NAP OF THE DAY: Raising Sand (1700 Ascot), 2pts win, 8/1:
The Royal Hunt Cup is something of a lifelong addiction and we’re not about to abstain just yet. The rain-softened ground has greatly helped us narrow down our shortlist of two. We would put nobody of Robin Of Navan who most definitely has a big race in him, but the soft ground surely makes it Raising Sand’s day. He runs this course superbly well, as he did on comeback over 7f, but he is lethal here on soft. Looks like his high draw may be favourable and (provided it hasn’t already happened earlier), he can finally give a woman jockey a success after decades of waiting.
RACE OF THE DAY: Magical (1540 Ascot), 1pt win, 2/1:
Possibly the best race of the week with at least four outstanding horses in opposition. Waldgeist has a big chance, but whilst he would be a favourite in many races, he is rightly fourth choice here. Fillies Sea Of Class and Magical head the market. In the long term, Sea Of Class may be the better as she arguably should have beaten Enable to win last year’s Arc, but this is a tough seasonal debut made tougher by the surface. In contrast, Breeders Cup runner up Magical comes here on a roll and will love the rain, she looks the worthy favourite. The bigger danger may be genius Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean, who looks a typical steady improver. But today looks one for Aidan and a Magical moment.
REST OF THE CARD:
Multiply By Eight, (1430 Ascot), 0.5pts each way, 80/1: A huge field of lightly raced 2yo fillies on ground more testing than most of them will have ever seen, has the makings of an upset. Trainer Tom Dascombe sprung a surprise in this race a few years ago, and he runs Multiply By Eight who is a monstrous price. She has had just the one run when third at Sandown. She took a while for the penny to drop and had to race wide of those on the favoured rails, despite which she finished fast once concentrating. She would be a first ever winner of any race for her new-season sire, but he was a sprinter who won Group 1 races here on soft ground, so she may be worth taking a big risk on.
Norway, (1505 Ascot), 1pt win, 7/2: it is very tempting to suggest Nate The Great who should like both the ground and the trip and should run a big race at double figure odds. But it is an annual routine for the Derby form to be written off immediately after the race only to be proven time and again. It looks like something similar could occur this year after the Derby 6th won yesterday’s feature race. Derby 8th Norway is likely to be ridden with more constraint, was a quality stayer as a 2yo, handles any ground, and is the choice of Ryan Moore for trainer Aidan O’Brien who regularly wins this event.
Indian Blessing, (1620 Ascot), 0.5pts each way, 33/1: this is another race that could be ripe for an upset, A huge field where the market leaders are nowhere near as far ahead of the rest on ratings as the odds might suggest. Indian Blessing is one of those closest to the top of the ratings, and was at here best when winning easily at Musselburgh on rain softened ground last time. Has been a wandering spirit all over the world, but a run of domestic form may be what she needs to show some improvement. Add in the genius of Jamie Spencer and she looks a good each way bet.
Dylan De Vega, (1735 Ascot), 1pt win, 12/1: ran favourite Temple Of Heaven to a half length when both horses debuted at Nottingham. Trainer Fahey arguably leaves more room for improvement from debut than rival Hannon, so that form could be overturned with both horses having won nicely since. Soft ground is an unknown for both, but Dylan’s soft ground pedigree suggests he may be the one to relish it. Worth chancing it at three times the price.
The Daily Yankee:
Norway – Magical – Raising Sand – Dylan De Vega
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