Ascot’s second day opens with the 7f Jersey stakes (1430). We are a little bit heartbroken to see Chessman involved as we had hoped he would be exploiting a ridiculously generous handicap rating later in the week. Stable companion Daban must have a chance, as does French challenger Le Brivido, but this looks booked for Dream Castle who didn’t have a lot of luck in the Guineas and can be suited by a step down in class and distance.
The 5f Queen Mary stakes is a bit of guesswork. US trainer Wesley Ward has done very well in this in the past, and gives the leg-up to Frankie Dettori on Happy Like A Fool, and she is likely to be hard to beat. We can’t resist a bit of Heartache for trainer Clive Cox, she won well at Bath and can come home to a chorus of Bonnie Tyler…
Laugh Aloud was an easy winner at Epsom. She steps up in class in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1540), but can continue what might be a memorable day for John Gosden fans.
The feature race, The Prince of Wales stakes features another Gosden favourite in Jack Hobbs. He is a class act, but may not get the timely deluge that set up his big win in Dubai. He could be vulnerable, but picking one from the rest looks tricky.
Our main interest will be in annual cavalry charge, the Royal Hunt Cup (1700). This huge field over the straight mile features some likely types in George William, Fastnet Tempest, and the very interesting Bossy Guest. But we won well on Banksea at Newbury, and a miserly 4lb rise for that excellent win we think he looks well set to repeat the dose here.
If anything the stronger pace here and stiffer finish should emphasise this horse’s winning qualities and he is a confident choice to win here and probably put an end to a career in handicaps. We would have preferred to see Jamie Spencer retain the ride – which would have made for a rare 3pt bet – he switches to stablemate El Vip (who really needs the touch of a jockey like Spencer). We hope that’s just to get the best out of El Vip, but we’ll reign back to 2pts.
The concluding Sandringham Stakes (1735) is a chance to revert back to the John Gosden theme. His horse Gymnaste is very well in after being badly hampered last time at Kempton. Top female jockey Josephine Gordon looks well set to improve the sparse record of women jockeys at the meeting.
Dream Castle (1430 Ascot) 1pt win, 4/1 generally available
Heartache (1505 Ascot), 1pt win, 13/2, bet365
Laugh Aloud (1540 Ascot) 1pt win, 3/1 generally available
Banksea (1700 Ascot), 2pts win, 12/1, Paddy Power
Gymnaste (1735 Ascot), 1pt win, 7/1 generally available
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