John Doyle talks through this week’s Royal Ascot meeting
Thursday June 16th
2:30 – Norfolk Stakes
This is the premier 5-furlong sprint for the 2-year-old Colts. Global Applause heads the market here. After a stylish debut win at Newmarket, he was beaten at odds on when stepping up to 6 furlongs at Newbury before returning to 5 furlongs to win again in the National stakes at Sandown. With Aidan O’Brien light on runners, Ryan Moore could ride. The opposition will need to show improvement to trouble the judge
Selection: Global Applause
3:05 – Tercentenary Stakes
This is a great race for unearthing future stars. The Gosden team are represented by Taqdeer, a seriously progressive horse. Having made all at Chelmsford on seasonal debut, he was held up in a hot handicap at Newmarket on 2000 Guineas day. He travelled really well and quickened up impressively to win. The turn of foot was super impressive and the comparable time on the day was best too. Given plenty of time to improve further, this race looks the plan. There are numerous horses with similar progressive profiles among the dangers, led by Gershwin and Hawkbill.
3:40 – Ribblesdale Stakes
The Ballydoyle 3-year-old Fillies are very strong this year and it seems significant that Even Song was held back for this race as Minding and Somehow headed to the Oaks. This Filly had no luck in running at Newmarket but the step up in trip her, looks sure to suit. He strong pedigree backs this up. We Are Ninety has been targeted at the race too but she doesn’t have the same profile
Selection: Even Song
4:20 – Ascot Gold Cup
Order of St George is the latest Ballydoyle staying star to tackle the Gold Cup. This horse is freakish in that he looks a super strong stayer despite not being bred to be a stout stayer. After he ran away with the Irish St leger, his reappearance win was an adequate stepping stone to this race. Max Dynamite heads the opposition but his reappearance effort was poor at Sandown. Pallasator won that race but is hard to settle which would go against him in this race.
Selection: Order of St George
5:00 – Britannia Handicap
This big cavalry charge for the 3-yearolds is another tough one to solve. Chief Whip, for the Richard Hannon team, has run well without winning in top handicap races so far this season. He will be suited by the strong pace and he is becoming battle hardened. Abe Lincoln stayed on eye-catchingly at York in the Chief Whip race and looks to be a plot here for the Jeremy Noseda team. Haalick is another who has had no luck in recent runs who could be competitive too.
Selections: Abe Lincoln
5:35 – King George V Handicap
Another race where the top stables will be targeting. A good starting point is Shraaoh for the Sir Michael Stoute team. He has progressed through Maidens and ran away from his field at Newcastle. By Sea the Stars, this improving type could be partnered by Ryan Moore and is a strong fancy. Dal Harraild won at Mussleboro in a race that was run at a strong pace and had a good time. Further improvement would make him a player. Godolphin’s Prize money is another to consider as his form is to a good level
Selection: Prize Money
Friday June 17th
2:30 – AlbanyStakes
This is the premier 5-furlong sprint for the 2-yearoldFillies. Cuff for the Aidan O’Brien team heads the market. This Filly has won both her latest starts at Naas, showing impressive form despite running green each time. With the extra time to improve and a better attitude more likely, she will go close. The American raider, Create a dream, will be speedy and will be a big danger
3:05 – King Edward V11 Stakes
This is the race for staying 3- year-olds that have skipped the Derby at Epsom. Aidan O’Brien has Beacon Rock entered and this horse showed improved form on reappearance to win the Gallinule Stakes at Curragh. Sure to improve for the step up in trip, he is a strong contender. Carntop has a similar profile from the Ralph Beckitt team. He was narrowly beaten in the Lingfield Derby trial and immediately nominated for this race. He will give Prince Charles and Camilla a strong contender for honours
3:40 – Commonwealth Cup
This race has quickly become one of the most anticipated races at the Royal meeting. Trainers are now targeting this race rather than trying to stretch stamina to the Guineas trip. The market is headed by the Karl Burke trained, Quiet Reflection. This Filly is hugely progressive and shows a super turn of foot. Last year’s Queen Mary heroine, Acapulco, is also well fancied. In all likelihood, Acapulco will storm off in front and will be tying up close home as the field closes. Log Out Island showed blistering speed at Newbury and repeat could create a duel, leaving the closers at an advantage
Selection: Quiet Reflection
4:20 – Coronation Stakes
This year’s renewal looks an exciting race. Aidan O’Brien has kept Ballydoyle for this race since her 2nd placing in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. Out the back that day, she quickened nicely to come through and be placed behind Minding. Nemoralia for the Jeremy Noseda team won impressively on return at York and looks a much improved Filly this year. Beaten by Ballydoyle in a Maiden last year, she may just have improved enough to beat her now
5:00 – Duke of Edinburgh Handicap
Since Roger Varian took over training Barsanti from Luca Cumani, he is unbeaten in three races, progressing to higher level each time. At York last time, from a mark of 96, Barsanti travelled with ease behind the pace before quickened to lead 2 furlongs out and move away strongly. He passed the line looking fresh and will in all likelihood be capable of defying the rise in weights. There will be plenty of dangers in the race with Hughie Morrison trained Ajman Bridge leading them.
5:35 – Queens Vase
Another race where the top stables will be targeting good staying 3-year-olds. Aidan O’Brien has a strong hand, led by Kellstorm. This son of Galileo has looked a stout stayer in the making and is likely to turn around the form with his Naas conqueror Ebediyin, who seemed more suited to speed when he won. Selection: Kellstorm