Good morning all,
How's your Ascot week going? Mine started dreadfully on Tuesday, before picking up a bit Wednesday and Thursday, but I'm still behind on the week and in search of that elusive big-priced winner that will take me into the black. Here's hoping it's today!
Can I just reiterate that at present I'm only writing on Fridays and Saturdays, hopefully that will change in time too. With that, let's push on with today….
1.15 – Palace Of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f)
If ever a race had the words “burn-up” etched into it, it is this one, with any number of them front-running their way to victory in the past 12 months. Looking at the drop-out merchants that might appreciate being able to pick their way through a big field, Rayong on the far side and Show Me Show Me down the middle make some appeal. I think the ground needs to keep drying out for the former, but the latter managed a second in the Super Sprint at Newbury on ground with plenty of dig in it, and a reproduction of that would give him a solid chance here. But there's any number of potentially well-handicapped ones here, not least the potentially top-class Art Power, so keep stakes lower than a snake's belly.
1.50 – Albany Stakes (6f)
2yo races are most definitely not my thing, but I did have a look at this for someone else and Mahale made a bit of appeal. She took the eye on her debut at Newmarket and ran well, looking very much in need of a sixth furlong, and the race is working out pretty well, with three winners (that all finished behind her) from the race, giving the form a decent look. Problem is, the 25s kicking around yesterday has long gone, and with it, any value. Can see her running well, though.
Get It is now a non-runner in the Norfolk, which ends my interest in that race there.
3.00 – Hardwicke Stakes (1m4f)
Again, another race that makes little appeal for a bet at present. Anthony Van Dyck is the best horse in the race and comes here match fit after his second in the Coronation Cup, but I don't think he's bombproof and Ryan Moore, to my eyes anyway, isn't having one of his best weeks. If pushed, I think Elarqam is probably the most likely winner, with his Haydock form given a big boost by Lord North this week and Jim Crowley riding out of his skin, but I'm happy to watch rather than bet.
3.35 – Commonwealth Cup (6f)
For the last week I've been banging the drum for Golden Horde, who was top-class as a 2yo and has always made plenty of appeal for this. Clive Cox has made no secret of how much he thinks of him and whatever happens today, I do think he'll take high rank among the sprinters this year. I'd have preferred slightly better ground but he got away with awful ground at Deauville last year and this won't be half as bad as that, so it gives hope he'll be fine with conditions. He can take a lead from likely pacesetter Kimari up the middle before striking first, then hopefully holding on….
4.10 – Queens Vase (1m6f)
No great interest in this as a betting contest. Berkshire Rocco ran an even better race than his second in the Lingfield Derby trial suggested, as he got himself embroiled in a bit of a speed duel for the lead for the first 200 yards, but stuck on well and only found possible Derby winner English King too good. But the massive worry is the form of the yard – yes, Andrew Balding, the one that couldn't stop having winners seven days ago, is now seemingly in the middle of a mini-slump. Tactical won for him on Wednesday but that aside, too many have run well below form to make Berkshire Rocco a bet at 4-1. Pass, again….
4.40 – Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (1m4f)
What's drawn wide that wants soft ground, stays well, and ideally has some track form? Should be easy, this…
Well, if we are cross-referencing all that to come up with the winner, look no further than Indianapolis, a 12f winner at Ascot already when beating Genetics here on Shergar Cup day last year. Goes on almost all ground, and has the services of Ben Curtis in the saddle. A pipe-opener two weeks ago will have blown the cobwebs away, and as demonstated, he fits a lot of the criteria here.
There's some 66-1 around about Byron Flyer this morning and that looks worth a pound each-way of your hard-earned as well. Eighth in this last year, beaten just under five lengths, he's 4lb lower this time around. Ideally he wants better ground and I'd have liked a better draw too, but he has form with some cut and it's all factored into the price. Yes, there's no secrets from anyone with this 9yo, but you could get a return for your each-way money if things drop right.
My main bet today – Golden Horde 3.35 Ascot
Good luck with all your bets today,