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quick look at Day 1's other races

Royal Ascot comes upon us once more and it is the first real test of the ‘classic generation’ going up against the big boys, their older, more experienced rivals. The pageantry, the spectacle, and most importantly Her Majesty, who will no doubt fully immerse herself in the Jubilee celebrations, with a sherry or two during the week. She has couple of interesting runners herself, including Set to Music, Momentary, and her most fancied runner, Carlton House in the Prince of Wales Stakes.

The meeting kicks off with the Queen Anne Stakes, they don’t mess around, and it goes off with quite the bang. The race is steeped in history, and the last two winners were Canford Cliffs and Goldikova, two of the best milers in decades. A horse even better will saunter home in this; FRANKEL, officially the greatest horse currently on the planet. The only question mark is over who will chase him home, with Excelebration likely to do the honours ahead of Strong Suit, for only what, the umpteenth time in the last year or so?

The King’s Stand Stakes is a race for arguably the fastest horses in the world. Over the straight five furlongs, the race has been farmed by the Australian sprinters coming over from down under, with the likes of Choisir, Takeover Target, and Miss Andretti all winning in under a minute. Blink and you’ll miss it. They have another raider this year in the form of ORTENSIA, the mare who won the Group 1 sprint in Dubai, coming from last to first in double quick time. She has been stationed over here for the best part of six weeks to get acclimatised, staying with Jane Chapple-Hyam in Newmarket. She looks to be one of the top sprinters around on the basis of her Australian form alone. The majority of the challengers have all beaten each other in round robin style in the past couple of seasons, and it is hard to make a strong case for any of the home challengers on that basis alone.

See my article for the St James's Palace Stakes

The Ascot Stakes is one of the most competitive handicaps of the week, and is usually one dominated by national hunt trainers, with the two and a half miles being a gruelling battle, and quite the tactical affair. Last year it was won by Veiled for Nicky Henderson and Eddie Ahern, and ran creditably at Cheltenham, before disappointing at Aintree, but she is 7lb higher than her winning mark last year. Stable mate Sentry Duty carries top weight, and looks to have far too much weight off 9-10. David Pipe has Ashbrittle and Fiulin, both neither looks appealing, similarly Simenon, who will go off shorter than he should, purely because he is trained by W P Mullins. The most interesting in the field looks to be COSIMO DE MEDICI for the Hughie Morrison stable with Darryl Holland aboard. The five year old ended last season with wins at Newmarket over a mile seven furlongs on soft and at Haydock over two miles and a quarter on good ground, he is a model of versatility. On a career high mark of 89, however he had his comeback run last month at Goodwood, and ran a cracker, staying on well to snare fourth in a good race behind Life and Soul and Grumeti, and he looks to have been laid out for this and is the best each way bet on the card of day one.

The Coventry Stakes is the strongest race for two year olds up until now, and pits some of the best juveniles in the country against each other. It is another race that the Richard Hannon stable generally over perform in, including Canford Cliffs and Strong Suit. Aidan O’ Brien won the race last year with Irish Guineas winner Power, who was very impressive that day, and combined, the two mentioned connections have six runners, and it is hard to know what runner is the standout from either stable. Compare that however to Jim Bolger, and his thoughts on DAWN APPROACH, who has gone on record to saying the New Approach colt is one of, if not the best juvenile he has ever trained. He made it 3 from 3 in a listed event last time out at Naas, barely breaking sweat, in a very impressive manner. I have personally backed him for next years 2000 Guineas after seeing the manner of his novice stakes win, beating a good looking field by five lengths on his second career start, and I think this horse will go on to be an absolute superstar, and is in the right hands. Or check out Scott's preview here.

The Richard Hannon trained Lyric Ace will be all the rage in the last race of the day, The Windsor Castle Stakes, and as such, can see him going off a very skinny price indeed. He has done steadily improved in his three career starts but there is value in opposing him, and I have two against the field. The first is COSMIC CHATTER for the David Barron stable, a very under-rated trainer based in Malton, North Yorkshire. Cosmic Chatter won a good looking maiden at Haydock over five furlongs, winning coming away, and has been subsequently snapped up by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing on the back of that win. He showed bags of speed, and beat horses from the Noseda, Hills and Hannon yards in the process, if he were from a more fashionable stable, he would be half the odds. Similarly PAY FREEZE, who is trained by Mick Channon, and has had a particularly fruitful year with his juveniles, most notably recent group winner Laugh Out Loud. Pay Freeze absolutely bolted up at York in a six furlong maiden after previously showing promise on good to soft to finish second at Newbury. Pay Freeze was very impressive that day and again, has been expensively bought, this time by Qatar Racing Limited. Both won impressive maidens and can hopefully bring the prize up north, irrespective which one, stay on the safe side and get out of jail Tuesday by backing both.

2.30 Ascot – Frankel/Excelebration F/C
3.05 Ascot – Ortensia (Nb)
3.45 Ascot – Born to Sea (Ew) & Born to Sea/Power RFC
4.25 Ascot – Dawn Approach (Nap)
5.00 Ascot – Cosimo De Medici (Ew)
5.35 Ascot – Cosmic Chatter & Pay Freeze


The Yorkshireman – Jack Milner (@JJMSports)

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