Royal Ascot Day Five Tips And Picks: Free Wind A Hope For The Hardwicke Stakes

We have all the picks for Saturday's racing
17:00, 23 Jun 2023

The fifth and final day of a fantastic week at Royal Ascot. The sun has shone, Their Majesties have had their first Royal winner, Frankie has delivered winning the big one again for the final tie, and we had a coupe of winners along the way. 

It’s not quite finished yet though, what does Saturday have in store, other than Frankie Dettori’s final ever rides on this finest of stages?


Aidan O’Brien has won four of the last eight running’s of the Chesham, all as favourite, and he saddles a pair of once raced juveniles in this year’s renewal. Ryan Moore gets on the winning debutant Pearls And Rubies who got up on the line to win over the minimum trip a fortnight ago. Wayne Lordan will ride Content, who was only just beaten over this trip at Leopardstown. She is by superstar sprinter Mecca’s Angel but gets his stamina from sire Galileo and as clear claims. 

I am taking both the Ballydoyle fillies on though with another of the fairer sex in Richard Hannon’s LA GUARDIA. Amo Racing have had a juvenile winner this week (150/1 in the Norfolk Stakes) and this filly built on eye catching debut behind Albany contender Jabaara when scoring easily at Goodwood, ahead of Indispensable who scored at Ripon on Wednesday night. 

Last year’s first three returned 40/1, 80/1 and 33/1 in the Chesham and Matnookh may outrun his big price as he can only build on a clueless but ultimately promising debut at Windsor. 


I get the feeling there could be a nationwide gamble on Covey in the Jersey Stakes, looking the likeliest to give Frankie Dettori a victorious farewell winner from Royal Ascot. 

The latest of his three wins was a very easy one, giving 2lb and a healthy beating to Royal Cape who wasn’t disgraced in the Britannia on Thursday and he has a clear from choice. 

Charlie Appleby has won the last two renewals and saddles Mysterious Night who hast been seen since finishing seventh when favourite for the Craven Stakes in April. Both that break and the indifferent run of form for the yard are causes for concern with him. 

Enfjaar is unbeaten in two runs to date, most recently a Chelmsford Novice win under a penalty a month ago. 

It could be a good start to Saturday though for Amo Racing and Kevin Stott as I like their OLIVIA MARALDA to deliver the goods. She is two from two over seven furlongs on good to firm ground including at Epsom three weeks ago when clear of Holguin in second. She is 2b worse off but went off favourite for the Rockfel last season when the ground wasn’t deemed quick enough and she has optimum conditions here. with the fillies allowance she is right there on ratings and looks a decent proposition at a double figure price. 



Royal Ascot has become a truly international event and nothing could highlight that more than the field for this year’s Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes with British, Australian, American, French and Hong Kong contenders in the line-up. 

Highfield Princess returns after her near miss on Tuesday in the King’s Stand Stakes and will be popular while last year’s dead heated third Artorius comes back from Australia to try and go two places better. All his preparations have gone well and James McDonald is adamant he is in better form this year than twelve months ago, so the warning should be heeded. 

I’m sure Wellington will go close, the Hong Kong raider with Ryan Moore booked. They have some super sprinters in the far east and he has been amongst them for a couple of seasons now. 

I will take a chance on last year’s fifth SACRED for William Haggas and Tom Marquand. She was only beaten a length last year and although she is pigeonholed as a seven furlong horse, this stiff six should suit her perfectly. She zipped around Lingfield six weeks ago on her seasonal return, pulling clear from Sandrine and she must make her presence felt here.

Course specialist Rohaan, who has won the last two Wokingham Stakes, enters calculations while Run To Freedom was second to Kinross in the Champions Sprint at a huge price in October and may enter the frame again at a big price for Sprint king Henry Candy. 


What a line-up we have for the Hardwicke Stakes. 

Owen Burrows has produced a miracle to get Hukum back from the brink of retirement due to injury to beat last years Derby hero at Sandown over a trip short of his best. If that effort four weeks ago hasn’t taken its toll then he is the likeliest winner back over his optimum trip. 

Taking him on is Melbourne Cup fourth Deauville Legend who ran out of his skin for a 3yo Down Under in November and that looks the target again. He has all the tools to run well here and while he’ll be fit enough, he may build on whatever he does here with Flemington and an autumn campaign in mind.

