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Here we go at the start of one of the most exciting flat race meetings of the season so far, the Guineas & Derby have been & gone & now we are at the start of what could well be the best meeting of the season.
We have old favourites returning, with Masar & Sea of Class making seasonal returns along side some of the best horses from Europe, America & the Far East…
Not to mention the new kids on the block with the Coventry Stakes for 2YO on the opening day along with the Kings Stand & St James’ Place Stakes before we get to Prince of Wales stakes on Wednesday!!
Alongside Charlie & Rich this week we are delighted to welcome back Jamie and we also have Lee McKenzie with the odd thought along the way this week.
As usual Charlie will lead the way with Jamie & Lee in the middle before Rich closes the show with his Final Word….
So lets get them from the parade ring to the stalls & loaded up!!
Lets kick off with a head to head in the BIG race of the day!
4.20 St James’ Place Stakes… Group 1 Class 1…. 3YO Only…. 1m….
Charlie – Skardu – out of Shamardal and Diala. Won on debut at Newmarket on the 28th September 2018 over 7f beating Velorum by 2 lengths. Returned to Newmarket on the 17th April this year stepping up in trip to 1m and won again landing the Group 3 Craven Stakes from Momkin who lost by a neck. Was then sent back to Newmarket on the 4th of May to race in the 2,000 Guineas and finished 3rd behind Magnia Grecia and King of Change. Most recently finished 4th in the Irish 2,000 Guineas behind Phoenix of Spain, Too Darn Hot and Decrypt. Skardu has faced several of these before and with normal progression should be thereabouts again, may have to dig a bit deeper to get the win but definitely looks overpriced at 12-1 and is worth an eachway play.
Jamie – Phoenix of Spain – This race looks to be a match race between
Phoenix of Spain and Too Darn Hot. On the visual impression left by
Phoenix of Spain in the Irish 2000 Guineas, it is hard to see why he
will not confirm the form with John Gosden’s charge. 4 lengths were
the winning margin. The likelihood is that Phoenix of Spain will
improve for having that race under his belt… Ascot will suit him
nicely and I expect him to take all the beating.
Rich – SHAMAN… the French raider made a winning seasonal return in a St-Cloud Listed 1m race on heavy ground back in March, having won on final start of 2018. Stepped up to Group 3 company at Longchamp over 1m 1f when making it 2 from 2 for the season in the La Force Stakes seeing off Roman Candle(3rd & now Group 2 winner) & Sottsass (5th & French Derby winner). Finished runner up last time out in May in the French 2,000 Guineas to Persian King, runner up in the French Derby….
Now back to our thoughts for the rest of the opening day at Royal Ascot…..
3.40 – Blue Point -Was the winner here a year ago when seeing off Battash who was 2nd by 1 and 3/4 lengths. Was a disappointing 7th on next run at Newmarket in the Darley July Cup. Was 3rd on the next start at York in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes behind Alpha Delphini and Mabbs Cross. Was then sent out to Meydan and ran 3 times between February and March this year winning all 3. The first of those was over 5f beating Faatinah by 5 lengths on the 14th February. Next win was over 6f and Ekhtiyaar finished 2nd some 3 lengths behind. Most recently was on the 30th March when beating Belvoir Bay by 1 and 1/4 lengths. If in same frame of mind shown at Meydan should confirm placing with Battash.
5.35 – Addeyebb -Has won 5 times from 10 runs on the flat. Last win came back on the 27th of April 2018 at Sandown when landing the Bet365 Mile from Stormy Antarctic who was 2nd by 2 and 3/4 lengths. Has been a tad disappointing since then finishing 8th at Newbury and then 12th at Ascot in next two races. Has hinted of a return to form in last two races, finished 3rd in the Betway Churchill Stakes behind Master The World and Big Country. Most recently finished 4th in the Homeserve Huxley Stakes behind Forest Ranger, Matterhorn and Success Days. Trainer is trying Cheekpieces and hopefully that helps settle him down and allows him to get his rhythm going and available around the 7-1 price at the time of writing.
