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Royal Ascot – Day 5

Morning all,

Inspiral put in the performance of the meeting when slamming a high-class field in the Coronation Stakes yesterday. The bookies were also slammed on Friday with punters who kept things simple making hay in the Ascot sun.

It’s almost done for another year. Royal Ascot comes and goes in the blink of an eye and here we are on the final day of the meeting.  It been a hard meeting punting wise and today’s card looks the toughest of the whole meeting.

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In today’s column I look at the first four races on the card. Once again, it’s the 2-year-old’s that get us underway in the Listed Chesham Stakes (2:30).

2:30 – Chesham Stakes (Listed) – 7f

The Aidan O’Brien trained Alfred Munnings could be something special after seeing his racecourse debut success at Leopardstown. It will be interesting to see how short he goes in the betting as the yard has won four of the last six running’s of the race.  He does face some promising rivals though including Curragh winner Crypto Force and recent Yarmouth runner-up Alzahir who Frankie Dettori rides from three Gosden runners. Then we have Finn’s Charm who outclassed four rivals at Musselburgh last time and The Foxes. The latter is a half-brother to Bangkok. He’s going to be at his best as 3-year-old over 1m 2f, but he shaped with plenty of promise when 2 length 4th of 14 to Dark Thirty on his racecourse debut in maiden at Newbury. Dark Thirty is capable of further progress with racing but probably not as much as The Foxes.

Verdict: Alfred Munnings looks the most likely winner, but The Foxes has each way claims.
3:05 – Jersey Stakes (Group 3) – 7f

Noble Truth tops the ratings here and he looked an ideal type for this when winning a Newmarket Listed race in April. He’s been gelded since that run but looks a worthy favourite. However, he does face a couple of interesting rivals who bring classic form to the race.

Star Girls Aalmal was well backed before finishing a6 ¼ lengths fourth of 14 to Homeless Songs in Irish 1000 Guineas last time. She was just run out of second close to home and the drop back to 7f will suit the filly. Rocchigiani almost stole the German 2,000 Guineas but was caught close to home by Maljoom. The winner has boosted the form of that race when finishing an unlucky fourth in the Group 1 St James’ Palace Stakes earlier this week. The drop back to 7f should suit and if he’s effective on quick ground should go well.

Samburu is unbeaten on his three starts. He takes a big step up in class from handicap company last time. The Kingman colt is capable of more progress with racing and is probably a pattern horse in the making.

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French Challenger Toimy Son won a Longchamp Listed race 48-days ago and this has been the target since. He’s got each way claims if the handles the quickest ground he’s run on. Tacarib Bay might want the thunderstorms to arrive, but he wasn’t disgraced when 9¼ lengths 12th of 15 to Coroebus in 2000 Guineas. This is more his level and he’s another with place claims.

3:40 – Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) – 1m 4f

Hurricane Lane is the best of these on form, but the favourite is worth taking on his seasonal return, especially if the ground continues to be as quick as it is.

Broome has 6lb to find with the favourite on official ratings. He will handle the ground and will strip a lot fitter for his seasonal return last time. The Aidan O’Brien trained 6-year-old is the each-way thieves’ selection, if all eight runners stand their ground.

Solid Stone has been supplemented for the race on his first start over 1m 4f. The gelding is an uncomplicated ride with a good attitude at the finish and goes well on quick ground. Trainer Sir Michael Stoute has won this race five times since 2012.

4:20 – Platinum Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) – 6f

Australian sprinter Home Affairs is a short-priced favourite to give Chris Waller another Group 1 success after Nature Strip’s win in the King Stand Stakes on Tuesday. The other Australian challenger Artorius has a bit to find on ratings with the favourite but he’s got a good chance as Ascot stiff 6f could suit him with Jamie Spencer talking the ride. It could be that the Australian horses are much better than the rest, but they do face 25 rivals.

Plenty of each way contenders

Highfield Princess looked much improved for the step back to 6f when quickening clear of her eight rivals when winning the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes at York last time. Minzaal was a 3 ¾ length third to Highfield Princess on his seasonal return last time. However, the winner had race fitness on her side that day and Minzaal does get the addition of the first time cheekpieces.

Alcohol Free won two Group 1’s over a mile last year. Hasn’t been at her best on both starts over that distance this season and looks interesting dropped back to sprinting. Albeit she might prefer softer ground.

You can make cases for. A Case Of You, C&D winner’s Creative Force & Campanelle and Emaraaty Ana.

Great Ambassador was an improving sprinter last year and ended the campaign with an excellent 2nd of 24 in the Ayr Gold Cup under a big weight.  He goes well fresh and wouldn’t need to improve much for the step into Group company.

Another who goes well fresh is Sacred who is 2-2 when returning from a 121+day layoff. Quick ground suits and there was plenty to like about her performance when winning the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes (7f) at Newbury last season. She’s got plenty of pace and shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the drop back to 6f.

Samurai’s out for cavalry charge

A maximum field of 28 have been declared for the cavalry charge known as the Wokingham Handicap. It could be 27 as there is a doubt about the participation of one of the leading fancies Fresh. Rohaan is 3lb lower than when winning the race 12 months ago and if he bounces back to his best will be tough to beat. There were ten on my shortlist for the race and I have bet three of them. Silver Samurai has been on my radar since his Haydock win. And, if low is the place to be then he’s got a great chance under a 5lb penalty.

Royal Ascot Selection:

I’m torn between The Foxes each way in the Chesham Stakes or going with Broome to beat Hurricane Lane in the Hardwicke Stakes.

2:30 – The Foxes – 14/1 @ Bet365 (paying 4 places).

Good luck with your Royal Ascot bets.

John

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