It’s Saturday and the final day of Royal Ascot 2018 and Will has a preview plus tips. Great tipping this week including 16/1 winner on Wednesday plus 16/1 and 6/1 and 5/1 winners on Thursday and 7/1 winner yesterday.
2.30 – Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) (2yo): At face value it will take an awful lot to get Natalie’s Joy, who pasted a great time when winning very impressively on her Goodwood debut, beaten here. Her time was the fastest juvenile performance on the clock since Bachir set the course record the Richmond Stakes, and it broke into the top 20 of time performances over the last decade on the clock. The form is not worth much but so impressive was she she’s still the one to beat.
However, she makes the market with two other places if she wins and it’s worth searching for something else to hit the frame. Beyond Reason ought to go close following a taking win at Kempton on her second start but she was beaten fair and square by New Winds, whose only defeat in three starts has come on a soft surface at Doncaster. She proved that wasn’t her running when carrying a sizeable penalty to victory at Haydock when back on good to firm ground and she looks overpriced to take a big hand in the finish here with 7 furlongs perhaps the only unknown.
Cardini has to be respected for the connections he represents but nothing he has done suggests he will be good enough today and he is swerved. San Donato ran into Legends Of War (7/2 for the Coventry but now goes to the July Stakes) last time, a strong debut effort given the regard in which the winner was held, and it’s an encouraging sign that he went off 7/4 for a novice stakes. He was three and a half lengths clear of the next best home and ought to improve plenty for Ascot’s stiff seven here.
Arthur Kitty was a taking winner of a Haydock maiden, but the form has been let down too many times for comfort since.
Matthieu Palussiere made his name at this meeting last season when taking the Albany with Different League and has had 20 juvenile winners this season along with a decent run from Forever In Dreams in the Queen Mary. On A Session impressed with his turn of foot at Lyon Parilly when backed like a good thing on debut and he showed an impressive attitude in the latter stages of the Prix De Puycharic at Angers. Those are the same two races that Different League won before taking the Albany and his presence here, along with the booking of Wayne Lordan, is a big sign and he is well worth watching.
Nate The Great was an impressive winner of his Novice Auction Stakes at Carlisle whilst Assie View’s Doncaster victory sowed him as a horse who will get every yard of what is a testing trip at this stage of the juvenile season.
Advice: 1 pt each/way New Winds (16/1 general), 1 pt each/way San Donato (10/1 general)
3.05 – Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (4yo+): Sir Michael Stoute has had a deservedly great week and there’s little reason to oppose his Crystal Ocean. Second only to Capri in the Leger last year, his two wins this season in the Gordon Richards and Aston Park Stakes suggests he’s ready to get even better and he towers over the field. Barsanti, second in this last year, scored a nice listed win on his return but that form has been let down since and he needs more still.
Idaho won this last year and has been very busy since. His chance relies on whether he has recovered from his fourth in the Coronation Cup when the ground went well against him, but even at his best he faces a task to overturn Crystal Ocean. Cliffs Of Moher hasn’t progressed as hoped and this is a quick return after the Prince Of Wales’ on Wednesday. Red Verdon, a versatile five year old, looks overmatched.
Advice: No bet.
3.40 – 5f Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) (2yo): Really competitive fare as expected to spice up the Saturday card. Wesley Ward had his 10th winner at the meeting when Shang Shang Shang took the Norfolk and it’s no surprise he has the favourite in the Windsor Castle, a race that started his love affair with the meeting. Ward has won this race twice before and Moonlight Romance followed home Thursday’s Norfolk Stakes winner at Keeneland in April before winning by over five lengths at Belmont Park last month so ought to be tough to catch.
It’s not impossible to catch a Ward horse though, and if one horse in this field is capable it could pay to look at the obvious in Queen Of Bermuda. William Haggas’ daughter of Exceed and Excel was beaten only by Shades Of Blue here in an extremely strong maiden and that impression was backed up when Shades Of Blue and Come On Leicester were third and fifth respectively in the Queen Mary on Wednesday.
Her wins at Thirsk and Windsor were both impressive displays and if she runs to form she must have a strong chance.
Aidan O’Brien has had three winners despite a mixed week – what many trainers would give for his results – but his juveniles have run very well, and Van Beethoven is worth giving a chance to. He was considered good enough to head to Newmarket as early as April for the Novice stakes at the Craven meeting and he impressed despite is greenness at the start. He made amends for that in good style at Naas next time out and was a hot favourite to beat Fairyland in the Marble Hill. He lost no face in finishing second given that Fairyland was third in the Albany today whilst Land Force, behind him there, was a close third in the Norfolk. This trip is a potential question mark but as a sharper horse now the start hopefully won’t be a problem and he will have bags of pace to run into here.
Mutawaffer’s Goodwood form has been franked after a promising debut here and he rates a big threat, as does Dom Carlos, who made all in fine style at the Curragh just 15 days ago. He’s open to much further progress now he’s got the hang of things. There are lots of other contenders but Mathieu Plaussiere’s juveniles this season have been deeply impressive in France and both Junius Brutus and Rolling King need serious respect.
Rolling King ought to be suited by dropping back to five furlongs on quick ground, having been outstayed at Chantilly over 6 furlongs on soft ground, and he was an impressive winner on debut from two other stablemates. Junius Brutus, purchased by King Power Racing for £300,000 at Goffs on Monday, has won his first two runs easily and beat La Feve easier than stablemate Rolling King managed to do.