2.30 -Queen Anne Stakes –
The Queen of the north can strike again in the opener to Royal Ascot
2019. The 4x Group 1 winner made a pleasing seasonal reappearance
in the Lockinge behind Mustashry (who lines up here), that run will
leave her spot on for this and she is a big price for what she has
achieved… A stiff mile is ideal, and she has a BIG chance in my book.
5.00 – Ascot Stakes –
Ulster has been a horse on the improve this year with two wins and
two seconds from four all weather starts, then in April he ran a
career best so far in finishing second in the Queen’s Mile at
Musselburgh. He will need a career best to even make the places
here but at a juicy price I think he is up to the task as he has more
improvement in him than most of his rivals. Batts rock and Kerosin
are others to consider…
5.30 – Wolferton Handicap –
The only Filly in the field but she can make her presence felt here.
Ballydoyle’s Magic Wand is a consistent Filly who won at this
meeting last year when bounding clear to the Ribblesdale.
Connections will be hoping that the ground dries out for her as she
likes it as fast as a road. The weight allowance is a massive plus and
with a bit of luck she has a big chance on all known form. Magic
Wand is due a win.
Lee McKenzie –
Much will depend on the state of the ground at Ascot this week, but there is potential for rain, maybe heavy, on the first two days, so I am leaning towards soft-ground performers or, at the very least, those that can handle a bit of cut.
I prefer MABS CROSS to Battaash and Blue Point in the King’s Stand. All three are top-class 5f performers, and have the ability to win, but Battaash is a hothead who didn’t run up to his best in the race last year, and Blue Point’s speed is best demonstrated on quick ground. The filly will cope with good to soft fine and therefore gets the vote.
Final Word with Rich –
Thanks guys, it’s great to be back and to have your thoughts for the week…
2.30 Queen Anne Stakes… Group 1 Class 1…. 1m…
MUSTASHRY…. Winner of 8 race from 18 started including a pair of Group 2’s last season. Started this season on April 18th with a 3 & 3/4 length 3rd to Zabeel Prince in the Earl of Sefton Group 3 1m 1f at Newmarket before heading to Newbury for the Lockinge and dropping back to 1m & winning by 2 & 1/2 lengths from Laurens.
The form of the Earl of Sefton is quite strong, with Zabeel Prince landing the Group 1 Prix D’Ispahan, Forest Ranger(2nd) landing the Huxley Group 2 at Chester, while Elarqam(4th) has also since won a Goodwood Listed race….
3.05 Coventry Stakes… Group 2 Class 1… 2YO Only… 6f…
FORT MYERS…… 1/2 length winner on race course debut on the All Weather at Dundalk in a 6f Maiden back in April before heading to Newbury on May 8th in a Class 2 Conditions Stakes when finishing a short head runner up to Temple of Heaven, with Well of Wisdom(DANGER) back in 3rd by a nose, front 3 were over 2 lengths clear of the field. A couple from the race have since won Class 4 & 5 maidens….
3.40 Kings Stand Stakes… Group 1 Class 1… 5f….
BLUE POINT…. Winner of this race last year from Battaash(Favourite this season)by 1 & 3/4 lengths but formed dipped in the final 2 starts of 2018. Given a rest and returned at Meydan on 14thFebruary, when landing a 5f Group 2 by 5 lengths on seasonal return. Stepped up to 6f to land a Group 3 by 3 length on March 30th before landing the 6f Sprint Group 1by 1 & 1/4 lengths, looking back to his best and the drop back to 5f is no issue. He has had 105 days away from the track and runs well fresh.
Battaash is the highest rated in the field at 123, while Blue Point is rated 120. The Temple stakes winner retained his title on seasonal return and is now having his second run after another Wind Operation, while Mabs Cross should not be underestimated in anyway and is likely to be in the mix….
That is everythinbg for you today folks… Thanks for popping by, we really appreciate your support & hope we can land you some winners this week!
All the Best – The arseonlineracing Team!