Royal Ascot Wednesday: Raising Hopes

Some classic bad luck stories yesterday.  Blog friend and Ascot specialist Andy sent us five of the winners so they were there to be picked.  He has handily sent us through thoughts for today, and we concur on the first 4 races of the card, so hope abounds…


1700:  Royal Hunt Cup:  Raising Sand, 1pt each way, 16/1 Skybet first 7 places, & Hors De Combat, 0.5pts each way, 50/1 Paddy Power first 6 places

The annual mile cavalry charge.  The first key factor is the draw, and whilst no side of the course looked particularly favoured yesterday, the pace influences here look mostly low, with last year’s winner and confirmed pacesetter Zhui Feng in stall 2.  That should ensure a strongly run race on that side, and whilst Zhui has some chance of a repeat, it is more likely he can set this up for a closer.  The three that fit that bill are Keyser Soze, Raising Sand and Hors De Combat.  Keyser will have to start better than last time, and would have benefited from Ascot straight mile legend Jamie Spencer.  Instead he rides Raising Sand, and he has enough course form to suggest he can go close under the maestro.  We have to support Hors De Combat – he will love conditions and the nature of the race and may reward a little each way support.

1430:  Queen Mary Stakes: Chelsea Cloisters, 1pt win, 5/2 generally available

This sprint test for 2yo fillies brings the first of ebullient US trainer Wesley Ward’s annual raid of the Royal Ascot juvenile trophies.  He does well in this race, and Chelsea Cloisters under an inspired Frankie Dettori could be the latest Ward raider to triumph.  The home party is headed by Shades Of Blue who has course form when winning here in impressive fashion on debut.  Kurious was a good winner at Sandown, and these look the most likely to fill the frame.  History suggests one for the yanks.

1505:  Queen’s Vase:  Stream Of Stars, 1pt win, 4/1 generally available

This staying trip for 3yos is not the test it once was.  Shortening the race to 14f from 2m has the benefit of attracting Derby types like favourite Kew Gardens, but in doing so the race has lost the unique flavour it had when testing 3yos at the longer trip.  Now it’s just one of many similar races.  That said, there will be a winner, and it may pay to avoid the more exposed types.  John Gosden and Frankie Detoorie had a huge day yesterday and could be having another today, with Stream Of Stars looking set to improve on his maiden win here last time.

1540:  Duke Of Cambridge Stakes:  Aljazzi, 1pt win, 9/2 generally available

Hydrangea is all the rage here being a dual Group 1 winner.  But those weren’t strong heats and she has a 5lb penalty to carry.  Strictly that leave her only a pound ahead of last year’s runner up in this Aljazzi.  Marco Botti’s mare also has the better form this year with a fine staying on third at Sandown – she can go one better than last year.  Arabian Hope is surprisingly well in on the figures for one trading at a long price and could reward each way backers.

1620:  Prince Of Wales Stakes:  Cracksman, 1pt win, 8/13 generally available

By some margin the top rated horse in training, and although a scrambling winner at Epsom, rain softened ground and the Epsom cambers are hardly ideal for Cracksman.  This course and quick ground is ideal.  Gosden and Dettori in combination again and wholly unopposable for what should be a routine win.

1730 Jersey Stakes: Tabdeed, 0.5pts each way, 20/1 Paddy Power, first 5 places

This is a cracking 7f test with a mix of upgraded handicappers, downgraded Guineas also-rans, and unexposed maiden winners.  Favourite Emaraaty is the highest rated and should turn the tables on Society Power at these weights.  Headway and Symbolization appeal most of those coming through the Guineas route, but the value here could be in the unexposed Tabdeed.  He may only have an official rating of 97, but he easily beat Yafta as a 2yo and that one is now rated 105.  He breezed home as he should on his only start this season and promises to be suited by the step up in trip.  It’s a punt, but one at decent odds.

The Daily Yankee:

Chelsea Cloisters – Stream Of Stars – Aljazzi – Raising Sand

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