Could be Soggy Saturday Selections today, as I'm off to work at Chester and it's not lookig good…
Tricky races to try and solve today, but my thoughts are on the main piece with a double-figure selection.
Ascot 2.05 – Rous Stakes
Hard to solve, this.
Dakota Gold could win this on last year’s form, and the ground has probably come right for him, but you’re looking for excuses for his last two efforts, particularly last time when he ought to have done better. King Of Stars is turning into the new Caspian Prince for the Appleby yard, he’s got blazing early speed but it’s a worry his one really poor effort his year came on soft ground. Similarly, Tis Marvellous, despite a welter of good Ascot form, wants it quicker too.
Minzaal’s been on the missing list for a year, but it’s hard to forget what an easy winner of the Gimcrack he was, and I wouldn’t totally discount him, but in the end I’m having two very small bets. Keep Busy, who has conditions to suit her and ran a cracker on ground quick enough in the Kings Stand here earlier in the year, is one, and in the hope we get an absolute deluge, I’ll have to have a “just in case” each-way fiver on Snazzy Jazzy, who in truth hasn’t shown enough this year and was a bit disappointing in the Ayr Gold Cup again last time, but a stiff 5f on genuinely soft ground could see him run on into the places.
Ascot 2.40 – Cumberland Lodge Stakes
Hukum is the one to beat on the figures, but I don’t like the fact that “respiratory noise” was given as a reason for his defeat last time, especially not at this time of the year, and to my eyes there’s a ready-made alternative in the shape of Quickthorn, who has progressed well throughout the year, finishing runner-up in the Ebor and then pulling out a remarkable performance at Salisbury last time, where – and let’s make no bones about this – he was off home as the tape went up, giving the field an 8l start, only to get back in touch at halfway and run out a ready winner in the end. A heavy-ground winner of the Duke Of Edinburgh here earlier in the year, he can’t have it soft enough, and looks a good bet.
Ascot 3.15 – Bengough Stakes
The question to ask is whether Glen Shiel is the same horse he was last year or not, as he could pick this lot up and drop them if he is, but his last two efforts have been well below par and a small question now has to be asked, for all that he drops in grade quite significantly here.
If he misfires again, this looks wide open, but with plenty of pace on (Glen Shiel himself, Punchbowl Flyer and quite probably Diligent Harry) I’m again thinking of trying two small wins bets in the shape of Lullaby Moon and Vadream.
Lullaby Moon didn’t fire on her first two starts for Ralph Beckett, but a switch back to Joe Tuite’s yard, where she was originally, saw her put in a much better effort at Goodwood, a slowish pace counting against her but she still finished her race off well for a close fourth. It may be that she needs 7f these days but some more rain would counter that somewhat, and this is a stiff 6f, so she might get away with it.
Vadream was back in the field that day, suffering a horror show under Jamie Spencer as every gap they went for closed, so put a line through that and instead concentrate on her very good third in the Jersey at the Royal meeting here. She didn’t quite get home over 7f that day, and again, a stiff 6f with cut might be just what she requires to show her best. A better chance than her odds suggest.
2.20 Newmarket – Tattersalls Auction Stakes
Sticking up the favourite in a field of thirty runners hardly seems like I’ve even looked at the race but in truth the more I look at it I’m convinced Fearby is a 2-1 shot to win this rather than a 4-1 poke (the 4s has gone, but the 3-1 is still fair) and with firms offering each-way 5 places that really does look an each-way bet to nothing.
The bottom line here is that he’s got the best speed figures, the best form, and I don’t think a middle draw is going to inconvenience him too much. Neither would slower ground, having shown he handles it when second to Armor in the Molecomb, and he steps down from Group company. There’s a lot going for him, and having led last time, I think Ryan Moore might well keep it simple here, and try to take them from start to finish.
There’s always the chance there’s a massive improver in here could come and chin him – Stubble Field and possibly Luna Queen, who ran a cracker from a terrible draw at Doncaster, head that list, but Fearby looks rock-solid to run his race again, and that may well be good enough.
Today's selection – Lullaby Moon (e/w 4 places, 5 with Skybet) 3.15 Ascot
Good luck with all your bets today,