Royal Ascot Day 4 Preview
The top-quality action just keeps coming on Day 4 of the Royal Ascot meet where we have both the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup and Group 1 Coronation Stakes. Day three of the preview struck gold as Perotto won the Britannia Stakes, highlighted at 22/1. Mohaafeth provided the preview with another winner whilst Princess Zoe 28/1, Nagano 12/1 and Danyeh 11/1 all placed. Fingers crossed the good form continues!
Moore and O’Brien can strike in the first
The opening race of the day is the Group 3 Albany Stakes over six furlongs. Flotus heads the current betting for Simon and Ed Crisford and the pair have secured the services of a certain Frankie Dettori. Flotus looked a lovely prospect on debut, but the form hasn’t worked out well with both the second and fourth being well beaten since. Aiden O’Brien has just the one previous Albany win to his name, but he has often run some very good fillies in it, including the likes of Fairyland and Mother Earth in the last three years. The Ballydoyle maestro saddles Prettiest 13/2 in this year’s renewal who left a lovely impression on debut when winning a Navan maiden by three quarters of a length. She was always doing enough that day and finished off her race strongly. She is a beautifully bred filly, out of three-time Group 1 winner Alice Springs, and by Irish Guineas and exceptional sire, Dubawi. That pedigree would scream class but also stamina over todays six-furlong trip, which is a quality I like around Ascot. Aiden O’Brien doesn’t usually have his two-year-olds fully firing first time out, so the fact she won in the manner she did is a highly encouraging sign. I expect her to improve plenty and odds of 33/1 for next years 1000 Guineas could look a nice price.
Rain could be key to the outcome of the King Edward
The Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes over a mile and a half is next up on the cards where current favourite, Alenquer, is a very interesting runner for William Haggas and Tom Marquand. Lifetime form figures of 121 suggest a fair level of ability but the form of his last success is particularly eye catching, having beaten Derby winner Adayar over a mile and two furlongs. Adayar improved significantly for the step up to a mile and a half but I wouldn’t be entirely convinced Alenquer will make the same step forward. The Mediterranean is an interesting runner for his powerful connections, but he visually shapes as though he may want even further. This looks a potentially trappy little contest and I think Belloccio 25/1 is worth a play at a much bigger price. A Listed winner as a two-year-old on soft ground, he will love every inch of rain that falls and has faced Alenquer already this season. He was just over 8 lengths behind him that day but as mentioned before, that run came over a mile and two furlongs, on good ground. I expect the step up to a mile and a half to suit Belloccio and the soft ground could bring about any amount of improvement. If the rain comes and soft is in the going description, he’s worth an each way play.
More Group 1 glory for Dettori
The first Group 1 of the day is the Commonwealth Cup over six furlongs where a very competitive field of 20 are set to go to post. Both Jumby and Dragon Symbol come into this in fine form but must improve again if they are to land Group 1 honours. Supremacy is another runner who must improve after a very disappointing reappearance run. His two-year-old form certainly makes him a major player and at 11/1 he could be a huge price. I do think he represents a risky proposition though. One of the more solid options, and my play in the race, is Campanelle 9/2 for Wesley Ward and Frankie Dettori. She had a fantastic season last year, winning the Queen Mary at this meeting and the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville. She failed to stay when tried over a mile on her last start and this return to sprinting looks a good move. She’s versatile ground wise, so any rain that falls isn’t a problem. She won her first two-year-old start, so we know she goes well fresh and I am hopeful of a very big run.
Take a chance on Snow Lantern in fantastic Coronation Stakes
A really good-looking field of 13 are set to contest this year’s Group 1 Coronation Stakes over a mile. Mother Earth rightfully heads the betting after her 1000 Guineas win and her Poule d’Essai des Pouliches second. That French run came on very soft ground and to my eye she didn’t quite run to the level she did at Newmarket. On rain softened ground, she could be worth taking on. Irish 1000 Guineas winner Empress Josephine has no ground concerns after he triumph at the Curragh, on ground officially described as heavy. If the rain pours down, she must be a play at around the 5/1 mark. Pretty Gorgeous should strip fitter for her effort in behind Empress Josephine but at 4/1 wouldn’t be my idea of a bet. The English charge is headed by Primo Bacio who was extremely impressive on her last start but I quite like the chances of Snow Lantern 12/1 who was five lengths behind her in third. Richard Hannon has always held this filly in the highest of regards and she looked a seriously smart prospect when winning her seasonal reappearance. She was far too keen last time out and dwelt at the start. She will need to settle far better here, but I do believe she possesses quite the engine. The bigger field will hopefully help her settle and at 12/1 she looks a nice each way play.
Beautifully bred filly can strike now dropped to handicap company
The competitive big field handicaps keep coming at Royal Ascot and the Sandringham Stakes over a mile is next on the card. Unsurprisingly this looks wide open, so I have decided to go for the class angle and Aiden O’Brien’s Friendly 11/1. Now an eight-race maiden, she clearly has a bit to prove off a mark of 102 but she is bred to very good and her last start yielded her best effort yet. She finished sixth in the Irish 1000 Guineas and her price could crash if either Pretty Gorgeous or Empress Josephine run a big race in the Coronation Stakes. With form in the book on both good and soft ground, the rainfall that comes shouldn’t be an issue and she’s already come in for some early market support.
Defending Champ can retain his crown
The penultimate race on Day 4 is the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes over a mile and a half. Aaddeey currently heads the betting and has strong claims for jockey James Doyle. Quickthorn lies second in the betting and appeared to be in fantastic form on his seasonal reappearance, romping to an eight-length success. He has been hit with a 13lb hike in the weights though and he has run well fresh in the past before. Defending champion, Scarlett Dragon 18/1 hasn’t won a race since, but as a result has seen his mark drop to just 4lbs higher than last year’s winning one. We know he likes the track, and the rain forecast will be to his liking too having won the race last year on soft ground. Hollie Doyle takes the ride once again and Scarlett Dragon comes into this race fit after some exploits over hurdles. The signs are there for a very big run.
Warrior Brave to outbattle them all in the last
The last race of the day is the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes over five furlongs. This looks absolutely wide open, and truth be told I wouldn’t have a strong opinion. The selection will be Warrior Brave 8/1 for Silvestre De Sousa and Michael Appleby. He’s been in good heart this season and has some eye-catching runs to his name. On a couple of occasions, he has finished closely to Atalis Bay who finished just 3 lengths behind the 114 rated Winter Power. Warrior Brave pushed Atalis Bay close on his last start which makes his handicap mark of 93 look a generous one. My one area of concern would be the softening ground conditions. Warrior Brave’s three turf runs this season have all come on Good to Firm, but both his Sire and Dam won with ease in the ground, so I’m hopeful he will still run to form.
By Sam Rideout
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