It’s double Group 1 delight on day four of Royal Ascot as the Commonwealth Cup and the Coronation Stakes take centre-stage.
The unofficial ‘Ascot Derby’, the King Edward VII Stakes, is very interesting as well as we get to see a clash between one high up in the Derby and one who was due to run but bypassed the race. We have four great value bets in total, starting with one at a huge price in the opener:
2.30 Ascot (Albany Stakes – Group 3) – LAST SURPRISE
Wesley Ward once again has the favourite here in the shape of the lightening-quick Nayibeth, but while she is by a mile-and-a-quarter winner it’s always worth bearing in mind that Ward gets most of his success here at five furlongs, this horse winning over 4½ on debut in the States meaning this six could prove to be too far.
Roger Varian’s Daahyeh won well at Newmarket on debut, beating Raffle Prize there who came out and won the Queen Mary Stakes this week. That form is rock solid but it’s also possible she had to put in quite a shift to win that and therefore won’t improve as much as one or two others, something always worth keeping in mind.
Godolphin’s Silent Wave put in a very similar performance herself at Goodwood but gave the impression she would definitely move on and up more significantly than Daahyeh so she is the main danger, but a chance is taken at a big price on Last Surprise who I feel has been underestimated.
Winners at Lingfield are usually not rated as highly as they should be so Last Surprise may be better than most people think anyway, while having had to race wide before very stylishly putting his race to bed showed the daughter of No Nay Never to be a very good filly and with Frankie now on board she can go very well from a good draw.
3.05 Ascot (King Edward VII Stakes – Group 2) – PRIVATE SECRETARY
A small and select field featuring a mix of proven Group 1 form and plenty of top-level potential. From the former category is Japan, placed third in the Derby for Aidan O’Brien and sure to be a short-priced favourite here.
The positives are that his form from Epsom is by far the best on offer in this race and, given that his run in the Dante was just to bring him on, he in theory could progress to be the best of the Ballydoyle horses from that classic in time.
That said, he had a hard enough race there and they don’t always react well to that in this contest, so his form for now may just about level out which brings in the potential of John Gosden’s colt Private Secretary.
Gosden had originally intended to leave the son of Kingman in the Derby but it was decided he needed more experience before hitting that level, hence his run in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes. The bare form of his win there is nothing special, but he cruised into it on the bridle to win it cheekily eased down and we will see a very, very different horse here.
Pondus could prove to be the real deal eventually and has been entered in the King George by James Fanshawe, so at a fair price he could grab a place.
3.40 Ascot (Commonwealth Cup – Group 1) – JASH
This race is badly missing Calyx who would have been electric to watch, but that doesn’t mean it’s short of quality at all.
Advertise was a very good two-year-old and it was always clear to most of us that he wasn’t a Guineas horse, so he can perhaps get back on track over this trip although the company he’s keeping here may prove too hot.
Hello Youmzain is undoubtedly very good but he’s priced up partly on having beaten Calyx at Haydock, a small race in which John Gosden’s star was injured and so there is still actually something for Kevin Ryan’s colt to prove.
The race may come down then to last season’s Middle Park Stakes 1-2, Ten Sovereigns and Jash. The former won that day, just, with both horses having their third run. He too was never right for the Guineas but ran well enough, and on a line through the likes of Skardu and Madhmoon we can guess what sort of level he can reach now that he has his correct trip.
Jash can go forward from his seasonal reappearance over an unsuitable seven furlongs having scraped home at Newmarket. He is primed to peak here and his profile is very much one of a Group 1 horse, while we can’t ignore that if this field stays down the usually favoured near-side then he is essentially six stalls better off than his main rival and is around 4 times his odds.
4.20 Ascot (Coronation Stakes – Group 1) – JUBILOSO
Aidan O’Brien’s Hermoso has been excellent for the yard and is now a dual-1000 Guineas winner. The level she reached at Newmarket was little better than she’d already achieved during a busy juvenile season though and while she seemed to improve at the Curragh, she did benefit from getting the run of the race and the best draw, just as Phoenix Of Spain did in the colt’s race who failed here the other day.
She may not be as hard to beat as some may think, with French 1,000 Guineas winner Castle Lady being of a similar standard and retaining the potential to improve a little on better racing ground.
The most interesting one in the race for certain is Sir Michael Stoute’s very easy novice winner Jubiloso. She’s impeccably bred, looks made for this race and is well rested having had 32 days off since winning at Newbury. She needs to take a big step forward but she almost certainly will and her great stable has been doing what they do best this week, peaking them for Royal Ascot.