We have reached day four at Royal Ascot where we have a brace of Group 1 contests, the Commonwealth Cup at 3.05 and the Coronation Stakes at 4.20.
We get underway with what looks a strong edition of the Albany Stakes.
Porta Fortuna and Navassa Island were first and second in an Irish Group 3 (the latter on debut) and the form maybe reversed here while Carla’s Way pulled like a train on her debut at Doncaster but still had enough left to win going away. That looked some performance while Soprano was earmarked for this after winning at Newmarket seven weeks ago on her debut, with the runner-up winning subsequently, but was disappointing here on Friday.
The pick goes to another Newmarket debut scorer in JABAARA she was sent off favourite five week ago and had to wit for a clear run, but sprouted wings down the centre of the track to win going away. It was a good looking performance and the yard took this contest in 2014.
The Commonwealth Cup has been a great addition to the calendar with some brilliant renewals taking place in it’s eight running’s to date.
Little Big Bear will be all the rage following his Sandy Lane victory, especially with Tuesdays winner Bradsell back in third. They were strung out all over Merseyside that day and there was certainly a stands side bias, so I’m not convinced he has as much in hand as the figures suggest and has to be taken on at such a short price.
Plenty of these had promising profiles and are interesting on their drop back to sprinting having tried to be stretched to a mile for classic success in the Guineas. Sakheer is one who won the Mill Reef Stakes last year and Stamina was a serious doubt for a mile, while LEZOO is another in the filles equivalent.
She was a Group 1 winning juvenile who had Meditate and 1000 Guineas heroine Tahiyra behind in the Cheveley Park Stakes last year. She also won the Princess Margaret over this track and trip and with Frankie Dettori aboard, I expect she wil be the subject of some support and has a huge chance of rewarding it.
Shaquille is on the improve and would be a huge winner for the Julie Camacho team while Marbaan could outrun his huge odds. He was just behind Bradsell here last month and took on older horses when narrowly beaten four weeks ago at Salisbury with Jamie Spencer back on board.
A wildly competitive renewal of the Duke FO Edinburgh Stakes.
Al Nafir heads the betting but is returning from a seven month layoff and 10lb higher after a narrow Newmarket win in October. The third home, Haunted Dream is 6lb better off for four lengths and has guaranteed fitness yet is three times the price. He could go well for each way backers while Maksud has been supported. If he was in the same form as when second to Secret State at Goodwood last summer, he too would have big claims.
But the pick is OKITA SOUSHI for Joseph O’Brien and Ryan Moore. He was a never nearer third in last year’s Copper Horse Stakes and it is interesting connections are dropping in trip to a mile and a half. With Moore booked and stall nine, a forceful ride may be on the cards and there is no doubt he is well handicapped off a 2lb lower mark than when third here twelve months ago.
It could be argued that TAHIYRA is unlucky not to be a dual 1000 Guineas heroine and she will take plenty of beating in this contest. She is odds on but for a reason. She had and easy length and a half to spare over Meditate and is less exposed than that filly too. On just her third start and with more improvement likely, she is very hard to oppose. The only worry is the ground being too quick, but the team have done a great job watering and there is a fantastic covering of grass.
Queen For You looks to have a big future and is unlucky not to be unbeaten. She ran a huge race which unfolded against her at York when narrowly failing to reel in Sounds of Heaven. She should turn that form around and could be the main danger to the favourite with a debut course success already on her CV.
Another big field handicap, this time of 3yo fillies, to try and sift through.
Coppice has won two all-weather contests but was well held on her only turf start. She may appreciate this this surface though as horses do seem to transfer AW form to it well and it’s another mount for Frankie.
Chelsea Thoroughbreds had the 1-2 in the Britannia and they send Chelsea Green out here on the back of a seasonal debut victory at Newmarket five weeks ago and has incurred just a 5lb rise.
Girl Racer could be well treated. She was seventh in the Nell Gwyn and despite an odds on defeat at Haydock last time, it doesn’t tell the story. She nearly fell coming from the stalls and was on the back foot throughout. She should leave that form behind.
However, JACKIE OH was last seen finishing fifth in the Irish 2000 Guineas, the quickest ground she has encountered to date. Amongst her talented siblings is Onassis, who won this race in 2020 for Charlie Fellowes and the ill-fated Group 1 winning 3yo Line Of Duty, being out of 1000 Guineas ‘winner’ Jacqueline Quest. She has a lot of weight but clearly has class, a good draw and Ryan Moore on board. I will be hugely surprised if she isnt involved at the finish.
A mini re-run of the Betfred Derby with four of the six runners taking each other on once again.
With major ground doubts surrounding Arrest and Continuous perhaps not in the top tree of Coolmore three-year-olds, this looks best left to Betfred Derby runner-up KING OF STEEL. He didn’t get to have his prep race having been unruly at the start of the Dante at York, which is a small concern, but he was on his best behaviour at Epsom and made Auguste Rodin work hard for victory.
If none the worse for those exertions, he should take the world of beating here on route to a potential Betfred St Leger tilt in September.
Dubai Mile needs to bounce back from a poor Derby effort, but that is conceivable while Artistic Star was one who stayed on down the Epsom straight and may appreciate a more conventional track here.
It doesn’t get any easier if you haven’t had a winner by this point with 28 3yo sprinters to sort out in the lucky last!
Frankness delivered in style at Goodwood last time but is up another 5lb and has been beaten off lower marks previously while Conquistador, like many others in the field, come here on the back of a career best effort.
Tatterstall won the 3yo ‘Dash’ at the Derby meeting despite getting upset in the preliminaries which suggests a 7lb rise could be overcome, but I will chance KERDOS here for Clive Cox and Rossa Ryan. He caught my eye staying on third at Chester when outpaced early and the stiff straight five furlongs should suit. He is 12lb better off with the runner-up Jer Batt and 4lb better off with the winner Danger Alert. In a wide open contest, he will carry my each way support.
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