Royal Ascot has absolutely flown by as we head into the final day already.
The Platinum Jubilee is the highlight, while we also see the return of multiple Group 1 winner Hurricane Lane in the Hardwicke Stakes.
We’re not betting in the last. Trueshan is declared, but may not run again which muddies the waters a little. We begin with a race that is becoming more and more important as they years go on with a view to the following season’s mile and middle-distance races.
2.30 Ascot (Chesham Stakes – Listed Race) – ONE WORLD (place)
Alfred Munnings of the Aidan O’Brien hard is the hot pot here, and he was certainly impressive on his racecourse debut five weeks ago at Leopardstown.
If he improves as we all expect he’ll be tough to beat, but he’ll still need some speed to land this and it’s not certain how much he has.
The Chesham tends to be won by horses from mile to mile-and-a-quarter families. Alfred Munnings is a Dubawi/Galileo cross and he will get better as the season goes on, so he may be worth taking on at such short odds.
Sea The Stars can sire terrific milers as well as middle-distance types and his One World is worth a second look here at big odds.
Frankie Dettori appears to have chosen Alzahir over him, though he’s not having the best week by any means, and with Colin Keane on board One World will not lack for help from the saddle.
The each-way, cover bet and place markets appeal after his tough win on debut in soft ground at Haydock, with today’s quicker conditions likely to bring about plenty of improvement. One World should be flying at the end.
3.05 Ascot (Jersey Stakes – Group 3) – NOBLE TRUTH
There are plenty of nice types in here as usual, and the Jersey Stakes is often won by a Group 1 horse so look out for the winner on their next run whichever horse it may be.
Audience has talent, as does Samburu, while Star Girls Aalmal is of some interest. Rocchigiani nearly saw off Maljoom in the German Guineas and Dubawi Legend was a classy juvenile, but three others stand out.
Owen Burrows’ Alflaila comes from the handicap route. He was a very smart winner over this course and distance back in May and he’s certainly improving.
Shadwell’s retained rider Jim Crowley however favours Monaadah, as do I. A striking winner in Dubai on debut for Saeed Bin Suroor in March, he won easily at Newcastle next time. Monaadah then saw off Audience at Kempton to prepare for that race and it’s clear he has class.
Above them though is Alflaila’s conqueror in last season’s Flying Scotsman Stakes, Noble Truth.
Noble Truth beat highly-rated Ehraz last season, was short of room behind Royal Patronage in the Acomb Stakes and beat Derby runner-up Hoo Ya Mal at Doncaster.
He was thought of as a Group 1 horse even then, but got rather stuck in the mud when second to Angel Bleu at the top level in France before the same thing happened at Newbury.
Noble Truth romped away with the Listed King Charles II Stakes back in April, has been gelded since, and looks tailor-made for this.
3.40 Ascot (Hardwicke Stakes – Group 2) – MOHSTADAF
This is the return of Dante, Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger winner as well as Arc third, Hurricane Lane.
He is a beast at this mile-and-a-half distance and it would be terrific to see him win, but he could be a little rusty and as usual this is a very tough race.
Up against him is the supplemented Solid Stone, Broome, Third Realm and Mostahdaf and it’s the last-named I fancy at a prices.
John and Thady Gosden’s Frankel colt is getting closer to a Group 1 win, and a top-level performance in this race would be enough.
Always highly thought of, Mostahdaf won a couple of Listed races last year and was close to top class when taking his Group 3.
He was even smarter in the Gordon Richards Stakes this year and was 6/5 favourite to beat Bay Bridge too. This trip looks fine for him and, with race fitness on his side, he could give Hurricane Lane plenty to do.
For betting options; he’s around 7/1 – 8/1 as a cover bet and around 6/4 for a place if you don’t want to take a risk.
4.20 Ascot (Platinum Jubilee Stakes – Group 1) – CREATIVE FORCE
An excellent Group 1, much like the King’s Stand earlier in the week.
Like the five-furlong race, Australian trainer Chris Waller has the favourite in Home Affairs but he is worth taking on.
There are too many class horses to give a mention to, but look out for Sacred coming down in trip and Naval Crown too who Charlie Appleby says is just learning to sprint.
One that had to so a similar thing for that trainer was Creative Force, last year’s Jersey winner. He is of course a Group 1 course and distance winner now.
While there are lots of variables here, the key form is October’s British Champions Sprint Stakes. The pace shown in that by Creative Force was excellent, with Minzaal not far away either. Both of those horses will love this fast ground and Minzaal is the main danger.
5.00 Ascot (Wokingham Stakes – Heritage Handicap) – BLACKROD
A typically tough Wokingham Stakes, in which First Folio, Rohaan, Fresh, Tabdeed and Silver Samurai will all be popular.
The one I like best is Michael Dods’ Newmarket winner Blackrod. He has the class, the pace, the toughness and is improving all the time.
5.35 Ascot (Golden Gates Stakes – Handicap) – HONITON
Much has been made of the form lines involving Eldar Eldarov, Post Impressionist, Honiton and Secret State, including on these pages.
Eldar Eldarov won the Queen’s Vase earlier in the week and Secret State was a winner too. It may be that Honiton actually proves to be the best of that bunch and he can take a race that Godolphin have a stranglehold on, with Charlie Appleby’s improver Falling Shadow next on the list.