There’s double Group 1 action on Friday at Royal Ascot as we see the latest renewals of both the Commonwealth Cup and the Coronation Stakes.
We have a selection for every race here, all of them good value for money.
2.30 Ascot (Albany Stakes – Group 3) – FLOTUS
These juvenile sprints have been very competitive all week and, in this case, I get a number of them close on the book.
Cachet and Hellomydarlin have ability, while Hello You and in particular Oscula can really make their presence felt at some stage.
The best of the bunch might just be Simon & Ed Crisford’s Flotus. After he won ever so impressively on debut at Goodwood, Simon Crisford seemed to be beaming about him and he’s not the sort of trainer who bigs up every runner of his.
On the day he put in the best debut speed performance of any horse in this race, he did it over the six furlongs and also on soft ground which is unlikely to be his favoured ground going forward.
He may just be a real class act, has Frankie Dettori on board this time and can now go about replicating his sire Starspangledbanner.
3.05 Ascot (King Edward VII Stakes – Group 2) – YIBIR
The ‘Ascot Derby’ as it is known doesn’t have the quality of the real thing at Epsom, but it is arguably much more competitive this time around.
Tasman Bay continues to improve and is interesting stepped up to a mile-and-a-half, while Title can get right up among the principals even at this level as he is obviously talented.
The Mediterranean of Aidan O’Brien’s has improved in lumps thus far and can continue to do so which brings him into things, while the most obvious one is probably Alenquer who won the Classic Trial at Sandown.
He may have improved and he finished just ahead of Yibir that day, but it’s easy to see the Godolphin horse reversing the placings.
First off; the form of the race is terrific. The pair in question had Adayar between them at the line who went on to win the Derby. The fourth horse Lone Eagle came into it as a Group 3 winner and has since landed a Listed race easily.
Alenquer and Yibir traded blows for the early lead and at the death. The former is bred for a mile-and-a-quarter, which he won over last time, while Yibir almost certainly wants this mile-and-a-half trip.
He hated Chester and the ground, didn’t want the soft conditions last time and has even been gelded now. On a line through his form with Magallan and others he looks potentially just one level above these rivals and can score.
3.40 Ascot (Commonwealth Cup – Group 1) – SACRED
This six-furlong three-year-old sprint is the most welcome recently added Group 1. This time round there isn’t an obvious one for me.
Money will come for Campanelle who has only been beaten over a mile, but she hasn’t always been overly impressive for me and Wesley Ward’s horses haven’t performed as expected all week. Dragon Symbol has been a revelation this season but could have hit a ceiling and may want softer going also.
Supremacy would be the selection of many and he can leave his bitterly disappointing seasonal debut behind perhaps, but we can’t ignore that it happened and you’d be taking a risk backing him.
At bigger odds to small stakes we go for Sacred. William Haggas’s filly was a close second in the Queen Mary last season behind Campanelle and has tons of speed. Despite that, she won the Nell Gwyn this season but didn’t stay in the Guineas, very predictably.
Sacred, getting 3lbs, Supremacy and Dragon Symbol may all bomb down the near side, bringing the best out of each other, and the best raw speed at the weights may just come from the filly under Tom Marquand.
4.20 Ascot (Coronation Stakes – Group 1) – NOVEMBA
We’ve gone successfully for a German raider already this season and this Novemba is a silly price.
The German form is always underrated, that we know for sure. The truth is that this horse won ever so easily from a good yardstick out of France last time at Dusselforf in the German 1000 Guineas, earning a rating of 115. That rating is genuine and she could be very hard to live with.
Many are at a similar level unless there is major improvement in one; Primo Bacio, 1000 Guineas winner Mother Earth, Pretty Gorgeous, Snow Lantern and the one we know little about, the talented improver Potapova. Alcohol Free is no lost cause either.
5.00 Ascot (Sandringham Stakes – Class 2 Handicap) - BELIEF
A frightfully tough handicap on paper, but if we’re very lucky we could back a William Haggas/Cheveley Park filly double with Sacred and in this race, Belief.
Drawn on the near side, Belief is getting exactly the conditions she wants now. A close look at her easy novice win at Thirsk along with the form and ability of the others shows that the race was underestimated and with it, her handicap rating. She’s well in and should have a great chance.
5.35 Ascot (Duke of Edinburgh Stakes – Class 2 Handicap) – GRAND BAZAAR
Aaddeey will be all the rage here and it’s easy to see why, but a proper look at Grand Bazaar’s form paints a picture of a horse who is in the perfect race.
He’s had plenty of chances, but over 1m4f on good/fast ground he has improved every time. He’s a few pounds better on bare form than Global Storm who was well backed and ran well here in the Copper Horse this week and he stands a proper chance.
6.10 Ascot (Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes – Class 2 Handicap) – BOOMSHALAA
If ever a Royal Ascot race had the look of a lottery, it’s this one! 25 runners, all young and improving three-year-olds, a five-furlong dash and at least 6/1 the field at the time of writing.
The best speed for my money so far however has been shown by Boomshalaa of Roger Varian’s yard and he is a tentative tip, but a tip all the same, for the lucky last.