Pyledriver hasn’t been since winning the King George last summer and is another who may need it after injury problems and eleven months off which leaves the mare FREE WIND as the pick. 

She showed enough speed to beat Wednesday’s Duke Of Cambridge winner Rogue Millennium over ten furlongs at York last month, form that was crabbed at the time but looks fantastic now. She stays very well so will appreciate the step back up in trip and was a very impressive winner of last year’s Lancashire Oaks despite being ‘assaulted’ two furlongs out. Frankie is onboard too and the roof may come off the stands if she delivers on one of the Italians final Royal Ascot rides. 


The Wokingham is arguably the trickiest sprint handicap of the season to solve and is a minefield for punters. It was incredible that Rohaan managed to win back-to-back renewals but with him aiming higher this afternoon, there will be a new name on the roll of honour. 

Incredibly for a 28 runner handicap, stall ten has produced three of the last four winners and it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that that stat is enhanced with Lethal Levi berthed there. He climbed the rankings last year showing a tough attitude and showed he maintains a level of form as a 4yo when narrowly denied by Bielsa at York last month. 

Apollo One had Mr Wagyu and Probe behind at Epsom three weeks ago when flying wide and fast but Probe may turn that form around over a stiffer six furlongs here. 

The likes of Fresh, King’s Lynn and Summerghand are regulars in these types of races who have nothing to hide from the handicapper, but that isnt the case with ORAZIO for Charles Hills and William Buick. 

ORAZIO missed his entire 3yo career after suffering an injury in the Gimcrack as a 2yo and showed he could still have potential as a group sprinter by winning at Newmarket in April then blitzing the opposition over track and trip here six weeks ago. He has incurred a 9lb rose for that victory but being so lightly raced there could be looks to be plenty more in the tank and he could well be running in group races by the end of the season. He is favourite for good reason and looks the only horse in the field who could be hiding a few pounds from the handicapper against largely exposed sorts.


Horse Racing has a habit of throwing up fairytales and there is a chance that the lightly raced ZIRYAB becomes one of the most famous horses in training. He will forever be associated as the final horse Frankie Dettori rode at Royal Ascot and there is an excellent chance he is the Italians final winner here too. He ran second to St James’s Palace sixth Mostabshir at York before making all to win at Leicester recently. The step up in trip here which looks sure to suit and a I’ll be shocked if he is not rated many pounds north of the 88 he runs off here. ZIRYAB was originally a reserve for this race but got in a couple of hours before the cut off point. It’s written in the stars, isnt it?

He may well be a false price though if the expected wave of support comes for Frankie’s final mount which may give some value in the field. 

Canute got off the mark on his first try at this trip at Navan a fortnight ago but has had an 11lb rise while Knockbrex chased home Queens Vase third Chesspiece at York five weeks ago and has to be consider as a Charlie Johnston middle distance 3yo, the type of horse that the yard excel with. 

At a bigger price, Liberty Lane burst onto the scene with an impressive Nottingham win last season and time has shown there was no disgrace in finishing second to Waipiro at Newmarket in April. He needs to leave his Dante run at York behind him but that is very plausible and he may be worth a small each way play to bounce back.


The thirty fifth and final race of Royal Ascot 2023 and the longest of the entire calendar is the Queen Alexandra Stakes over two- and three-quarter miles. 

Stratum will be all the rage in his hat-trick bid for Willie Mullins. He had been well beaten in both his prep runs the past two seasons so in that respect it was encouraging he was only beaten six lengths at Leopardstown fie weeks ago over a trip a mile less. 

He is the one to beat and while I think this prize will head to Ireland, I think it will be with Joseph O’Brien courtesy of DAWN RISING. He was a highly tried novice hurdle last season, finishing third in a Grade 1 and although pulled up in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham, he finished ahead of Stratum in that Leopardstown race and Ryan Moore has been booked to take the ride and finish his week on a high. 

Cesarewitch winner Run For Oscar and former Chester Cup winner Falcon Eight give Ireland a very strong hand with Andrew Balding’s Typewriter and the enigmatic Goshen heading the home team who may be playing for paces at best.

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