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Big Orange was the highlight of Royal Ascot 2017 Gold Cup Day with a brilliant ride from James Doyle and a fine training performance from Michael Bell to boot. A nice winner for us with the other tips running well, but the defeats of Mirage Dancer and Mori were a blow.
Albany Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) (Class 1) (2yo) (2.30): Alpha Centauri has been brilliantly impressive in winning both her maiden and then the Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes, increasing her advantage over horses she had beaten before including Actress (who is here again and who was also a decent winner when beating a next time out winner with a fair amount of ease) between the first and the second run. She can take the beating and get the better of fellow Irish challenger Clemmie, who ran a fine race on her debut when third behind Gasta and Now We’re Talking, who was fourth in the Queen Mary. This ground ought to be much better for her and she can take a big step forward. Fairyland has been highly ranked alongside Wesley Ward’s juveniles and has to be respected after her impressive Keeneland maiden win, although her stable’s two year olds have disappointed in the main with the exception of Happy Like A Fool, second in the Queen Mary. His other contender Princess Peggy is a big price if she’s over her accident with a cyclist on Thursday. Blinkered when winning a 5f maiden on sloppy dirt at Belmont on her debut, she might well be too big. The form of Black Sails’ debut win at the Curragh has taken some hits but she was undeniably impressive there and if taking another step from that she is entitled to be in the shakeup here.
Advice: 2 pts win Alpha Centauri (9/4 general), 1 pt each/way Black Sails (12/1 general)
King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) (Class 1) (3yo) (3.05): Sir Michael Stoute has gone very close on a number of occasions this week but he may finally hit the board with Crystal Ocean here. The source of flowing reports over the winner, he made a very taking return when winning at Nottingham in April and was then the subject of a heavy gamble for the Derby before his Dante third. He was held up in that contest when the first two there (including Permian) were not that far away from him when he took a very promising third. That was just his third run and the win of Benbatl yesterday (fifth in the Derby) is a boost for the form which suggests that it stands up well in this context. Best Solution was eight in the Derby and Glendcam Glory ninth; Both have a fair task on here.
Permian won the Dante and deserves major credit, having beaten Khalidi easily the time before at Newmarket. He can go well although this trip is a question mark whilst Khalidi was well beaten in the Derby. Salouen got no run consistently there and might well have a better time here with a decent draw in nine to boot today. He gave fitness when finishing a neck second to Khaldi on his return and he can do well here.
Advice: 3 pts win Crystal Ocean (11/4 general)
Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3yo) (3.40): The betting for this revolves around Caravaggio, a devastatingly Impressive winner of the Coventry Stakes last year when he was on the wrong side, crossed over to the right one and then won by and a fine winner of the Lacken Stakes on his return, having not been seen since his win in the Phoenix. His unbeaten record is not going without a fight but he will have one huge battle on in what looks a fine race.
Godolphin would have bitten your hand of for their results so far this week and it could still get better as they have two big chances of taking a third Group 1 win of the week here. Blue Point beat Harry Angel in what was a very strong Cornwallis on their season al return. Blue Point was a professional winner that day but he got 4lbs from Harry Angel, who was far more relaxed when taking apart the field in the Sandy Lane (Tis Marvellous well held in fourth) at Haydock and he will take all the beating.
Bound To Nowhere has been given a huge vote of confidence by Wesley Ward and if he has been working better than Lady Aurelia then the rest of the field will face a tall order here.
Advice: 1 pt win Harry Angel (3/1 general)
Coronation Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Fillies) (Class 1) (3yo) (4.20): here may scarcely have been a more impressive display this season than Winter’s hugely impressive win over Roly Poly and Hydrangea in the Irish 1,000 and a repeat of that or her Newmarket success ought to give her a third Group 1 on the bare figures here.
Pericuse’s win in the Pouliches has to be respected seriously as she appeared to make a serious step forward for the upping in trip to a mile on that day. What remains to be seen is whether she’s at home on ground this fast compared to Deauville where she and the first four home were significantly at an advantage compared to the rest there. That said, she needs serious respect.
Dabuah hasn’t run in either Guineas, but she’s won three of her four and whilst her only defeat came over a mile, there was nothing not to like about her third in the Marcel Boussac. The exploits of Senga have underlined that renewal and her reappearance win was very cosy, even taking into account unprepared and weak opposition.
La Coronel has been impressive in the Appalachian and Edgewood Stakes after a good comeback and the fact that Mark Casse sends her here is a significant endorsement given his success with Tepin in the Queen Anne last year. However her Breeders’ Cup sixth suggest that she will struggle to make an impact here.
Tomyris has come on in great strides and was very game in victory at York when she won the Michael Seely. However that form took a big blow when the next three were all well beaten in the Sandringham and that also took place on soft ground as well.
Advice: No bet.
Queen’s Vase (Group 2) (Class 1) (1m6f) (3yo): The dropping back of this race two furlongs puts another little cloud over what is a tricky enough contest to rate in any case. Aidan O’Brien, Mark Johnston and Sir Michael Stoute are the three trainers to focus on and they appear to have very strong chances once again here.
There can’t be a better-bred horse in this field than Wisconsin and whilst he’s still got to find a lot on the bare form, there’s plenty to like about what we’ve seen. The son of Deep Impact and Peeping Fawn found 10 furlongs too short on his debut but he was happier at 12 furlongs last time out when a comfortable winner as his odds suggested he would be. The second and third have since won (the third seven lengths adrift) but if he takes after his mother then there’s got to be a ton more in the locker and he’s worth chancing at 10/1. The slipping of the saddle on Naughty Or Nice means we were robbed of seeing just how strong the Yeats Stakes was. Belgravia was a short priced favourite there who was hampered during the home stretch when he was backpeddling anyway; The victory of Grandee since has at least solidified form claims and Haripour, three lengths back, has since won. He should go well but can be shot at.
That Time To Study won the Edinburgh Cup feels more remarkable with every single rewatch of the race and the form of that race has since been underlined, with the second and third both winning since off higher marks since (stablemate Mister Manduro was fourth). Having raced widest of all and then been forced into the lead three furlongs from home, he found enough to carry topweight to victory and he ought to be very tough to pass today.
Count Octave did his best work towards the end of the Chester Vase even if that race has been let down a couple of times (bar Wings of Eagles, a different case afterwards). Desert Skyline has amongst the best form and would get at least 1m4f whilst Stradivarius can go nicely following another step up in trip from his Chester loss.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Wisconsin (10/1 general),1 pt win Time To Study (6/1 general)
Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105) (5.35): The key form race may well be the 12 furlong handicap that introduced 1,000 Guineas day at Newmarket and all the evidence suggests that Mainstream was generously treated to be given just a 2lbs rise for his third there. Second Top Tug, who is also worth backing today, has since won nicely at Goodwood whilst winner Frontiersman looks a horse out of the top level based on his Coronation Cup win. Top Tug doesn’t look as well handicapped as him following a good win at Goodwood but that was a performance that deserves respect and the stamina he has will be a fine asset here.
Sixties Groove has been prepared for this for a long time and whilst he’s not straightforward, his efforts at this trip all show that he’s got more to give. Appeared has had a stop start career but progressed well and looked as if he had enough in hand to beat off a 10lbs rise when he was a deeply impressive C&D winner on his return
Rare Rhythm got no run when he was second favourite for this last year on his reappearance. A deeply impressive winner off a 10lbs lower mark before then, that form hasn’t worked out so he does have something to prove for all that the boys in blue have had a stellar week.
Advice: 1 pt win Mainstream (5/1 general), 1 pt each/way Top Tug (12/1 general, 11/1 Paddy Power – 5 places).
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