Friday Ascot: Tug on the purse-strings..

A cracking 4th day looks on the cards at Ascot today with some potentially superstar performers lining up.

The opening Albany Stakes (1430 Ascot) gives Irish trainer Jessica Harrington a bonus chance to get on the scoreboard after Brother Bear was run out of things late on earlier in the week.  She runs the deeply impressive Alpha Centauri and she looks tailor-made for this contest after two impressive wins in Ireland.  Countrymates Black Sails and Clemson look the most likely threats.

The King Edward VII stakes (1505) includes several Derby also-rans, best of which could be Clive Cox’s Salouen, narrowly preferred to Glencadam Glory.  However all the Derby runners look likely to have to give way to Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean.  He ran a race of promise in the Dante before skipping the big one to stay fresh for this.  It can pay-off.

The Commonwealth stakes at 1540 offers a blitz over 6f that looks like a three way fight worthy of the conclusion of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.  Blue Point is hugely talented but looks like the misfiring Eli Wallach in this company.  The final shootout should be Ireland’s Carravaggio versus England’s Harry Angel.  We think the Irish runner may just have the edge today.

The Coronation Stakes looks like it should go to hot favourite Winter – but we won’t be backing her, or backing against her.

The Queen’s Vase (1700) has long been milked by Aidan O’Brien, and we will take that tip as he brings Belgravia over for the slog under Ryan Moore.  With headgear to help concentration this beautifully bred son of Galileo can prove too hard to beat for a modest looking home challenge.

We save the best til last however with the Duke of Edinburgh stakes.  There will be a mountain of support for likely favourite Mainstream, owned by the Queen in the race named after her husband and ridden by Ryan Moore.  Granted he must have a great chance, but we love Alan King’s Top Tug.  He was an excellent second at Newmarket (just ahead of Mainstream) before winning over a longer trip at Goodwood.

A strong gallop at this trip can help his stamina come into play, and this gutsy fighter can come out on top.  We are big fans and will double up stakes accordingly.

Finally, Paddy Power offer 33/1 that top jockey Ryan Moore will be placed on all 6 rides.  Well we like his winning chance on Caravaggio, Winter and Belgravia. We oppose Mainstram but expect him to place.  Clemmie can place in the opener, leaving Sir John Lavery to complete the set – no given, but the odds look to high.


Alpha Centauri (1430 Ascot), 1pt win, 9/4 generally available

Crystal Ocean (1505 Ascot), 1pt win, 5/2 generally available

Alpha Centauri & Crystal Ocean & Carravagio, 1pt win treble, 21/1 approx.

Belgravia (1700 Ascot), 1pt win, 11/2 generally available

Top Tug (1735 Ascot), 2pts win, 12/1 generally available

Ryan Moore to place on all 6 rides, 1pt win 33/1, Paddy Power

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