14:30 Norfolk Stakes
The Norfolk looks a great race on paper and RECKLESS ABANDON looks a cracker of a bet. I was so taken by his debut victory at Doncaster where he beat Annunciation and though the margin was two lengths, he edged left and also was heavily eased. Clive Cox must not be underestimated in these types of races and the rain is the only worry. Qatar Racing have two in this in Cay Verde who has impressed on his last two starts. He was fifth in a really strong Newbury maiden on debut but has since beaten Windsor Castle third Hototo in a maiden on soft here and then won a listed contest from Dylanbaru, third in the same race. That sets the standard though Mick Channon does not have a good record at Ascot and that’s worth bearing in mind. Ahern was a taking winner of a Musselburgh maiden on debut with the runner-up running okay in today’s Queen Mary. Mister Marc was given a significant form boost when his Naas conqueror Dawn Approach won the Coventry on Tuesday but he doesn’t really look like a 5f type. Stablemate Annunciation does and although well beaten by Reckless Abandon, looks a good yardstick. Morawij is a nice juvenile to follow though may be just under this standard. Again this may happen to quickly for Gale Force Ten who looks in need of 6f but he beat a nice yardstick last time in a maiden. Iain’s Dream needs to find a lot of improvement with his Haydock conqueror running okay in the Windsor Castle, especially considering early exertions. Storm Moon is probably best of the outsiders as he won his first two starts but went off far too fast in the National. The rest are likely to struggle.
Advice – Reckless Abandon 3pts win @6/1 generally
15:05 Ribblesdale Stakes
A superb renewal of this race as The Fugue aims to exert revenge on her unlucky Oaks defeat where she was nearly brought down and came from too far back. Shirocco Star was a place ahead of her that day but may do well to confirm the run. Ground should be okay for both no matter what and they set the standard. Vow probably go the best run of the lot in the Oaks and so may just not be as good as some of these top fillies. No doubt though she is extremely talented and the ground is fine. Money for Kailani is significant. A line can be put through her Oaks run while she relished softer conditions at Newmarket and she is another who must come into consideration. Another is PRINCESS HIGHWAY who has been really taking in winning her last two; firstly beating Betterbetterbetter in a maiden and then having Was in behind in a listed race over 1m2f. The step up in trip should suit and ground is ideal. In what is a stunning race, she looks the best value. Momentary beat Shirocco Star on just her second career start in a race that usually works out well and nothing is there to suggest that wasn’t a fluke. Again that’s another who can go on the shortlist while Pink Damsel must too. The fact she had an Oaks entry for so long shows she is good and she cost a fortune. She hit the front in good style at Newmarket on debut but idled in front. She could be anything though the runner-up hasn’t really franked the form since. Twirl has no real excuses for her Oaks run while Colima also struggled in the Oaks latest. The rest would be surprise winners.
Advice – Princess Highway 2pts win @13/2 generally
15:45 Ascot Gold Cup
Fame And Glory bids to win this for the second year running but does admittedly look a little short in the betting. It was a good comeback run and the pace doesn’t look notably strong though I think he can be there for the taking if the race runs right. Colour Vision was the horse I had down for this since his running on third behind the favourite on British Champions Day over 4f shorter. He has since joined Godolphin and the way he powered away from the smart Red Cadeaux on the a/w in the Sagaro was very eyecatching. What is also eyecatching is that Dettori rides him rather than Opinion Poll who he gets on so well with though whether that is to do with Suroor/Zarooni is another matter. Opinion Poll looked as good as ever when an easy winner of the Henry II and he can get closer than his second last year. Saddlers Rock beat him at Doncaster last year and has since been touted for this and was beaten on his reappearance over 1m6f in his prep. That isn’t too worrying and he did beat Opinion Poll comfortably at Ascot but don’t forget he received a stone in weight allowances which he doesn’t get now. Also 2m4f in what could be testing ground means stamina still has to proved. I do really think though that GULF OF NAPLES can run really well in this. His run at York can be completely forgotten as many lose their form at that track, notably Johnston horses. Before that he was progressive and his third in the Chester Cup was a great run considering his wide start from a tape start. His York run was also his second poor one on genuinely firm ground and the ground tomorrow should be perfect. He should be able to test the winner up front which may also suit one coming from the back but also may be enough to test the favourite himself and at 50/1 he is worth a few quid.
Advice – Gulf Of Naples (Horses to follow list 2012)
5:00 Tercentenary Stakes
Another cracker of a race. Starboard is well regarded by John Gosden and was a taking winner last time when beating a couple of good yardsticks at Doncaster. The ground should be absolutely fine and there is far more to come from him. Tales Of Grimm was an eyecatcher in the Heron Stakes where he finished third. Again more is to come though whether I can put any huge faith in a Sir Michael Stoute horse at the moment is still questionable. Stipulate was a hugely impressive winner at the Craven meeting but hated heavy and bounced back with a close second in the Heron, one place ahead of Tales Of Grimm. 1m2f should be within his compass but the rain forecast is a major worry. Wrotham Heath was a good winner on Derby Day when getting the better of Grandeur and although more is needed, the ground, if rains comes, could be ideal. The opposite can be said for Grandeur meanwhile. Still, with improvement needed, both aren’t much of a price. Mukhadram got off the mark last time with him and the runner-up who has gone in since and is rated 85, pulling well clear. Still, more is needed too. REWARDED runs for the Horses to follow list after being an unlucky loser when fourth last time in a good Newbury handicap. He was virtually brought down in the straight while the race also was run at a bit of crawl. 1m2f looks his trip and though improvement is necessary, he won’t disgrace himself.
Advice – Rewarded (Horses to follow list 2012)