three Group One wins over this trip he’s surely worthy of being forgiven those recent poor efforts.
The French have won three of the last four runnings, so with that in mind PLANTEUR could be the one that gives the Ballydoyle horse most to think about. He comes here off the back of two impressive Longchamp victories, while having won in soft ground certainly won’t mind any more of the wet stuff.
SELECTIONS: SO YOU THINK & PLANTEUR
4.25 ROYAL HUNT CUP (HERITAGE HANDICAP) BBC2 1m: A commentator’
Trainer Richard Fahey is mob-handed with four runners and based on jockey bookings then the 7 year-old (who we’ve already knocked out) KAY GEE BE, with Hanagan onboard, looks their main hope.
The draw is obviously going to play its part too, so keep an eye on clues from any previous races, but although a bit of a lottery race I’ll take a chance on RED BRICK and STUNNING VIEW.
RED BRICK, from the in-form Andrew Balding yard, is a previous course and distance winner having won here last September, while after three runs so far this season should be ready to hit top form. He’ll love any cut underfoot having won on good-to-soft twice in the past, while is yet to finish out of the frame from two runs here at the Berkshire track.
Dermot Weld trains my other pick STUNNING VIEW and it’s simple - when he sends one over to Royal Ascot we should all take note. Yes, looking at his form it’s hardly inspiring, but he’s been running it a lot better company than this and only two runs ago finished a decent second in a Listed affair in the soft at Leopardstown. With just six career runs there should be plenty more to come and having form on testing ground will be in his favour should we get any more rain.
SELECTIONS: STUNNING VIEW & RED BRICK
5.00 QUEEN MARY STAKES (GROUP 2) (FILLIES) BBC2 5f: US-based trainer Wesley Ward took this prize in 2009 and he tries his luck again with GYPSY ROBIN – Like all these American raiders it’s hard to access her form, but with one win from one and the fact she’s made the trip then she’s got to be respected.
However, I think he’ll have to be something really special to see off Brian Meehan’s SHUMOOS – who really could be the next big thing. After a runaway debut win at Haydock she went into many a notebook after clocking a decent time and with the second that day since franking the form then despite only having one run the form looks well above average – She had three entries at Royal Ascot, so connections clearly feel this is her best chance of victory, while the stable took this prize back in 2002 with Romantic Liaison.
SELECTIONS: SHUMOOS & GYPSY ROBIN
5.35 SANDRINGHAM HANDICAP (LISTED RACE) (FILLIES) BBCi 1m: Not one of the best Royal Ascot races, but placepot punters will still have an interest being the sixth and final race on day two. EMMA’S GIFT and WINTER’S NIGHT are worth a mention only because they are the only two previous course winners heading to post and here at Ascot that’s a big positive, but with the Sir Michael Stoute team in flying form I think CAPE DOLLAR could be the one to beat.
Ryan Moore takes the ride on this 3 year-old and being the highest-rated in the field will need to shoulder top-weight of 9-7 to victory. We last saw her running down the field in the 1000 Guineas so this drop in grade will be more to her liking. In terms of the weight I’m not too worried on that front with three of the last 10 winners carrying 9-5 or more, but she’s actually been dropped 2lbs from her last run too. She’s another that’s got winning form with cut in the ground, so another plus, while with the yard’s horses in much better form than a month ago she rates a solid bet.
SELECTIONS: CAPE DOLLAR & WINTER’S NIGHT
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