Kessaar might well have won on her debut at York had he not been hampered and it’s significant that John Gosden sees fit to run him here with Frankie Dettori on board. He is one of many eyecatchers along with Chapelli and Solider’s Call.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Queen Of Bermuda (7/1 general), 1 pt each/way Van Beethoven (9/1 general)
4.20 – 6f Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (4yo+): Another fantastic race and a great way to end the week. It has been a long time since an Australian win in this race, but Redkirk Warrior has proven himself a sprinter out of the top drawer in Australia and can strike a blow for those down under. He has been transformed by the Hayes into a top-class sprinter and took his place at he Australian top table with a pair of Group 1 wins earlier in the year. The first came in the Lighting Stakes, when he came from last to first to nail the brilliant Redzel – the country’s then top sprinter and a winner of the richest sprint in the world, The Everest – on the line, and he then stretched out an extra furlong to take the Newmarket Handicap, having made all on the standside. He carried top weight that day, so produced an arguable career best to hold off a top-class field. He gave 13lbs to Merchant Navy that day, form which puts him right in the mix even through a domestic viewpoint. The worry for him is this stiff finish but otherwise all looks set fair.
Merchant Navy, winner of five of his eight races in Australia for Aaron Purcell, took the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington despite an awful passage and was coming with a wet sail in the Newmarket handicap to do the same. He is 13lbs worse off with Redkirk Warrior, but his move to Ballydoyle is highly likely to bring out improvement and his win in the Greenlands Stakes when giving a penalty to the extremely solid yardsticks of Spirit Of Valor and Brando.
Harry Angel, a brilliant winner of the July and Sprint Cups, is 0-4 here but there has been no shame in those defeats and his best effort on this track came at this meeting he pushed Caravaggio to the very limit last year. He was set alight by Intelelgnece Cross on the front end that day that day and will need to be calmer here but sets a high standard and won the Duke Of York doing a hack canter to show his wellbeing. The key for him will be the pace on the front end.
The Tin Man won this last year and was a good third in the Sprint Cup but this will take a lot more winning here although his latest win against D’Bai was a promising reappearance. Librisa Breeze beat a number of these contenders when taking the Champions Day sprint and was badly hampered when fourth in this last year. He goes on all ground but the softer the better for him and a pace burnup would be ideal.
Bound For Nowhere came into this last year with just two runs to his name but he ran a huge race to be fourth at the line after being cut up in his run and he has since won twice, taking the Shakertown Stakes in fine style as a warmup. He appeals as the biggest threat to the front three in the market here.
City Light has massively improved from three to four and is unbeaten this year, winning over six furlongs at Chantilly and Lingfield before taking the Saint-Georges at Longchamp, and a return to six might help him.
Projection was a good third to the Tin Man but will struggle to reverse that form today and Sir Dancelot has a tough task based on his York form with Harry Angel.
Advice: 1 pt win Redkirk Warrior (4/1 general)
5.00 – Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-110) :The bookmakers will be in fear of Dreamfield, the four-year-old who has won his three starts in two years, looking like a star in two of those successes. Injury robbed him of a chance to tackle group sprinters but when he romped home in a handicap on his return he left a very positive impression and the second Silent Echo (who also runs here) has since won twice and done so in good style.
However, he is 4/1, and not an attractive betting promotion with just two races to go and there’s lots of each/way potential. Tupi has had a low-key campaign in Dubai this season but he ran with a good deal of credit when fourth in two valuable 6 furlong handicaps in February and can be forgiven a disappointing effort when upped in trip to seven furlongs there. He was rated 109 after finishing third in the Prix Maurice De Gheest last August an is now rated 100, a full 9lbs lower, with his liking for 6 furlongs over this course already established after a sixth in the 2017 Diamond Jubilee. He’s also won well off a break before; the last time he returned from Dubai was when he won the Cammidge Trophy by four lengths at Doncaster.
Al Qahwa has proven to be very difficult to catch right but this season he’s put two efforts together and he’s arguably been unlucky not to win both of those, being checked in his run at Ripon and then finding his route blocked two furlongs out at Epsom in a competitive handicap that closed out Derby day. He was beginning to his full stride when having to move down to the rail two furlongs out and then was set for third and maybe more when stopped in the final furlong. This much more conventional course will help a great deal and 98 looks fair on that basis.
Victory Angel didn’t kick off from a very impressive win last April, but he began this campaign with a super eye-catching effort at Newmarket once again when thriving for the rising ground and taking fourth on the line. He ought to strip much fitter from that and this is his more realistic Ascot assessment for a good while.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Tupi (14/1 general), 1 pt each/way Tupi (16/1 general), 1 pt each/way Al Qahwa (50/1 Paddy Power, 33/1 general)
5.35 – 2m5½f (2m5f143y) Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions Race) (Class 2) (4yo+): At the mercy of Thomas Hobson with no Oriental Fox but he is just 6/4 so look elsewhere for the places.
Fun Mac’s second in the Chester Cup on his reappearance looks much better after Magic Circle bolted up in the Henry II Stakes and fourth Dubawi Fifty was second in the Ascot Stakes this week. A previous second in the 2015 Ascot Stakes, he could improve from that reappearance and if staying the extra trip, will take all the beating on form.
Count Octave will have a big form chance if his stamina lasts but he’s stepping up a mile in trip and is just 6/1 and Pallasator makes more appeal as a very strong stayer, although whether he’ll be so good on fast ground, or consent to putting in a full effort, remains to be seen.
Nearly Caught isn’t as good as he used to be but he has form at 2m4f, was first past the post in the Oleander-Rennen at Hoppergarten after a good fourth in the Further Flight, and has an each/way chance.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Fun Mac (14/1 general), 1 pt each/way Nearly Caught (12/1 general)
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