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Royal Ascot Wednesday preview

Another baking hot day at Royal Ascot, (crikey it was toasty out there yesterday!), and another six winners to find. Might not be quite as star-studded today, that just means some of these races are downright impossible to solve. Unless of course, you call on the expertise of PRO HORSE, @prohorse_tips


Wednesday 21st June

Jersey Stakes

Although plenty was expected of Dream Castle on racecourse debut at Doncaster earlier this year, one could not fail to be impressed with the manner of his facile victory.

I felt he was equally impressive in defeat on his second start, when runner-up to Barney Roy in the Greenham. While it’s understandable many were impressed by Barney Roy that day, it’s worth remembering that Dream Castle was cantering all over him that day and traded 1.04 in-running before being run down late on – his keenness in the early stages taking their toll.

Everything about the performance screamed Jersey Stakes and my confidence of the race’s suitability for the colt was such it prompted to me post the following Tweet...

The son of Frankel was chanced in the 2000 Guineas and once again he ran a race full of promise, finishing 5th after suffering trouble in-running.

The confidence in my Tweet may have been tongue in cheek but I am convinced this is the ideal race for Dream Castle and I’ll be amazed if he doesn’t at least hold a race-winning chance at some stage.

John Gosden spared the handicapper’s blushes when winning the Group 3 Nell Gwyn with the then 81-rated Daban and the likeable filly went on to finish placed in the 1000 Guineas.

She will surely appreciate the step back to 7f here and Classic form is always hard to ignore in Group 3 company. Her 3lb penalty – for that Nell Gwyn success - negates her fillies’ allowance, however, and although that may seem minimal, it could prove costly in a competitive Royal Ascot pattern race.

Another boasting ‘Classic’ form is Andre Fabre’s Le Brivido, who was just touched off in the French 2000 Guineas by the subsequent Prix du Jockey Club winner, Brametot. The agonising defeat was the first of Le Brivido’s career, having won two races at Chantilly over 6f and 6.5f (winners in behind both times).

The Deauville form is hard to crab and with the step back to 7f posing no concerns, the French raider’s position in the market is justified.

Beat The Bank is the most interesting of those priced at bigger odds (25-1). After making a winning debut for Darren Bunyan in February, he changed hands soon after and maintained his unbeaten record two months later when landing a conditions races at Newmarket for Andrew Balding. Although successful on his first start, the level of form at Newmarket showed marked improvement and if we see a similar level of progression from second outing to third he could run a race to belie his odds.

While I fear Le Brivido and Daban, Dream Castle and Beat The Bank cannot be ignored at the prices and are two colts who could have monumental improvement in them.

Dream Castle 2pts EW 4-1 (generally, 4 places)
Beat The Bank 0.5pt EW 25-1 (Bet365, 4 places)
(Bets on 1-5pt scale)

Royal Hunt Cup
Regardless of what some may say, the Royal Hunt Cup among the most anticipated races for any handicap punter worth his salt.

I, for one, start thinking of the race towards the end of the previous season, usually noting down three-year-olds who I believe have the potential to land one of Europe’s richest handicaps.

My long term fancy for this year’s renewal was Roger Varian’s Morando. I had it all worked out. He’ll win the Lincoln and then be saved for the Hunt Cup, which he would off top-weight. I only a mere fan of the horse but I would bet that connections’ thoughts didn’t stray far from mine over the winter.

Unfortunately, Varian’s gelding suffered a setback a day or two before the Lincoln and, despite promising signs his trainer would have him ready for Ascot - Andrea Atzeni booked to ride at the five-day stage - he was absent from the final declarations.

The Royal Hunt Cup is rarely a race I tackle singlehandedly, however, so I still have few to go to war with.

El Vip has always given the impression he has ability to be a horse of real quality – a thought echoed by most given his sub 2-1 average SP in the six handicaps he’s contested – and the manner of his victory at Newcastle suggests he may be finally ready to fulfil his potential

He was value for more than the official winning, the rise to 99 seems fair and a strong pace and a straight mile will definitely play into his strengths.

No handicapper has impressed more than Fastnet Tempest this season. I am in no doubt that William Haggas’ four-year-old was the best horse at the weights in the Spring Cup at Newbury and would have been a comfortable winner of the race had been produced with a more timely challenge.

Compensation awaited in the Victoria Cup here in May, when given a peach of a ride by Josie Gordon and then landed the odds at Chester a fortnight later – a crucial win if he was to be rated high enough to make the cut here.

He will again need a canny ride, but if getting one he is weighted to be bang there in another quality handicap.

Bossy Guest has run cracking races at the last two Royal Ascot meetings, finishing 3rd in the 2015 Jersey Stakes and 6th in this year last – slightly unlucky in running on both occasions.

He blotted his copy book here in July, when refusing to race, but was gelded over the winter and has shown no signs of temperament this term. Mick Channon’s gelding was beaten less than 2l when 5th in the aforementioned Spring Cup and would’ve finished close to Fastnet Tempest where in not for trouble in running in the Victoria Cup.

With Silvestra De Sousa booked in advance for the ride, everything points to another bold showing at the Royal meeting. Despite the fact he hasn’t won for over two years, he makes each-way and place-only appeal

Castle Harbour has been rather disappointing since hosing up off a mark of 86 in a competitive York handicap last May but there are recent signs a return to form could be in the offing.

He was produced too soon when 5th to Gossiping at Goodwood last time and his performance can be judged better than the bare form. Prior to this he was 3rd to Mix And Mingle in a race that has worked out well and appears well treated off a 3lb lower mark here. His 28-1 odds with the firms going six places and/or his 40-1+ exchange price have to be worth chancing.


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Gimcrack Stakes preview

The final day of the Ebor Festival has a great spread of races, and just one of them could be described as having a clear-cut favourite. A solid reward for anyone who can find a winner.

The 2yo feature of the day is the Gimcrack Stakes, and saddling up again for the preview is Darren Goodbody, @DarrenPGoodbody. You can read more of his work here.


Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes
Group 2, 6f, 2yo C&G
1510 local 0010 AEST

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