The top-quality action just keeps coming on Day 2 of Royal Ascot. The feature race of the day is undoubtedly the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes where we see the return of Aiden O’Brien’s superstar filly Love. The preview hit the crossbar on Day 1, recording one winner and four places. Let’s hope we can turn a few of those places into winners on Day 2.
Two darts in the opener to kick off Day 2
The Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes over five furlongs kicks off Day 2 and a fiercely competitive field of 22 are set to go to post. American raiders, Twilight Gleaming and Artos currently head the betting, and both warrant plenty of respect. Their form is tough to assess and in a race of this nature, I prefer to look for one at a bigger price. Get Ahead 16/1 represents the 2017 winning connections of Adam Kirby and Clive Cox. I believe the pair have a good chance of repeating the feat with a filly who has a course and distance win to her name. Get Ahead knew her job that day and won in a very professional manner. The third and the sixth placed horses have come out and won since so the form would look okay to. As a daughter of Showcasing, she should relish the fast conditions underfoot and I think she can go well for connections that know how to strike at Royal Ascot. As a fan of Get Ahead, I am also interested in Choux 40/1 on a form line through El Hadeeyah. El Hadeeyah finished one and a half lengths behind Get Ahead and then seven and a quarter lengths behind Choux. El Hadeeyah may not have run to form that day, but at 40/1 I believe Choux looks a little overpriced. He was subject to quite a big gamble that day, so if the money starts talking once again, he could be very hard to ignore!
St Ledger clues on offer in intriguing Queen’s Vase
Classic clues are on offer in the next at Royal Ascot with the Group 2 Queen’s Vase over a mile and six furlongs. Kew Gardens excelled over this sort of trip, and I fully expect his brother Wordsworth 3/1 to do the same. His short career to date has yielded form figures of 212 but amongst these are some potentially high-class pieces of form. On debut he finished just three quarters of a length behind the extremely promising High Definition before winning his first start as a three-year-old. He was narrowly denied by stablemate Sir Lucan on his last start, but he looked a bit raw in the finish and hung right up the run in. That experience will have done him the world of good and the extra furlong should play to his strengths. Of those set to take him on, I thought Taipan was a potential each way player. Held in high regard by connections, he has often been well supported and failed to deliver. The early market support has been there for him again and this trip could be what he is crying out for.
Don’t go against the Palace Pier form
Next up on the card is the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes over a mile. A competitive field of 13 go to post but I find it very difficult to look past current favourite Lady Bowthorpe 2/1 who ran an absolute cracker behind Queen Anne winner, Palace Pier, in the Lockinge last time out. She was just over a length behind the star miler that day but finished five and a half lengths in front of Top Rank and a further four a three-quarter-lengths ahead of Lord Glitters. She has already beaten main market rival Queen Power on her seasonal reappearance and her Lockinge performance suggested she improved plenty for the run. With course form to her name and both her trainer and jockey in fine form, there is an awful lot to like about her chances. Of those at a bigger price, I thought Double Or Bubble could provide some value. She is an extremely progressive profile and James Doyle has been booked to ride. Watch out for her at a double figure price.
There is lots to Love about the Prince Of Wales Stakes
The feature race on Day 2 is the Group 1 Prince Of Wales Stakes over a mile and two furlongs. Lord North is the highest rated horse in the field but the extremely exciting Love 6/4 heads the betting. Aiden O’Brien’s superstar filly completed a Classic double last year winning both the 1000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks. She hasn’t been seen since winning the Yorkshire Oaks which would give you the impression, she has maybe had some setbacks. She did win the 1000 Guineas on her first start last season, so we know she goes well fresh. Being a filly, she receives the sex allowance which puts her clear on Official Ratings and the quick ground should be to her liking. Lord North was impressive in Meydan last time out, but he did burst blood vessels and Felix didn’t enhance the form in the Wolferton Stakes. This looks the perfect trip for Armory who has a fitness edge over his stablemate, but I believe he has to step up again to match the form of Love. She is a sea of blue in the current market so my guess would be she is ready to rumble and therefore I think she’ll take the world of beating.
Two against the field in devilishly tricky Royal Hunt Cup
The Royal Hunt Cup over a mile comes next on the card and it is one of the most competitive races of the week. With 30 runners set to go to post, it really is quite the spectacle. Sir Michael Stoute’s Astro King 8/1 is the first of two horses I like in here. He beat current market favourite, Finest Sound, on his seasonal reappearance before a fine effort in the Thirsk Hunt Cup. Finest Sound went on to frank that form, but Astro King will have to overcome a negative swing at the weights with that rival. Astro King visually shapes to me as though a frantically run, big field handicap, could be right up his street. Ryan Moore takes the ride, and he has a good high draw in 27. I am hopeful he can run a big race.
The other horse who caught my eye was Maydanny 22/1 for last year’s winning trainer Mark Johnston. A promising three-year-old campaign included a good seventh in the Royal Hunt Cup behind Sir Busker and a stylish win at York. He reappeared at the beginning of May with a good second to the reopposing Bell Rock who enhanced the form in a Group 3 at Epsom. Meydanny hasn’t been seen since, and it is likely he has been put away for this. He has a got a good draw in 24 and should appreciate the quick conditions. At 22/1 he looks a lovely each way price.
Day 2 De Ja Vu for Buick supporters
The penultimate race of the day is the Windsor Castle Stakes over five furlongs. Wesley Ward fires two darts at this year’s renewal and the pair top the current betting. With Frankie Detorri booked, it is no surprise to Ruthin has come in for plenty of early support. The American from is tricky to assess and at 2/1 she makes little appeal to me. William Buick struck gold aboard Reshoun in the Ascot stakes on Day 1, and I am hoping he could have another big priced winner aboard Robasta 66/1. Form figures of 232 in some fairly average contests wouldn’t initially fill you with confidence but both the third and fourth placed horses in his last start have come out and won since, and his debut second has been enhanced by the winner. He quite clearly must considerably raise his game but this son of Mehmas should appreciate the quick conditions underfoot and he has a decent effort over course and distance to his name. William Buick takes the ride which could be a clue as to how well connections rate his chances. William rode Flaming Rib last time out who is a 12/1 shot yet he takes the ride aboard Robasta. Dascombe does ride a lot for Kingscote so it may well a political decision, but it just might be a clue. At 66/1, with plenty of places on offer, in an open race, I am willing to find out!
More Joy for Buick in the lucky last
The final race of the day is the Kensington Palace Stakes over a mile. Dreamloper currently heads the betting for Walker and Murphy whilst Mostly has seen some support for her powerful connections. I’m going to side for a certain Mr Buick again, this time aboard Dalanijujo 20/1. For starters, it is interesting to see William take the ride despite Godolphin having a runner, which like the previous race could be a little clue as to the hopes of the connections. Dalanijujo has been seen just the once this season, recording a cosy win at Windsor under a great ride from Tom Marquand. He received a 4lb rise for that success, but I thought he was good for much more than the winning distance suggested. He travelled sweetly into the contest and I think he’ll thrive in this big field handicap. The ground conditions should suit, and he looks a lovely price at 20/1.
By Sam Rideout
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